Presented by Brian Austin at the 31 March 2021 Workshop.
“Where do I go from here?” This is a question sometimes raised when a collector feels that they have built up a collection and come to a standstill. This happens when you know that your prized Mauritius is never going to contain a Post Office issue and your British Guiana has a gap in 1856 or when the Australian roos come to a stop at a used 5/- and the budget does not go further. What do you do? All however is not lost, there are still plenty of things that can keep you collecting. You just need to relook at the situation and widen your horizons.
Where to start? Well let’s start with what you have and what you’re interested in. Remember the cardinal rule is that you should feel interested in the field and want to have a connection to it, not just “Oh well let’s collect that for something to do.” An interest will keep you with it and reward you. Having a link to a country, a place, a theme, a period – these can all spark that interest and head you in the right direction.
Thinking on it along the lines of horizontal, vertical and other dimensional integration shows ways of where to go.
Horizontal is going sideways, i.e. to a new collecting area, such as :
- Starting with a new country – maybe a country you have visited or have an interest in
- Starting a new thematic collection – think of a topic or theme that takes your fancy
- Starting a related postcard collection (may also be vertical)
It moves sideways from where you are into something completely new.
Vertical is going up or down within your field, further specialising or into related fields that enhance your current collection area, such as:
- Spreading your era of collecting into preadhesive material or pre/post independence eras, e.g. Ceylon to Sri Lanka; Gilbert and Ellice to Kiribati and Tuvalu, predecimal to decimal, etc
- Branching into a new field within the same country e.g. postal stationery, postal history, postmarks, etc
- Developing a collection of the postal usage of your stamps
- Starting a related collection, such as postcards of that country
Other dimensions are sort of related to Vertical but are related to further specialising into your current collection . Going into a bit of specialisation of your prime countries’ stamps and or postal history , such as:
- Specialised date range -Australia and George V heads, GB and machins, USA and prexies, etc
- Specialsed usage of stamp range, e.g. Living together on cover, use of 1d or Australian 45c stamps or Machins usage
- Specialsed regional usage, e.g. Mining towns of WA, incoming mail to WA in a period
- Flight covers
- Commemorative postmarks/ slogan postmarks/ other markings
Once we start on those it is a matter of where to start, such as:
- Working out where to get information – stamp clubs, catalogues, online, reference books, etc
- Acquire an accumulation/collection with gaps
- Start looking for that sort of material
- Sourcing material – club meetings, auctions, stamp shows, online – eBay, etc, pen friends, other
- Developing your collection
Competitive philately has in the recent past looked at challenges. In these collectors were given a challenge to start from nothing on a new area to build up a competitive exhibition display within given parameters over a set period – say a couple of years. They tended to look at more modern material to give it a bit of a run.
Examples were the Middle East post-war, Post war airmails, Post 2000, and Frugal philately (where all items must be within a set budget limit per item, say $2).
Let’s set a challenge for the Stirling Annual Competition. A new collection from an area that the person does not have a collection of. Work out some parameters that everyone can meet and let’s see what we can achieve across the group. As part of it we will set a budget limit for the highest value stamp and an overall limit for the entire display. The key thing is that everyone starts from a nil or low base.