I am a software engineer by profession. I am a part time stamp dealer, although sometimes it feels like a second full time job!
As an engineer, my brain thinks logically about many things. It drives my wife crazy because Iím so analytical.
A fellow engineer of mine has a catchy expression that makes a lot of sense to me. He said, ďAbsence of evidence is not evidence of absence.Ē In other words, you canít prove that something doesnít exist just because you havenít found it yet. Maybe you didnít look in the right places yet? But if you keep looking, the discovery is right around the corner. Theoretically, you canít prove a negative.
The Lady Cotswolds Missionary find is one such example. No one knew these stamps existed until they came on the market. It was a major discovery, possibly a unique event. Notice that I said, ďpossiblyĒ. Who knows, maybe an even larger block of these stamps will show up some day? No one thought this block of stamps existed until it was discovered. Whatís to say that another larger block in another long forgotten cigar box will show up?
Because you canít prove a negative, this is what gives collectors hope. Will someone else ever discover another copy of British Guiana Scott #13, the famous 1Ę Magenta? Maybe. The odds are incalculably small, but not zero. What about another copy of US Scott #85A, the famous Z grill of which only one copy is in public hands (the other known copy is in the Miller collection which is on loan to the Smithsonian).
Even though the odds of making such a find are so tiny, it does give us hope. This makes the hobby fun. We hope to one day make a major philatelic find and have our names live on forever because of some discovery we made. Enjoy the hobby! Good luck on your hunt!