Member Story Tellers at Hip Stamps

Hip Stamps has 731 stores on their listings. If the average dealer with a store had 20 years or more in the business that would be approximately 15000 years of potential stories. My first ad in the local Toronto paper was when I was about 14 years old and I have sold stamps part time or full time ever since. I am 79 years old now and operate from Toronto, Canada that means 65 years of stamp selling.Recently I have seen members complain about the lack of stamp stories here. What can we do to encourage these dealers with so many interesting stories to finally put them out there for the enjoyment of all of us. May I start the ball rolling to encourage all of you to put that story on this thread.
If memory serves me right back in the 1970's and early 1980's I was probably going to New York about once or more per month. Harmer's and other major auction houses were an attraction plus the odd visit to a customer there. Flights were cheap, hotels were reasonable and since the stamp market was so great it all seemed so easy to do.One of my contacts in New York was a New York detective we will call "A" who was a stamp collector and also acted as security for at least one dealer most of you have heard of. He was and is my friend and though I didn't hire him we made our way around New York together.On one of my visits we went to the stamp store of Jeffry Morowitz who is the brother of Arthur Morowitz who I think still has Champion Stamp Co. Inc. in New York. Jeffry, "A" and I were talking stamps when a young man showed up , in a stamp store, asking about having his typewriter fixed. Strange! This set off alarm bells in my friend "A" and discreetly behind a cement post out came his service revolver. Jeffry told the young man that he didn't fix typewriters and the guy quietly left the shop. "A" who had some gun confrontations with criminals over the years would not have had any hesitation in using that weapon if it had been an attempted robbery. Fortunately nothing came of it but it was an interesting scene to see.
"A" was also the Liaison Officer between New York City Police and various Consuls. One day we were out with the Canadian Vice-Consul which works out great when it comes to certain taxes. They are exempt.At that time Ken Taylor was the Canadian Consul to New York City and I was able to visit his office there.It was interesting to see his various awards for saving Americans in the Canadian Embassy in Iran where he had been Ambassador at the time of the uprising.
Stamp dealing puts you into many interesting situations. The purpose of this thread is for you to get your stories published here. Many others and myself would love to hear your stories and I don't want to bore you with another of mine at this time. Just ad your story to this thread. John Talman


  • 63 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Michael Generali has some stories to share. He tends to stray from the subject of stamps, though.

  • Great reading! I have both copies. Enjoyed them very much. We do have some celebrities here - two come immediately to mind - Michael #'s & Dave "Toons" Bennett. Oh, almost forgot Professor Luree :)
  • Ted: Thanks I am already learning things about our members I didn't know. I haven't written a complete book but I am credited in several books including one on Dr. Walter Anderson where they gave me a chapter for an article I wrote for a Rotary publication. Walter was a missionary doctor in India and a friend of mine who was captured by the Japanese in the second world and sent to be the doctor on the building of the Railway there. When the Japanese left Burma he was sent to Thailand and was the only white man in the camp there. I titled my chapter the Bridge on the River Quai.
  • No, John I don't. And, furthermore, I'll respond to whomever I please in whatever manner I choose..
  • Does anyone know how this 'Dislike' button works?
  • Holy crap! I just clicked Paul's like button.
  • My story is perhaps more a memory sparked by reading John, that you are in Toronto. That reminded me of the wonderful philatelic times I had when I lived there during the 1990s and into mid 2000s. I used to visit a hotel / building on the corner of Bay and Bloor Streets, if my memory is correct, because every 3 months or there abouts there was a stamp auction. Queen City Auctions just came into my head. Philately is a wonderful hobby for both collector and dealer and attending auctions is part of that. I just remember the atmosphere of high expectation with all the potential bidders in the room. I even won a few lots as I recall. I really miss attending live auctions and meeting real people. Something we miss a bit nowadays. So thanks for starting this thread. Michael
  • Michael: Al Burrows who ran Queen City Auction is out of the auction business. However, he did come to my public auction on Sept. 3/17 and bought some lots. Probably about 45 years ago he worked for me. He is honest and hard working and I am glad you were able to buy a few lots from him. Thanks for your comments.
  • John, Thank you for your response. Very nice, indeed. I would just like to clear up one point - I did not strike out at you. You asked me a question and I answered it and stated my position. You, however, chose to get personal. So I say "thank you" because you have just shown the entire Community your true colors. Enough said.

    Out of respect for Mark, Justin & the Community there will be no further response to you.
  • John, will you please stop disrespecting the other members? That comment is totally NOT called for. You have slammed a few of my friends here and that is not acceptable behavior on this site. So please refrain from your bullying remarks.
  • edited September 2017 5 LikesVote Down
    For over 10 years (save for the SG era) I have enjoyed reading these forums and the sense of camaraderie enjoyed by all.

    Lately that has changed. Argumentative, disrespectful bullies who always have to get in the last word appear to have free reign on the forums now.

