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The good news this month is Autumn Stampex in London went ahead as planned last week, and just to qualify it was a ‘physical’ show and not a ‘virtual’ incarnation. The reason for defining is because the last two scheduled shows were cancelled due to the pandemic and replaced by a digital alternative. Whilst these interactive Internet based substitutes served a purpose, they were no proxy for meeting philatelic friends in the flesh and having the opportunity to show our illustrious auction lots firsthand in a show environment. So, the David Feldman SA, Geneva team, swept the dust off their passports, stuffed their overnight bags with clothes, fragrance and freshly ironed garments and packed up the entire contents of the three auction catalogues for the upcoming sales 13th-14th October, and leapt onto a jam-packed jumbo jet to meet the exuberant UK based team at the Business Design Center Islington, and took possession of a prominently positioned, tastefully adorned stand (90-91) which presented a classic smattering of our Mauritius blue branding.

Admittedly, it was Ricky Verra and Dan Flesher who did the heavy duty bit and combated the custom authorities on the way to the show, but they were soon relieved of much of the weight in the British Guiana, Spanish-American War and Transatlantic Mail lots, when greeted by the British contingent; Guy Croton, Marcus Orsi, Tony Banwell and myself, who helped to unpack and organise these tantalising treasures ready for viewings. A whole library of auction catalogues were also lugged across continents in sumptuous suitcases by our gallant Swiss inhabitants and these were made available for the rush of real life visitors to the show. Once proceedings got underway, it was a lively and productive four days, with an abundance of buyers wishing to evaluate the stamps and covers securely transported from our vault in Switzerland. And there were even members of the Press (physical and social media) clambering to our stand wanting to discuss, video and picture the rarities from the British Guiana offering, which on one occasion was facilitated by Fernando Martinez who had not a moment to wipe the mud from the inclement London streets from his shiny designer shoes, before he found himself under the glare of a popular YouTuber’s camera and fielding questions on the Provincial four cents Magenta on cover. 

Sellers also frequented the aisles bringing fresh material and collections to our philatelists to appraise and consign for our auction sales in December, and select items were also handed over to our auctioneers to benefit from our exclusive Private Treaty service, making this a record breaking show for the David Feldman SA team – this being the most we have consigned at this London show. What does all this philatelic positivity mean? It is a sign that we are getting back to stamp normality with this event well attended and buyers and sellers alike keen to breakfree from the shackles of the past 18 months. A refreshing move forward. 

In addition, the Museum of Philately took claim to their own pitch (stand 54) and Marcus Orsi set the scene of this digital platforms first venture into the show world, ably assisted by yours truly, who was his fellow adventurer on this earthly escapade, which included hosting a round-table event, presented by Isobel Klempka, with eminent exhibitors on a proposed future development for the Museum online, which will help collectors produce displays and exhibits.

This was very well received and if you want to hear more on this, go to their website and sign-up to their Newsletter for more information. Marcus and I also took our virtual webinar series, Adventures In Philately, which we present in conjunction with Stamp Collector Magazine and All About Stamps website editor Matt Hill, and delivered an episode titled; “How Collectors have Changed our Hobby”. We were also on hand to meet award winning philatelists to discuss the benefits of including their collections within the Museum and it was exciting to receive a number of commitments which will be added to the unique platform over the coming months.

Whilst there were many other incidents during the show and of course at the post event refreshments and replenishments, the overriding news was that traditional forms of business are alive and well and if anything with a heightened vibrancy and certainly more eager than they were pre restrictions. As is the way with life, often you don’t realise how precious something is until you are deprived of it. Physical shows and exhibits being no exception. It does make you resolve to make the most of every opportunity that arises in the future. The next being our auctions next week. Hopefully we will see you there, or at the very least interact with you then!