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Date Posted: 02:43:32 09/10/07 Mon
In reply to: Benjamin Sims 's message, "Article" on 02:40:10 07/19/06 Wed
I hope I can help with your project in some small way?
Answers (My opinion only!) to your questions are as follows:
1)Philately is probably quite static in the UK with about 2.75 mill.ion people who collect some form of stamps/covers etc.,according to a survey in the late 90's The growth is evident in countries where communism has collapsed and a free market has appeared, so Russia and the Eastern Bloc have seen a big collecting growth. Hence the number of websites offering their stamps.In the UK, a dearth of young collectors is only being partly addressed by a small band of people trying to whip up interest in the face of stiff competition from TV & the Internet. If this does not improve the situation we could see a considerable decline in collector numbers.
2) A significant proportion of collectors collect their own country and this is often very pronounced in certain countries like France, where a huge proportion collect France & Colonies.
3) Stanley Gibbons have many major competitors, most of the main dealers in the UK, who specialise in a particular area, are strong competitors for SG. SG's strength is their long history, the name many smaller collectors know and the fact that they try to stock a wider range of material than probably any other dealer (certainly in the UK). Price is the problem foir SG as they mainly charge catalogue price (Prices quoted in their own reference catalogues) and most competitors sell at a discount on SG prices.
4) Unlikely as Ebay offers a fantastic range of stamps already and unless their pricing policy was changed they would be hard pressed to compete with the World market of E-bay, but they certainly will have a bigger presence on the internet as time goes by, they are already a major seller on the net.
5)Quite probably, but under a different name perhaps, there is a great future in stamp collecting.
6) Stamp issuing countries will be forced to reconsider the folly of issuing £100's worth of new issues each year. Postal reforms such as labelling instead of stamping letters will reduce the number of stamps produced and possibly even cause them to completely dissappear from the market, leaving label collectors in their place. But there are enough stamps around to fuel a healthy market for many years. The development of postal history and, latterly, social postal history(i.e. the contents of an old letter) have widened the appeal of stamp collecting and ensured its future in the short term. Education of collectors, to channel their collecting habits into something which they can properly understand and enjoy, is important. So many people collect new issues and First Day Covers and then find they are worth less than half their cost when they try to sell them. This puts people off collecting for life, and gives stamp dealers a bad name as they are accused of robbing the collectors by offereing below cost prices for material which is, sadly, in vast over supply!
I think the internet will become even more important than it is now and stamp fairs will suffer accordingly. They will always exist while stamp collecting exists, but they may become more general collectors fairs with postcards (as they do now) and matchbox labels, sugar packets, model toys, etc. all under one roof.
I hope this is a little help, please e-mail me if I can help further or we could have a phone conversation?
John Cowell (a former M.D. of Stanley Gibbons Auctions)
> I am writing an article for the Cambridge
>University student news
>paper about "Stanley Gibbon". I would be very grateful
>if you could help me
>answer some questions about the company and about
>philately in general.
>1) Is Philately a growing hobby? I notice that there
>are lots of websites
>selling Russian stamps is this one of main growth
>2) Do collectors usually collect the stamps of there
>3) Who are Stanley gibbons major competitors?
>4) Do you think Stanley Gibbon will become the "Ebay"
>5) Do you think "Stanley Gibbon" will still be going
>in another 100 years
>6) What do you think will be the major changes in the
>future of stamp
>I would be most thankful for any help you can give me
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