Story of a Stamp Dealer (Chapter 7)


We rented a shop, well stand, in the Hythe Malthouse I mentioned in Chapter 6, but it was rapidly going downhill by the time we arrived, so we bought a shop at 53a High Street.

The Bank Manager backed us, apparently against the advice of head office and we backed ourselves to succeed in the new premises. It was only shortly after that we were offered the chance to buy out a big rival, ‘Pilgrim Philatelics.’

We eventually agreed to pay about three times more than originally expected, mainly because the stock was so big. We were so frightened that night that myself and Cath both ended up walking the streets of Folkestone separately in an attempt to clear our minds. Ironically we both came to the conclusion that we could sell our house and move into a cottage in Sandgate (the same one.)

We conclude that if that was the worst that could happen then it wasn’t that bad, so we just ploughed on and were working in the office by 4am!

I saw the Bank Manager to update him and he told me he didn’t want to to know, “just make it work.” He had had enough trouble getting the mortgage for the shop to be signed off and didn’t want to hear of anything that might come back at him from head office.


We did have another BIG problem in 1976, the heat! We couldn’t work most of the day so we got up and worked from 6am till 10am, then we manned the phone lying in the sun till 4pm, then went back to working inside till late.

Friends thought we had a dream job sun bathing all day, not realising the hours we put in out of sight.

By buying our ‘Pilgrim Philatelics’ it gave us a stand at STAMPEX, another frightening experience but I’ll focus on that in a later chapter.

Later in 1976 we rented offices in Hythe and officially completed our journey from amateur to professional, buying Pilgrim might have been a real scare but it is without doubt one of the best things we ever did.

The buy made us the biggest cover dealers in Great Britain and started us out in the business of producing official covers.


By Tony Buckingham

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