I have seen this same kind of story over and over again.

Several years ago, a major auction house in the US was selling coins, artwork, antiques, and other collectibles. They specialized in rare and valuable material. They had no philatelic presence. They hired a prominent stamp dealer to operate their new philatelic division. They began taking out full page ads in the philatelic press to announce their entry into the philatelic field. It was a big splash.

In a few short years and a handful of auctions, the ride was over. They were still in business, but no longer offering philatelic material. The dealer went on to manage another business. The firm quietly exited the philatelic auction business. There was no press release. There was no coverage in the philatelic press. Most of the philatelic world did not even notice.

Another family run business that was active in the coin world entered the business several years ago specializing in the auction of graded stamps. Again, there were full page ads and a lot of philatelic press. Then the market changed. The people (mostly non-stamp collectors) that were paying huge prices for graded common and otherwise inexpensive stamps took their money elsewhere. Suddenly, stamps that were bringing hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars were now bringing tens of dollars each, when they did sell, which wasnít as often.

This family run business also disappeared without any fanfare. Again, most collectors didnít notice.

Iím always cautious when I see someone enter the business in a blaze of glory, whether they are a retail dealer or auction firm. They come in with a bang and promise to revolutionize the world, pay the highest prices for your stamps, and so forth. That flame is usually quickly extinguished.

Meanwhile, there are other gentle giants that enter the business and do well. They are not long on promises and short on delivery. They donít surround themselves with a lot of fanfare. These are the dealers who usually stick to it and deliver long term results in the hobby.