Two recent stories in the philatelic press made headlines. Barry Savedov discovered a rare Scott #5 in an accumulation of 1¢ Franklin issues he bought some time ago. That strip of stamps was sold by Dutch Country Auctions for $30,000. Dealers Allan Grant and Larry Gibson spotted the Lady Cotswolds Missionary find of a block of 19 of China Scott #6. This block is estimated to fetch £250,000 at auction. Both are significant philatelic finds.

Were these dealers lucky in finding these rare items? Yes. But what is luck? Some may say that luck is a random act. I disagree. Roman philosopher Seneca is credited with saying, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” I agree and I think these two examples prove that point.

Some luck is random, such as buying a winning lottery ticket. In this case, there was no preparation.

In the two cases I mentioned though, the dealers studied this kind of material for years. They put that knowledge to use and spotted these rare items. They study and dedication to the field paid off handsomely. Both of these finds were over 100 years in the making. There are other significant philatelic finds highlighted in the philatelic press from time to time when someone makes a discovery.

Will you have any luck? If you study your stamps and acquire knowledge about the areas of stamps you collect, the answer is “maybe.” Knowledge won’t guarantee that you will find something of significance. A lack of knowledge though means that a significant find may slip through your fingers.

Study your stamps. Acquire knowledge about your areas of philatelic interest. Maybe one day too, you’ll make a philatelic find and have your name in the philatelic press. It could happen, but only if you prepare yourself. Good luck and happy hunting!