In 1941, then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave a speech to the Harrow School, his alma mater, which included this quote: “Never give in.” There’s a magnet on my refrigerator with a reimagined version of the quote saying: “Never give up.”
The quote inspires me, and it should inspire stamp collectors, when faced with the question of how to bring new life to the hobby.
Paul Hartford sent a very thoughtful Letter to the Editor about attracting fresher faces to philately and outlined many of the challenges that are ahead.
I have to respectfully disagree with one sentence: “It is clear that our hobby is dying.”
It is not dying. It is evolving.
Evolution is not revolution. For instance, this magazine is a treasured resource for our members. As long as you enjoy reading a physical copy of the AP, we will provide it. The evolution is the development of an application, soon available for your Apple and Android devices. This will be free to everyone. A members-only section will bring The American Philatelist to your phone or tablet. A brief preview of that coming attraction is shown nearby.
The content strategy of the American Philatelic Society will embrace new ideas. We are in the discovery phase of this strategy, talking to anyone and everyone about stamps. We want to hear from APS members and non-members, along with men and women of all ages and perspectives.
You are part of the planning of our future strategy. Here is how you can help. In addition to sharing your ideas, please take a few minutes to share the thoughts of people you know.
When I tell a friend about my new job or am introduced to a new contact, I ask if they’ve ever collected stamps. If the answer is no, I ask a series of follow-up questions.
Here are a few:
- “Did anyone in your family collect stamps? If so, have you looked at it lately?”
- “Do you like art, or history? Stamps are beautiful and they tell great stories.”
- “Are you engaged in any other hobby? Perhaps there’s a way to connect stamps with it.”
Try it. APS has set up a special email address for this project: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Paul noted in his letter, “We need to convince them that philately is an interesting, fun and educational hobby. There is so much to learn, it’s incredible.”
It is an incredible hobby and an amazing time to be a stamp collector. So never give in; never give up!
Editor's Note: The column was published in the September 2019 issue of the American Philatelist, available online now for members to read in full. We will be posting the columns of APS executives on this website to provide updates about American Philatelic Society. Learn more about the benefits of APS membership here.