Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Still not up to par, but improving.

I appologized in July for not posting more, then went almost six months without another word. It's been that kind of year. I'm hoping this one will be different, but I make no promises.

It IS the first of a new year, and time to look both back at the past year, and ahead at the new one. Overall, it's been a good year, both personally and for my stamp collection. Personally,

  • my youngest daughter got married the 3rd of July, and she and her husband moved into a house just a few blocks from here in September.

  • I've found a pain medication combination that HELPS, even though I still have problems.

  • Lots of little things have gone better, and I don't find as many day-to-day frustrations to annoy me any more.

My stamp collection has seen major changes!

  • I've added about 14,000 stamps to my personal collection in the last year. At least 2200 of those came through stamp trades.
  • I've added at least three new trading partners, and had an old trading partner return.
  • I've bought at least 30 pounds of stamps, and have about a third of that sorted down, mounted, and catalogued.
  • I've added over 4400 stamps to my offer lists online, and about 30 new countries. Unfortunately, I don't have the ability to immediately update my pages any longer. I hope to change this soon.
  • I've made arrangements to sell more of my excess material, making more money available to me for stamp purchases.

It's time for a year-end review of my collecting goals, and how well (or poorly) I achieved them. It's also time to look ahead, to plan for the coming year. There's quite a bit on my mind about stamps.

I probably broke all sorts of personal records for me. I'm not entirely sure, because I lost many of my early records in a computer melt-down in August. I had the information backed up to floppy disk, but my new computer doesn't have a floppy drive. My new son-in-law copied them to CD, but for some reason I can't read them.

I know I added about 14,000 stamps to my collection. The exact number is somewhere between 13,896 and 14,110. The low number doesn't include stamps I added to replace defective copies, the high number does. About a fourth of those stamps were from 2005 purchases. The number of new stamps is more than double the 6000 I'd hoped for.

I had more money to spend, and spent more money, on stamps this year than any year since I started collecting stamps (September, 1956, at the ripe old age of 10). About 2/3 of all the money I spent on stamps was spent at either Shayne Clinard's Web-Collector eBay auctions, or at Jeff & Christine's Dootzes eBay auctions. Much of the rest was spent either at local dealers or through Beverly Fox'sWeeda Stamps, Ltd.. I bought everything from single stamps to large accumulations, and bought something from just about everywhere. I specifically added stamps to many German States, an area where my collection was previously quite weak.

Trading was a robust way to add stamps to my collection in 2006. I traded for about 2200 different stamps from roughly 170 countries, with ten trading partners in the US, Canada, and Western Europe. The value of these trades was in the range of $3500. Three of the traders I've dealt with were new for 2006.

I've downloaded and printed out stamp album pages from William E. Steiner's Stamp Albums Web for a number of countries this past year. I've still had to make about 200 pages for things I wanted to display in my collection that aren't included in Bill's pages - some covers, some non-government souvenir sheets, and so forth.

Even better than the number of stamps I've added is my ability to add quite a number of the stamps I'd specifically targeted. I added stamps from most of the British "Omnibus" series, from the George V Silver Jubilee through the marriage of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones. I've added almost a hundred "Europa" issues, and Common-design type issues from Portugal and former Portuguese colonies, and France and the "French Community".

Altogether, 2006 was a banner year for my stamp collecting pleasure.

Planning for 2007

This year appears to be starting off as a continuation of last year. I certainly have enough material to sort through - there are at least fifteen pounds of stamps off paper in boxes and containers, plus about thirty country-specific collections in envelopes and folders I still need to go through. I've got about six trade letters I need to answer before the month's over. I've got bids out on about a dozen different lots on eBay and Weeda's bidboard. I do have some specific objectives in mind for this new year:

  • I want to reach the point where I can answer a trade letter in a week, instead of taking a month.
  • I want to be able to sort down my purchases and get everything catalogued before I get inundated with the next group.
  • I want to get back to work on my country-by-country inventory of my collection, having taken most of the year to re-create and rebuild what I had but lost.
  • I want to be able to add at least 9000 stamps to my collection this year, with at least 2500 of those being through collector-to-collector trades.
  • I want to add to my collection of British "Omnibus" stamps, especially the high values of the Silver Wedding issue, and the UPU 75th Anniversary issue. I want to build a single want list for the Omnibus stamps through Queen Elizabeth's 1953 corronation issue.
  • I want to add to my collection of Portuguese "Vasco da Gama" common-design issues, and the "Pombal" issues. I want to add more of the high values from the 1938 common design issue.
  • I want to find and add the last three "Victory" airmail common design type issues from the French Community, finish up the "Marianne" issue, and begin working on the various "Exposition" issues from 1931 through 1939.
  • I want to add as many of the US stamps valued at $10 or less each that I'm currently missing that were issued between 1891 and 1991 (there aren't that many).
  • I want to get at least all the stamps I currently own sorted down, catalogued, mounted, prepared for trade, or otherwise disposed of.
  • I want to get all my inventory information and comments transferred from my 2003 Scott catalogues to my new 2006 catalogues.
  • I want to write at least twice a month on my stamp blog.

I think that's enough to keep me pretty busy through the coming year!

I have one major problem that will also carry over from last year - getting sufficient supplies to sort down everything I have. I have the majority of my trade stock in P-102 or P-104 cards. The rest are in the 6x9 pocketed dealer stock pages, in stock books, or in binders filled with 8.5x11 manila stock pages. I'm trying to find a local supplier of P-102 cards (new or used), the red boxes they fit in, and a lesser supply of P-104 cards. I'm open to suggestions for other sources.

May and June are going to be bad months for my stamp collection this year. I'm helping plan a regional reunion for one of my old military units, the 497th RTG. That's going to take quite a bit of time, especially toward the actual reunion date. It's going to be an interesting year!