A new topic has sprung up on the stamp collecting forums, that being stamp auctions. There have been a number of notable auctions of late, selling off the collections of well-known philatelists and people have been talking about them and how actions operate in general.
Personally, I’ve never been a fan of auctions at all, be it the in-person, online or even eBay for my stamps. Not that you asked but it’s my blog and I’m going to tell you why anyhow.
Auctions seem, to me, to be an exercise in frustration and disappointment. You see something you want, you bid on it, you get outbid and lose. Lather, rinse, repeat. What’s the point? Certainly it isn’t to get a deal because in these major auctions, most of the pieces go for several times catalog value. I see tons of people saying they paid way too much for their winnings and that they got caught up in bidding madness. That’s not for me. I’d much rather relax and enjoy my time with my various collections. The enjoyment is the thing and the chase is where I get most of my fun. However, I just don’t allow the chase to become frustrating, when a hobby becomes more depressing than fun, I put it on the shelf until it becomes enjoyable again. I will never be disheartened by a hobby. They just don’t mean that much to me and I think that anyone who is so invested in a hobby that they allow it to ruin their life has problems.
That’s why I just don’t engage in the auction format. Even on eBay, you have to worry about someone coming along at the last second and outbidding you, you have to be constantly vigilant and prepared to throw in extra money at the end to fend off all comers. No thanks. A long time ago when I actually used eBay a lot, I learned to put in my top price at the beginning and if I won, great. If not, so what? It would come along again. I wouldn’t even go back to look again, I’d just wait for a “you won!” e-mail. It just wasn’t that important to me. I really hate to haggle anyhow, just tell me what you want for it and I’ll decide whether it’s worth that price to me or not. If it is, I’ll buy it. If not, I’ll move on. No harm, no foul.
That’s one reason I’ve expanded my collecting rather than being more focused. When I realized that for my U.S. collection, most of what I had left were expensive items that might require auctions and fighting to get the stamps I need, I started collecting China and Australia as well. I still add to my U.S. collection but now I can avoid the auction scene and the frustration and just go with something easier to acquire. I’m not a completist, I don’t care if I ever get every U.S. stamp or not. It is entirely irrelevant to me. I also don’t care what my collection is worth. I don’t care what my heirs can sell it for. I don’t care if they throw it in the trash. I’ll be dead, it’s not my concern. My concern is having a good time while I’m doing it.
Besides, aren’t hobbies supposed to be something relaxing and enjoyable to do in your free time? A lot of these people turn their hobbies into a second job and I have no interest in that. My life is stressful enough without having to be stressed out in my free time. So keep your auctions, I’ll just buy what I want at prices I find acceptable and if I can’t find it, I just won’t buy it. I don’t mind not having it. I’m not a fanatic, I have a hobby and I’m happy with keeping it that way.