Ted Tyszka has been a stamp collector since 1974. He runs an online stamp shop on HipStamp, and belongs to several stamp collecting groups on Facebook and across the internet. APS interviewed Ted to learn more about his stamp collecting journey and future plans for his Youtube channel.
Read the interview below:
How did you become involved in philately / stamp collecting?
A guy I knew in the Air Force (I was 19 at the time, in 1974) happened to mention that he was a stamp collector. Up to this point, in my life, the only stamps I had ever seen, or was even aware of, were the Washington and Lincoln definitives used in the 60s, while I was growing up. We got mail from relatives in Germany, but I had never even noticed, much less paid attention to, the stamps on those letters. I went up to his dorm room and he pulled out an album, and the first page I saw was his Australian 'Roos. I also learned about this world of commemorative stamps I had never seen before. I then started frequenting a stamp shop in town and took out a subscription to Linn's Stamp News.
Who inspired you to collect stamps?
Sgt. Shepherd, the guy who had showed me his album, was my inspiration. But, as we were never fast friends, we did not interact philatellically after that. Linn's Stamp News, which was a much thicker publication at that time, was my friend and mentor.
What are some of your favorite stamps that you have collected?
My sentimental favorite is the Boston Tea Party block of four issued by the US Postal Service as part of the bicentennial celebration. This was the coolest thing, to me, a continuous design across a block of 4 stamps.The British and French African colonial engraved stamps were an early and lasting favorite area to collect.
What inspired you to start a YouTube channel?
I was browsing around YouTube, looking for philatelic content, and was disappointed to find so little. There was the APS channel and the audio-only channel replaying the Stamp Show Here Today podcast. But I had already listened to all those episode on my podcast player. Then I stumbled across you-know-who (hint: his initials are Graham Beck) and I was blown away by the quality of his program. At the time, he had 10,000 subscribers, and I thought, yeah, there are a lot of other people looking for stamp collecting information. So, I thought "if I can't find the content I'm looking for, I'll create it myself".
What were some of the best/most challenging moments of setting up your stamp store?
I was excited to set up a stamp store on HipStamp because of the affordability of the platform. The subscription rates and selling fees were very low, and the number of items you could list, for a particular subscription level, is very high. I found, though, that to attract any meaningful amount of business required a large inventory. What seemed like a ton of duplicates and unwanted material from my collection, which seeded my initial inventory, turned out to be a rather paltry inventory for an online store. So the challenge is to not only find new stock at a cost favorable for reselling, but to get it scanned and listed in a timely manner.
What is your favorite video that you have made so far?
Probably the Czeslaw Slania episode, as these stamps are among my favorites, and it's also heartening to get feedback from viewers saying how they were prompted to start collecting Slania after seeing the video.
Any advice for other collectors/stamp youtubers that are just starting out?
I would advise any YouTubers to keep it real, keep it down to earth. Don't sell the sizzle; sell the steak. There are several channels where the person simply shows pages from their album and talks about how "rare and valuable" their stamps are, while showing you stamps worth 10 cents at best. One guy showed off a page and claimed the stamps were worth a million dollars. And, no they were not being facetious or joking, he even showed several virtually worthless stamps, claiming a value of $10,000 and $15,000 for each. Collectors will see through the hype. Be honest with yourself and with your viewers.
Who are some youtubers that you have worked with/want to work with in the future?
I just completed a stamp chat video with Exodus Richter, of the I'll Be Stamped YouTube channel. I would love to get together with other channels some time. I wasn't able to make the Chicago show, this past summer, but if I had, I probably would have met up with Mallard Stamps. I'd love to have Graham Beck come down to my place and convert my stamp den into a zeppelin, as he did for one of his videos.
How do you see your channel evolving in the future?
I have plans for expanding the scope of my content. I would like to get into having one-on-one video stamp chats with other collectors. I'd like to try a live stream sometime and interact in real time with viewers. I think it would be cool if I found someone local to me with whom I could partner, in making videos. That would change the whole dynamics of the program, being able to bounce ideas off of each other and bring a conversational tone to the videos. My big goal right now is to create a comprehensive video philately course that beginning collectors can utilize to help them on their journey through the stamp world.
Any philately related events that you are excited to attend?
I've been to small regional shows in the past. I retired in January of 2021, and thought I would now be able to travel to some of the big national shows. The pandemic quashed those plans for this year, so I'm looking forward to when conditions will normalize and I will be able to hit the road for some of these events.
Anything else you would like to add?
This year has been a great one for me in the hobby. I've met a lot of wonderful friends who have brought me much pleasure and added to my knowledge of philately. I look forward to an even better 2022.
If you are interested in sharing your stamp story, contact the APS Media Team by emailing MediaTeam@stamps.org