    Can someone explain why some of these posts do not violate the terms and conditions;

    “Contribute to an unfriendly environment either through offensive or abusive messaging (whether made using the internal message system feature or otherwise) or on our community and forum pages.”

    Paul created a de facto “dislike” button which has received10 votes so far …. that seems to go unnoticed.

    Joining the ranks of those who can find something better to do with my time until such time as a modicum of civility returns to these pages.
  • " Paul created a de fecto “dislike” button which has received10 votes so far . . "

    Hi Carol --- who is Paul and where can we see the 'de facto dislike button'?
  • Right on! Carol! It has grown really irksome.
  • edited September 2017 2 LikesVote Down
    Dave Bennett - "Hi Carol --- who is Paul and where can we see the 'de facto dislike button'?"

    Paul Molloy - 10 or so posts up. Followed by Rod Tiltyard
  • Jeri is not gone.. just look UP.. Class always Shines to the top, & Jeri is one of the brightest stars in the HipStamp sky.
  • "She's gone - She's gone - HALLELUJAH - HALLELUJAH!!!!!!"

    Classy John. Real classy. Are you 12 years old or is this the first time you've ever used the Internet in your life? Because you're coming across as a complete dick, just so ya know.

    (This isn't news to most members here but it may come across as news to you.)
  • Instead of (or in addition to) a dislike button, it would be nice to have an 'ignore button' which when activated would block all moronic posts from a moronic poster so they wouldn't be seen.
  • Carol --- oh, OK. I have always thought 'de facto' meant 'real or actual'. I thought someone had crafted a dislike button image as a spoof.

    Dan and Kurt and George---- excellently stated!!

  • edited September 2017 4 LikesVote Down
    John: Please note that we have removed several of the earlier posts you have made as not being compliant with our terms and conditions. While our Staff does moderate our community forums, and while we appreciate your enthusiasm, please do not take it upon yourself to try and moderate our forums. Members are free to participate within our community forums, and we encourage all members to contribute.

    If we believe there is an issue which needs to be moderated - as is the case here in this post - we'll step in and take appropriate action. While we do ask that members keep posts on topic, we do not have any issue with members discussing items which are related to the original, or previous posts - even if indirectly. In this case - the conversation is perfectly fine, and again, if it were not, we would step in to moderate - as we do not currently designate any members as moderators, and acting as such is not appropriate; and again ask that you cease attempting to do so any further.
  • A wee story about Queen City Auctions. When the site of their auctions was moved to the Roehampton Hotel near Mt Pleasant & Eglington in Toronto they would show the auction lots the day and morning before the sale in meeting rooms on the top floor of the hotel and then hold the auction on the 2nd floor. Their insurance wanted someone to be in the room with the stamps and they did not want to hire a security guard. They did offer a London, Ontario dealer (me)a deal I could not refuse. Spend the night with the stamps and they would arrange for a rollaway bed. I got a free hotel room and a very modest stipend for helping them with the auction. I would get supper and some junk food from one of the many places in the area and spend the night with the stamps. I could hook up with the hotel wifi so I didn't want or need television. The only visitor I ever had was a member of the hotel cleaning staff.
  • Another quick Queen City story. Those that attended always liked the many bulky boxes that were in each sale. I was helping show lots and grumbled about lifting a heavy bankers box. The viewer said I should get someone younger to do the heavy lifting. I looked around and had to tell him I was the someone younger - every one else showing lots was older than me.
  • Dennis and Michael: You had such pleasant memories of your dealings with Al Burrows of Queen City Auctions that I had to phone him and get a few more details. I gave him your regards. Al will be 81 in two months and he moved from Vermont to Canada in the 1960's. He tells me he sold his first stamps when he was 12 years old. Both Al and I delivered papers for a few years around that age. Thanks for your remarks and I hope to see some other interesting stories soon.
  • edited September 2017 2 LikesVote Down
    I've been selling stamps since I was 15, and full time for the last 9 years. I'm sort of a "pup" compared to many dealers but have been selling stamps for almost 40 years now.

    The first interesting story that comes to mind for me, that also includes a moral, involved a Canadian mint stamp collection/stock in a stockbook.

    I don't remember where I got it, but it was in amongst a bunch of stuff (I'm a junkboxaholic).

    The collector, to ensure the safety of their good stamps, had hidden them behind a bunch of old MNH 5c stamps in the rows of the stock pages, so there were full sets of MNH singles to the $1 destroyer, the $1 chateau etc all neatly tucked away behind common MNH 5c commemoratives. Of course nobody ever saw them or stole them, and when the stamps were sold, nobody noticed them until I deconstructed the pages. What a find and of course a bargain. Unfortunately it is finds like this that stimulate my junkboxaholicism.

    It is also a good reminder that if one is "securing" stamps that those who will look after them after you know where the good stuff is!

    I'll maybe post some other stories/recollections later....

