Story of a Stamp Dealer (Chapter 11)

The Story of a Stamp Dealer


It wasn’t long before we went up in the world doing two day shows, starting in York at the racecourse, boy did we feel important, as well as scared. Our first York show was in January and it was the coldest I had ever known, the air seemed to remove your skin as you got out of the car!

Mark Jarmain, who ran the show had not organised heating, and despite coat, gloves and scarves we were freezing. There was, as you can imagine, mutiny in the air, Mark organised some industrial heaters that looked like rockets and terrified everyone.

It was not a great show for us, unlike the next one in the Autumn, when we had three main customers in the first hour, after that though it was an anti-climax. I can still remember one RAF collector going through 100 or so rare covers. He handed me about 10, which I was delighted to sell, but no they were the ones he did not want, he bought the 90 plus that were remaining!

We were then invited to join the UK Travelling Circus, a group of top dealers who organised 2 day shows but that’s another story…



Our first UK Travelling Circus exhibition was in Plymouth and we went in style. I booked us a car train overnight sleeper and arrived about 6am so we thought we would be the first, but no, Martin and Pearl Townsend were already there. You obviously had to get up very early in the morning to get there before them.

Covers were of course our main business but we did have a stamp shop and a good stamp side. The vultures descended on us early, getting their bargains and laughing at us behind our backs or boasting to our faces. I could never understand this stupidity, firstly its very rude and also bad business. I never once bought a single bargain cover, I preferred to buy a few extra covers so the dealer didn’t realise what I really wanted, after all he might have another one another day.

At the end of the two days we drove back, as all were going back the long way, M5 then M4, living in Folkestone we thought the coast road made more sense. I didn’t drive at the time so Cath drove for 8 hours, it was totally stupid and we were lucky to get back full stop!

We did a number of these shows, including one at Bath where we had a superb show, apparently taking more than the rest combined. However, we shocked all of the other dealers by dropping out of them after the Bath success, it was interfering with our business, taking 4 days out of the office plus preparation time.



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