Story of a Stamp Dealer (Chapter 14)
As with everything we did, we did not believe we were ready for STAMPEX. We worked round the clock getting the stock ready, and booked ourselves into the St Ermines, which was the unofficial Stampex HQ. We hired the firemen (still use them, though not necessarily the same ones) to take everything to the Horticultural Halls.
We were up at the crack of dawn walking in the park, ‘what were we doing? We must be mad!’
The show opened at 11am on Tuesday and a dealer called David Mortimer came and spent over £500 on stamps, I have always had a soft spot for him as he steadied our nerves. We scraped on during the day and for us had a reasonable total, but compared with the others, ours was peanuts.
We went out for dinner that evening with a GB dealing couple, they suggested the Cavendish Hotel, which in those days had an excellent restaurant. I can remember swallowing at the wine price, particularly as they ordered two bottles! They had had a fantastic day and what we didn’t realise was that the first day was critical for the elite dealers.
We were very different, we slogged it out everyday and by Saturday evening our overall figure was not bad, we realised we catered for 1000’s of ordinary collectors, rather than a few rich ones.
At times we had 40-50 customers round the stand, it was hectic, but very exciting. We learned how to survive Stampex quickly.
In the lead-up to future Stampex, I shocked the stamp world by placing full page buying advertisements for FDC. I also dropped the stamps to focus on covers and was told again by the ‘knowledgeableold hands’ how stupid I was.
I realised that by placing the ads in magazines just ahead of Stampex that I was guaranteed to have new stock throughout the week. It worked perfectly and I was buying and then selling the same covers within minutes at the stand.
Next Chapter we go Dutch…
By Tony Buckingham
**End of Chapter 14**