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Stamps – What a Gift They Can Be

by daryles-antiques-finearts (04/05/08).
1918 Inverted Jenny

Forget about the baseball cards, I wish that I had my stamp collection back. The stamps that were given to me as a young child might have been the fortune that got away.

When I was about twelve years old, my father walked out to his car one morning and was astonished to find an older man asleep in the back seat. My father woke him and asked if he needed help. In broken English, the man told him he was hungry. My family took him in, and Mr. Michael stayed with us for several weeks. We began to form a lasting bond with him. It seemed that he was of Greek origin and from a well to do family. However, he had run out of money and needed to reconnect with his family. After a few weeks, my father set him up in a hotel and tended to some of his other needs.

Mr. Michael soon pulled himself together and shared gifts with my family, some of which were several fabulous rifles that had silver and gold inlay. On today’s market, I’m sure they would bring over $25,000 apiece. He eventually left our town, but each Christmas, he sent enough frozen lobster and shrimp to feed an army, and this was a very special treat us. We were an average family at that time, and shrimp and lobster definitely wasn’t on our usual menu.

But, the best gift of all was a collection of Greek Stamp he gave to me. Every few months I received another delivery of the most beautiful stamps I’d ever imagined from Mr. Micheal. He also encouraged me to start collecting American Stamps, and I did. I wish that I knew what happened to this collection over the years.

The reason this comes to mind is that a friend asked if I could help her with her fathers stamp collection. As I started to do some research, my eyes popped out of my head because I recognized some of the stamps as being the same that were in my collection. In today’s market, their value had risen into the thousands.
At an auction house here in Chicago I saw a stamp collection auctioned that took several months to complete. One book sold for over $10,000. I wonder what was in that book.

I suggest that you watch the sales you attend for stamp collections. If my memory serves me well, most of my collection was from the early !900′s thru the 1940′s. I still run across collections regularly, and I can assure you if I think that they worthy, I will be picking them up.

Be sure to check that the stamps aren’t glued down on the pages but are connected by hinges. Every stamp that you find might not be a treasure, but it will only take one. And if you buy them cheaply enough, I assure you that you will be well rewarded.

To this day I still wonder what happened to Mr. Michael. One day he was just gone, as if he never was. I continued to ask my father about him, but there was never an answer. It was if he had disappeared off the face of the earth. I pray he is in Heaven.

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Todays Photo: The Inverted Jenny, a 1918 US Stamp, known for its error,is valued at $525,000 at famousstamps.org

Today’s Links:

www.famousstamps.org/

American Philatelic Society
www.stamps.org/

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