    (PS you'll notice that I have a propensity to invent new words on a somewhat regular basis....sometimes simply because my spelling is woeful or because I simply have a use for that new word!)
  • Ron: Thanks for the great story. I once did a paid appraisal for two ladies (Sisters) in their 20's. I had charged them $200. to look at a large wholesale used stock and they told me that as kids in the bath they used to take their father's stamps off paper. As I looked thru the various cigarette tins, etc. I kept finding rolled up cash. Presenting this to the girls I told them they would have no problem paying me since I had found over $400.00 in cash. We will look forward to your other stories in due course.
  • edited September 2017 2 LikesVote Down
    Here's another...

    We used to have an exchange program where people could send stamps against purchases.

    We received a somewhat damaged bubble envelope from a fellow in Scotland that looked like it had dried blood on it!

    At that time the queue was pretty long so it was quite a while before I got to the point of evaluating the material.

    Around the same time we got a subsequent letter from the fellow telling us that he was sorry he hadn't written for a bit because he had been hit by a bus while walking on his way to dropping off his letter at the mailbox! The envelope of stamps he had with him had been lost, and he had been in the hospital for a while!

    It seems that someone found the letter on the street afterwards and put it in the mailbox for him (despite the blood!!!) and it made its way to us!

    He was very lucky to have survived ok, (he was in his 90s) and it was surprising that someone put the envelope in the mail and it made it to us ok!
  • Ron: Only the good die young! Thanks for a most interesting story. Sounds like you have a few to come which we eagerly look forward to reading.
    This weeks Mexican earthquakes somehow reminded me of one of my customers whom I first heard of when he was in Cali, Colombia working for Bordens (Dairy Products) there. He collected BNA and Scadta stamps that I know of and I sold most of what he had collected of these in one of my auctions probably in the late 1980's. His last name was Beals and I think he was a Canadian (A Canadian who spoke fluent Spanish). He had gone to Bordens as a chemist but I think eventually rose to become the head guy for Bordens in Colombia. As a Canadian he often came to Toronto for medical treatment as he was covered under our medical plans. When Beals had first gone to Cali as he was driving to work one morning when he had the misfortune of running over a drunk who had apparently staggered out of House of Ill Repute in that city. He took the man to the hospital and the doctors recognized the victim and told Beals he would have to stay in hospital although he wasn't injured. The man he had hit and accidentally killed was a hit man for the Colombia drug cartel and the police would have to talk to him and take his car to check the brakes, etc. The police took his keys and went to get the car but the car was no longer there! Apparently the drug cartel also wanted to check his brakes and after they did the car was returned so the police could check it out. The drug cartel also wanted to check him out as well as he could be a hit man sent there to look after their hit man. Things turned out fine for Beals and he remained in Cali quietly climbing in the ranks and quietly pursuing his hobby of stamp collecting. When he was the head guy at Bordens he was warned that there was a faction wanting to take over the government and they were kidnapping the heads of companies to hold them for ransom. He carried his own weapon at that time. Time for retirement and a warm climate sounded nice. It was 1985 and off he went to Mexico and just in time for the Sept. 1985 earthquake there that took the lives of 10,000 and injured 30,000. He came through it okay. I hope he is okay today but I don't know. In any case this hobby has certainly put me in touch with some interesting characters over the years. A nice presentation on the Canadian Scadta stamps can be found on page 585 of the 2017 Unitrade Catalogue of Canadian Stamps.
  • Permit me to tell of a long-term fellow collector who so enjoyed his hobby that for years he bought collections at every opportunity it seemed, eventually accumulating so much stock that closets spilled out into stamp rooms. Recently, he realized he was getting on in years and having no relatives interested in stamps, he decided he'd better start downsizing his vast horde. Even at a steady rate of listing and selling, it was a monumental task that would extend well into his remaining time on earth. He reasoned posting near Scott catalog would legitimize those prices, but would generate paltry few sales and disappoint the unfortunate buyers who down-the-road would experience harsh doses of reality. Marketing material on a par with other dealers, he figured would simply place him in an ocean of clones with him occasionally winning the lottery of a buyer randomly choosing his offering. So, determined to generate interest, he committed to make his philatelic wares the cheapest on the HipStamp site. I hear it's working and I understand he will be listing more items as soon as the sales slow down. Instead of other dealer's condemnation, he received orders from them too. Everything was to be offered at some fraction of Scott's prices, so he named his store Part Cat stamps. You may have even read some of his posts on these Forums... Ok, this HAS to be the most shameless self-promotion to find its way on this board. Send me to my stamp room without my tongs.
  • Ron: I thought with 15,000 years of stamp selling experience I thought we would have more stories from many sellers. If they don't come then I thought we could fill it in with a few of my own. I still want to see everyone's story but hard as it is I will refrain from telling more of my own at this time. Hoped to see some Camaraderie here. Ron - perhaps you have a good stamp story you could tell us all?
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