20% off on DAVO USA Standard albums!

Kids & Stamp Collecting


March 01, 2016 4 Comments

Much has been written about the death of stamp collecting. Everyone knows that stamp dealers are disappearing and that there are fewer shows. There are fewer dealers because it doesn’t pay to have a brick and mortar store when stamps can easily be sold on the Internet – why pay rent and when you can have access to tens of thousands of customers? This has been a common trend for a while, but it is not the only contributing factor towards the decline of collecting.

More nervously talked about is how kids are not taking up the hobby. Article after article discusses the lack of replacement generations of stamp collectors. And almost every one of these articles fretfully offer a suggestion on how to get kids interested in stamps. What can we do to get kids collecting? How can we make stamp collecting fun? When will our kids and grand kids turn their interests to our heirloom collections?

To be honest, I’ll guarantee you right here and now that this will never happen.

Why would a child want to spend their free time sticking small “pieces of paper” into a book? I like to use this analogy because a long time ago my 12 year old son was showing his friend my stamp collection. When he asked the value of one particular stamp, he then responded, “How is that possible for just a piece of paper?” The response may be laughable to the seasoned collector, but let’s try to put ourselves in that position and look at what’s going on in today’s environment.

Things are much different than they were 50 years ago, or even 25 years ago. Today’s educational system offers a multitude of extra-curricular activities for students from clubs, sports, community service and many other activities – all which nearly double in high school. I don’t know about you, but the only activity my elementary school offered was roller skating. When I was a kid, the only hobbies or activities we had were stamp collecting, coin collecting and baseball cards. Coin collecting was the hardest because it was too expensive.

Today we have the Internet and many think that this has a negative influence on kids. A while back, I heard somebody say, “Stamp collecting is more of an intellectual hobby and kids are being weaned on the Internet, not reading books.” Less education, thus less intellectual hobbies. However, I disagree; the Internet is incredibly educational and informative. Just think of what we could have done as children with all that information at our fingertips! Today’s adolescent child is more informed educationally and politically than we were at the same age, albeit in a new, roundabout manner. I’m not saying they’re smarter; I’m saying that they have more resources to learn from than we did. It’s no wonder that kids don’t care about stamps – there’s simply not enough hours in the day with the information overload.

But where does that leave the status of philately? If the kids don’t take over, who will? Here at Palo, we have a lot of customers in the 60-80 year old age range, but we also have many who are in the 40-60 year old range – younger Baby Boomers and Generation X. These social groups consist of individuals whose children are either in their early twenties or out of the house and on their own. They finally have more time to spend on hobbies because their parental obligations are greatly diminished. Unlike the elder age group, most of which never became too computer-savvy, the Baby Boomers and Generation Xers are comfortable using the Internet. They are the most active group in buying and selling stamps on the Internet. They tend to spend more money and are more concerned with quality material. The demographics of this group are ideal! These are the individuals that stamp clubs and societies should target for memberships.

Standing firm, unwilling to move with the times will only result in stagnation and loss of activity in any endeavor. Times change; and just like any other business or hobby, we need to adapt to change. So, don’t get hung up on your grandchild’s lack of interest in King George V – by all means, let’s share and expose our collections with those willing to explore, but children are not stamp collecting’s only salvation. That 45 year old guy with the BMW will do just fine for me.



4 Responses

Kurt
Kurt

May 08, 2017

The comments regarding the reasons youngsters today have no interest in stamps is mostly spot on. One big point is missing, however. Stamps today are almost entirely irrelevant in the minds of today’s youth. Think about it. What do they personally receive in the mail that has a stamp on it? A birthday card from grandma and grandpa? A Christmas card form the same relatives? So the stamps the few stamps per year they see go unnoticed because they are mundane and boring. Who can get excited about a flag stamp from a booklet? Santa and snowflakes are everywhere in November and December, so when that image appears on a tiny stamp, who’s going to care or even notice it? The internet is a great marketplace for established collectors, but it has destroyed first class mail and the use of commemorative stamps or any stamps for that matter. When was the last time you saw a legitimate use of a current commemorative stamp on your incoming (excluding philatelicly related mail)? NOBODY writes letters anymore. My son can’t believe I still pay some bills by mail. He proudly proclaims 100% use of electronic payments and that his use of paper in his work or in his personal life is almost nonexistent. It’s all email and texting I’m sure I haven’t seen commemorative stamps on my incoming mail in at least 5 years. Given that situation, how can we expect anybody of any age not predisposed to collecting stamps to get interested in the hobby?

Bizhan
Bizhan

April 23, 2017

In response to Pam:
While it is an outright shame that our youth doesnt continue this wonderful hobby – the article here does a good job counting up the reasons.
I would suggest you try selling them over the internet (either ebay, or over social media), and if that seems too much a burden, just give them away(!) Trashing them is …heresy! :p and I doubt you’ll personally feel any good about it.
I’ve just recently found out about online exchange places and found thousands of worldwide collector’s who are just out for the fun of it – I am sure someone out there would be happy to continue or even catalogue -ize your collection. So, please dont trash them.

alice boni
alice boni

April 05, 2017

I started a comment and it vanished, so I will try again. I am interested in your reply to Pam. I started collecting used US stamps, Post cards & postmarks over 60 years ago. I still collect but haven’t put any in the albums for many years. So I have albums with stamps in them and a whole lot more that are loose. My grandchildren don’t seem to be the least bit interested and neither are my children. I keep planning to get back to it SOMEDAY but haven’t so far. What can be done with them??Alice

Pam
Pam

March 01, 2017

I guess after reading your articles that my 50 years of stamp collecting is worthless. I collect US cancelled stamps. While my kids were growing up I still collected, but they were added to the collection in shoe boxes. So disorganized. I was interested in getting new pages from 70’s through present day. It appears those are no longer available either. I hate to put them all in the trash, but we are downing sizing. So my question is trash or treasure.

Leave a comment


Also in Blog

Hold the Tape!
Hold the Tape!

October 03, 2016 3 Comments

What is it with stamp dealers and tape?

Read More

The Perfect Album
The Perfect Album

May 09, 2016

There are numerous factors in selecting stamp collections, with a number of options for display and storage. Are you starting a new stamp collection or transferring an old collection into a new home? We’ll help you through the basics of picking out a quality album.

Read More

A Quality Collection
A Quality Collection

December 14, 2015

One of our longtime customers recently passed away unexpectedly. He had purchased four different country albums from us, and every year subscribed to our automatic supplement service. There were not any instructions for the disposal of his collection...

Read More