Hooray for Stamp Collecting!

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When I was a young boy, I loved to collect things. I collected them all; coins, stamps, comic books, baseball cards, football cards, fish, frogs and snakes.

I collected this stuff cause I knew that if I held onto it for just long enough, someday I would get filthy rich off of selling it. Later, I realized that my “just long enough” would have had to be about 250 years.

Let’s face it, folks. You can’t get rich off of collecting stuff. I don’t care what Gary North says, either. Gold!? Pffft! Well you can’t eat gold now can you?

So if you have been collecting any of the above mentioned items — in some rose-colored glasses effort to get rich, all I can say to you is start today in trying to find someone dumb enough to pay you even 10% of your money back! Because you have lost all your money.

(That is, unless of course, you have a Marvel Silver Surfer comic #1 in Mint condition! Keep that baby. It’s worth dollars!)

One of my fondest memories as a university student was when I was sitting in my room one day and watching the TV news. On the news they spoke about a Mickey Mantle baseball card that had sold for $500 some dollars at a baseball card auction. I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears! I had that card back at home!

I dropped whatever it was that I was doing (it certainly wasn’t studying) and raced back to my parents home. There I found the card. I took it to a card dealer the next day and proudly tossed it on the counter.

“I’ll give you $5 dollars for it.” The guy said.

“What!? I saw on TV last night that it sold for $500 dollars!”

“Yeah, well, that was in mint condition. This one looks like it has been through the washer.”

I was insulted. I grabbed the card and headed out the shop.

“Washer, indeed!" I thought, “It wasn’t the washer. I had hooked this card up to my bicycle spokes with a clothes pin so that my bike made a ‘rat-a-tat-tat’ sound when I rode it — Just like a P-52 fighter plane! The ‘Cadillac of the Skies.’”

I then went home and looked at my entire collection of stuff. Yes, I had basically beat everything up pretty much (like any normal American kid would do.) I cut out all the cool pictures from my Spider-man comics; carried most of my sports cards in my back pocket when I was running around with my friends….

The only things that were in good condition were my postage stamps. I hadn’t cleaned them with some super-cleano silver cleaner that you see on TV, like I did my Mint Collection of Franklin Half-Dollars.

“Darn! For a moment there, I thought I was gonna be rich…” So, depressed, I went back to college and figured that I had better start studying because I didn’t want six (or was it seven?) years of college to be a total waste.

Years later, when I moved to Japan, I took my coins and stamps with me.

The Japanese post office is just a wee bit smarter than the U.S. postal service. Stamps of the U.S. postal service sometimes are way off center and the designs are poor. Many U.S. stamps are really cheesy and cheap looking. Japanese stamps usually have a very high quality design and excellent printing.

This is clever, you see, because the postal service wants you to collect stamps. They want you to give them money and then not use the stamps. In Japan, they have special issues coming out all the time — sometimes three times a week! And they also promote the selling of entire sheets of stamps to collectors.

Buying sheets of stamps is a sure-fire way of losing money. My mother-in-law had a friend that worked at the post office way back when. Her friend convinced her to buy sheets of stamps as an investment. She did. And years later, she gave them to me. I took them to a dealer and, even though some of the sheets were 20 years old, they told me that I could only receive 80% of face value.

Then I took them back to the post office and said I wanted my money back. They said that they couldn’t give me back my money, but that they’d only trade me new stamps for face value.

Al Hitler received a royalty for each of these sold!

“What a rip-off!”

So now my wife and I are using 20 to 25 year old stamps on all our letters we mail, even today. I guess some stamp-collecting kid might get a kick out of that if they see one.

So I’m back at the post office the other day and I see the new issue of a “commemorative stamp” and it hits me like a ton of bricks! Okay, maybe I’m not the smartest guy in the world, and call me paranoid, but I realized that the government — All governments, use postage stamps as a method of propaganda.

What a scam!

There are stamps commemorating this and that. Showing you just how great is the country you live in.

Stamps showing the great deeds the government has done for us all. Famous statesmen, great leaders, wonderful monuments, holidays, and human achievement.

So this new stamp issue here in Japan, was just a shocker and eye-opener for me! It’s the fifty-year anniversary of the “Police Law.”

Hooray for the police! Hooray for the post office! Hooray for stamp-collecting!

That did it for me. I’m going to start collecting stamps again! I just can’t wait!

There should be some really great ones coming out of Japan and the good ol’ U.S.A. in the next few years.

How about these ideas?:

“5th Anniversary of the Fall of Saddam’s Statue,” or;

“10th Anniversary of the Homeland Security Act,” or;

“15th Anniversary of the Patriot Acts 1 through 11" (probably a sheet commemorative.) Or;

“20th Anniversary of George W. Bush’s Accession to the Throne.”

Wow! A collector’s dream come true. And I think you folks in the States had better start collecting stamps too. It’s a way to show your patriotism, a way to show your pride.

And who knows, maybe someday your collection will be invaluable as proof of character in an American court of law!

Hooray for the police-state! Hooray for the central-government! Hooray for stamp-collecting!

Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has worked as an independent writer, producer, and personality in the mass media for nearly 30 years.

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