Pictures of my haul from the latest COMPEX caused quite a commotion on my Instagram feed yesterday. Although I have made previously posted about how to acquire vintage stamps, I do think that stamp shows are my favorite way to procure postage. You get it immediately, no shipping required. You can look through the stamps right there, no endless clicking and open tabs. It's very satisfying to pile up postage and make new discoveries as you go. Also, the vendors really know their stuff. If you're looking for something specific, they are going to know right where it is.
Don't think you need to be in Chicago* to attend a stamp show. There are shows held all over! A quick internet search should find you your nearest stamp club and almost every stamp club puts on a show. The vendors travel all over too, like a circus, but for stamps. See, doesn't that sound great? In addition to items for sale, the shows often have themes and exhibits. I took a bunch of notes from the exhibits at this show for future L.W.A. products and blog postings.
Although there may be sellers who focus on very niche things, I have never been to a show that didn't have a booth selling stamps at or below face value. The fact of the matter is that a lot of stamps aren't "collectible" and sellers aren't making their money from people like me who just want stamps for their letters. So, their trash is our treasure.
An item of note: some vendors may only accept cash or check, but the advent of phone credit card processing has made credit a more widely used form of payment. Be prepared and ask first before you spend two hours picking out stamps only to find a booth isn't taking cards. Also, don't be intimidated. Although it's sure to be full of mostly older white men, you have every right to be there! I stress this because I struggle with it, but stamps are for everybody. Never forget it.
Have you been to a stamp show? Share your experiences and tips with your fellow members!
*The show isn't even IN Chicago. I took an hour plus public transit ride to River Grove for this one.