Yesterday I visited the Exhibition of Stamps by by Philatelic Dealers Association of India. Naively I thought it would be an exhibition with mounted exhibits by specialized collectors. I was also expecting a few stamp dealers selling stamps at the exhibition. That’s the image I had from the last exhibition I visited more than 30 years ago. Well, it wasn’t actually an ‘exhibition’ per se. It was two rooms full of stamp and coin dealers selling their wares, like a stamp and coin market. While I was a little disappointed by my naive thoughts of expecting an exhibition, I wasn’t disappointed actually going there. It was a great opportunity to get to know so many stamp dealers and buy stamps. I ended up spending a lot of money there and still be left wanting for more. Surely, I need to find a better way to collect stamps without spending my fortune on them. Anyway, more on that later.
There were some large dealers with multiple stalls and then many dealers who shared a single stall. Kolkatta seems to be the hub of philately dealers in India as I found most large dealers from Kolkatta.
I didn’t get any bargains. The stamps were being sold on Indian catalogue prices with specific discount rates on them (I was primarily looking for Indian stamps). One seller lamented the philately was dead, that buyers just don’t pay the prices, and some sellers have spoilt the market by giving deep discounts on the catalog prices. And some stamps I could find significantly cheaper on eBay. Anyway, it was still a great experience seeing so many dealers in one place from all over the country. I managed to get many visiting cards for dealers from different cities that I might visit in the future.