Author Topic: King of Hobbies Loses in Battle between Investment and Passion  (Read 228 times)

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Offline Bimat

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King of hobbies loses in battle between investment and passion

Komal Gautham | TNN | Updated: Apr 25, 2018, 01:13 IST

K Naseer Ahmed, 52, a resident of Coimbatore, has been collecting stamps for the last 45 years. He has an entire collection of commemorative, definitive issue and miniature sheets from 1947 till 2016. But he has stopped collecting them now. He has not bought a single stamp since 2017 and has left the hobby. As the price of the stamps has skyrocketed in the past few years, it’s not just him but a number of philatelists across the country said that they will leave the hobby soon. In Tamil Nadu, out of the 14,097 philatelist accounts with the postal department, 2,700 have become dormant over the years.

The postal department that is trying to earn revenue with the sale of stamps has increased the rates of stamps released per year by six folds in the past decade. The number of issues released per year has also gone up three times.

“Earlier if a stamp was released, we could purchase one or two stamps. But now postal department sells only an entire sheetlet. Also, several stamps of face value Rs 25 come in a package with assortments and we are asked to pay Rs 250 for it,” said Naseer.

Sources in the postal department said that they wanted to promote stamp collection as an investment more than a hobby. But philatelists said there is no corresponding increase in quality of printing and supply. “Earlier in a year, I would have to spend only around Rs 200-500 for stamps. Now, we need to pay more than Rs 25,000 to buy all the sheetlets and issues that are released in a year,” said R Kasinath, a philatelist. He said the department released the children’s day stamp in November, 2017. But it was not available until February, 2018.

Som Ghatak, 36-year-old techie also a stamp collector from Bengaluru, said the department was killing the king of hobbies. “I have stopped buying India stamps and only collect thematic ones from other countries. What is the point of releasing a new stamp if it is not available? Our friends from other countries keep asking us for these stamps and we feel ashamed to say that our country does not have stock,” he said.

Philatelists also pointed out that it was a pity that all the new releases were available with the dealers but not for genuine collectors. If supply and prices were also ignored, spelling mistakes also found on stamps. Recently, Goann Tiatr, Pondicherry Jubilee and coconut research miniature sheets were printed with spelling mistakes. A Rs 100 value coffee stamp was released with a claim that it will have smell of coffee, but it did not have, pointed out a philatelist.

Mahesh Parekh, committee member of South India philatelist association, said that the increase in rates can be attributed to the increase in the cost of operation as well. “The department has not increased the postage stamp rates for several years. It is a fact that genuine collectors are affected but we need to help collectors become more organized and create awareness,” he said.

The chief postmaster general, Tamil Nadu circle, M Sampath wondered why would they hold several workshops, exhibitions, programmes and provide scholarships to children across the state if they wanted to promote it as an investment. “We agree that the rates and the number of issues have increased. But so far we have not received any written or oral complaint from the philatelists. We will definitely look into the supply and set it right,” he said. He added that in Chennai alone, 2,000 school students have taken up the hobby in the past six months.

Source: Times of India
Caution. The low-hanging fruits are still there maybe for a reason.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: King of Hobbies Loses in Battle between Investment and Passion
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2018, 04:11:20 PM »
I see some of the same things happening for coins. Too many issues, a great lag between launch and actual distribution, sharply rising prices. It looks like for coins also, collectors are treated as cows that can be milked forever. Not so. They should take an example from Poland. They had to redesign their entire coin-issuing programme to get back in favour with collectors.

The greatest mistake is to think that a government can turn paper or metal into an invest opportunity by stamping it. On the contrary, if you increase supply and issue price, you are creating something that is sure to make a loss. That's OK for a collector, because true collectors don't sell, unless they upgrade or make a purchasing mistake. However, it is lethal for the get-rich-quickly crowd, who are set up to lose money. They will get wise eventually and leave the hobby.

A big mistake on the side of the collectors is what I call the "completeness syndrome", the thought that you must buy everything the government puts out there. Not so. Collections are approximations of completeness. By itself, completeness is not just useless, it cannot be achieved. Every museum has an incomplete collection and they have had more time and more money to build their collection than the average collector. It is the "completeness syndrome" that causes collectors of modern issues to drop out. If they could just relax and buy only what they really like, they could continue collecting happily for the rest of their life and have a more intersting and personalised collection to boot.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline <k>

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Re: King of Hobbies Loses in Battle between Investment and Passion
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2018, 12:04:28 AM »
There are various things wrong with this topic. First off, it's entirely about stamps, yet it appears in a Coin Collecting sub-board. I have occasionally included stamps in topics about coins, most notably in my topics about fascism and World War 2, but those topics are primarily about coins. Secondly, the idea that stamp collecting is the King of Hobbies is blatantly false. Stamps, like most useful items in the known multiverse, were invented by the British, and I am British, so that makes me an automatic expert on the subject. Stamps were not issued until 1840, the first example being the Penny Black, which carries an effigy of Queen Victoria. Coins were around for millennia before stamps came along, and most likely they have been collected for hundreds of years at least. How, then, can stamp collecting possibly be considered the "King" of hobbies?

Perhaps, then, this topic should be moved to Historical artifacts other than coins board. The title specifies "historical", of course, but not all stamps are historical. Maybe that word should be removed from the title.

Offline augsburger

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Re: King of Hobbies Loses in Battle between Investment and Passion
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2018, 01:38:35 PM »
The topic is about something I think most people can relate to as coin collectors.

I've stopped collecting coins for the most part, mainly because I'm in China and coin collecting in China is like watching paint dry, slowly.

I do collect when I go to foreign countries, but as I get older I'm less inclined to travel. My collection is in one country and I live in another country. Maybe I'll try and move it here one day, I'm not sure.

However in the UK you have 10p pieces being sold for a lot, lot, lot more than their face value. It's all about making money out of people, and the joy of finding coins in circulation has diminished as the Mint tries to whip up hysteria about coins being R@RE or whatever people write on ebay.