Suppose the USPS and every other postal administration on this planet suddenly decided that stamps are obsolete and will no longer be printed. What would happen to the hobby? Total collapse? The end of philately as we know it?

I suggest that very little would change in the hobby.

New issue dealers would be adversely affected. With no new issues coming out, there is nothing for them to do. They would be the most adversely affected. They would have to find another line of work in the stamp business such as retail sales or auctions.

Catalog editors would be affected somewhat. With no new material, new listings and new catalog numbers are no longer needed. Catalog editors would shift efforts into updating prices and correcting listings of existing material. They could probably do that with a smaller staff than they have today.

Collectors who look forward to new issues would have to turn their focus elsewhere. There is plenty of philatelic material out there. The challenge is to find something that interests them.

Will stamp collecting stop? I donít think so. Picasso isnít making any new paintings. Yet there are people who collect Picassoís and they pay millions of dollars for some of his works. The same is true of other deceased artists. They arenít creating any new works. However, the demand is still there and going strong.

There are millions of stamp collectors if you are willing to count all of the casual collectors. By casual collector, I mean someone who collects stamps, but they donít necessarily join stamp clubs or subscribe to philatelic publications. They generally donít spend an enormous amount of money on stamps, but they are very happy collecting Poland, Disney characters, or whatever their interests are. They collect stamps for the fun of it.

Even if all stamp production stopped today, I think a strong interest in stamps will prevail for a very long time. Interest will shift to existing issues, obviously. There are billions and billions of stamps available to collectors. I think stamp collecting as a hobby would continue to thrive for many, many years to come.