For both of us, the World Stamp Show was exhilarating, exhausting, and engrossing. It was a thrill to finally meet face-to-face the many people who have patiently imparted information on everything from Stamps 101 to 1916 ocean liner manifests. There were many high points. When it comes to just selecting a handful, we have slightly different takes on the spectacle. Here’s what particularly grabbed Deborah:
Watching a tiny piece of paper sell for more than a million bucks. The historic nature of this sale was amazing to watch, and the highlight of it was seeing Carolyn Marek, granddaughter of the man who first bought the sheet of inverts in 1918, and her husband have so much fun as onlookers and participants in Jenny history.
Meeting the author of the Inverted Jenny bible, which in the context of the stamp world makes him THE author. I feel like we’re carrying on a legacy in some ways. It was fun to talk to so many interesting people, but in chatting with George Amick, we got to engage with a colleague who just happened also to be sympathetic, generous, and funny.
Spending time with pioneer mail specialist Jamie O’Bannon walking us through his exhibit was fun and informative on so many levels. It fits with our own research and was a peek into international stamp competitions. And as editor of the pioneer section in the upcoming seventh edition of the American Air Mail Catalogue, Jamie is another writer colleague! I can’t wait to read it when it comes out.
For Kellen, it was all the serendipity. I loved walking among thousands of practitioners of a completely unfamiliar sphere of interest, asking questions of total strangers, and discovering genuine connections like these:
Scrutinizing a magnified image of the back of the 1-cent British Guiana black on magenta (most expensive stamp in the world at nearly $10 million) for late one-time owner Irwin Weinberg’s initials and finding ourselves chatting with someone from his hometown, Wilkes-Barre, PA, who actually knew him.
Attending a lecture on scientific techniques used to verify stamp authenticity and realizing the speaker, Larry Lyons, led the team that identified the stolen Jenny position 76 a month ago, and watching him participate in the surprise FBI handoff two days later.
Struggling to imagine how the McCoy block of four stolen Jennys had been distributed among corrupt stamp dealers acting as fences, and then attending the aforementioned FBI handoff with the honest dealer from Spink & Sons to whom the finder had submitted the stamp after which he led us to another dealer with interesting information (stay tuned).
Randomly encountering a man with a great story about leaving a Jenny and another valuable stamp in his coat pocket in a café men’s room and retrieving it safely a half-hour later.
Halting because we saw Belgian chocolates on a countertop and then spied the same spelling as my son’s name, Dimitri, on the attendant, only to discover that Delcampe online auctions is essential to the part of our book about the future of stamp collecting.
Being introduced to an expert in pioneer mail flights (experiments and publicity stunts) and discovering that he’s known my younger siblings since kindergarten.
Sitting behind the granddaughter of William Robey at the much-hyped auction of position 58 only to find ourselves in front of the winning bidder.