Friday, December 17, 2010

Frankfurt Zoo--Yesterday and Today

The German postal system has issued two stamp's honoring the Frankfurt Zoo. The stamp above was issued in 1958 commemorating the zoo's 100th Anniversary and the stamp below, was issued in 2008 commemorating the zoo's 150th Anniversary.

As many of you know, who have been following the blog since it's inception, collecting "zoo" stamps has been a passion of mine since I was about 10 years old. Stamp collecting is an incredible hobby that I tried, to no avail, to interest my children in. What with video games, Transformers, and Star Wars, stamp collecting was up against some tough competition. No way could I convince them that looking for, and saving "pretty little bits of paper" was more exciting then flying an imaginary space ship around the universe blasting monsters from the planet Neutron.

The hobby of Philately, or stamp collecting and study is, like so many wonderful thing's, almost a "dinosaur" and relic of the past, with a very small number of companies or stamp stores around any more. The few remaining ones function online. What a wonderful, personal thing stamp collecting it used to be before the internet. If you wrote to a stamp company with your collecting interests they would send you a number of stamp's "on approval" with their asking price. What "on approval" meant was, within two weeks you choose which stamps you needed, and sent the rest back along with payment for them, with any coin taped to a recipe card. They would always put additional stamps, normally with your collecting interest on the envelope with your "approvals" so you could soak them off of the envelope, and add them to your collection as a "bonus".

Can you imagine any business today, in this world of "do you have identification" sending you their product free of charge plus a free "bonus", for you to look at the product and hoping you would return it if you didn't like it??? The amazing hours spent in the basement of famous stores like Macy's and Gimbel's where most of their stamp departments were relegated by the 1980's, searching through a multitude of stock books, looking for THE stamp to complete a set, is rivaled only by finding a dusty zoo lithograph or out of print animal book in an antiquarian book shop. Or the small private mom and pop stamp stores which had stood for over 50 years in the same location, where you could "negotiate" what you were willing to pay for the stamps. Some folks would exclude the tax, and some would offer 30% off if you bought $30 worth, and some of them were so tough and bull headed they would let you walk out the door if you offered them 4 cent's for a stamp they were asking a nickle for. LOL If you want to accuse me of sounding like my Grandpa McMaster or Grandpa Burck, who used to tell me "they don't make it like they used to" fine, because that's an accusation I'll gladly accept, because this is just one more example of how the "modern world" has tanked, and why history is the most valuable asset mankind will ever have, if we use it as a learning tool to stop us from being ignorant and mucking it up any more then it is today.

No comments: