I am very pleased to talk about this year, which is soon coming to an end.
Even if you are not in an exuberating euphoria, you must describe it as “remarkable” or “fantastic”. Naturally not everything was gold in 2006 which was shiny but it would be most ungrateful, if one would expect and hope for from one year more than this.
If you have for several years more demand than offers, so this fact is true practically for all Classic Swiss issues. As always, I am talking here exclusively about the classic Swiss stamps from the beginning 1843 up to 1870. There are new clients again, who do not only look at the most expensive Cantonal stamps either on cover or off cover but who also wish to buy them. We could notice especially in this top capital market a certain restraint, which is not there anymore or which has certainly diminished. If we do not get an overflow of material on next year’s market, the situation will remain the same because the market trends are excellent and promise to be excellent. The salaries in Switzerland are going up, inflation is as before very low and the fear for losing one’s job has disappeared.
In whole Europe it is handled differently but it comes to the same result.
And in the United States of America people still make a lot of money and
what more important, they also spend a lot of money. One dare not think what would happen, if there would be new markets opening in Arabian or Asian countries for Classic Swiss stamps.
The positive outcome ( thinking) of such a truly realistic and well imagined perspective, would not be the inevitable price boom but rather to come the realistic recognition that our classic Swiss stamps signify a limited “product” of our country, which cannot be reproduced in contrast with new issues, which is the most important difference between classic Swiss stamps and New Issues of Switzerland. To put this understanding among new as long year collectors new into their conscience would be perhaps also one way to realize afresh the essence of stamp collecting which is not primarily to aim for a rise in value but the pleasure to joy collecting which is completely detached from any financial aspect .Exactly like somebody enjoying looking at a painting independent from the fact whether he spent a lot or little money for this picture.
As a dealer one often sees that collectors, who sell their collection
because of old age, sell it because they have nobody to leave the collection to and absolutely nobody is interested in it. Naturally the traders live of this fact that a collection is returning into stock and keeps them busy. But it would more often be worth more to all concerned, if the collector had found a suitable successor who would also be ready to continue completing the collection. One regrets that most collectors “wait” for decades until a son or grand son shows some interest in the collection and tells him that he has great interest to keep the collection going. This does not happen very often for several reasons. It’s a great pity. Often the successor lacks motivation. These people have often seen the original collector retreating into his private locked rooms for hours which seems odd and strange to them and connect collecting with something totally boring, no fun and no joy. To do something together, to share the joy and slowly to teach the successor is here certainly lost. It would have been easy to hand over the collection and explain to him what he could do with it or shape the collection to his own liking. Once you miss the opportunity, you cannot repair it. By shutting yourself away, you excluded the successor and although you try later to win him over to collecting, it will be too late. A shame, another person lost for the hobby.
To answer the question how one could tackle this problem in a more skilful way, I would like to recall my idea to collect birthday collections or to collect everything which reminds you of your home, your birthplace, your town or your region. In the first instance you gather everything with the birthday date of your future successor. You will start to get as many pieces with the same month, or the same day of his birthday. After a few years this collection will already be an ideal start for the person you have selected because he or she can see that was a reason to collect stamps in this way and they feel being involved and do not find only stamps in an album which have no meaning for them. They recognize suddenly that this is a personal collection and that nobody else will have a similar collection. It really shows that you cared for them. You can form such a birthday collection with very reasonable stamps and covers but also with very expensive stamps. You can use very inexpensive perforated values of the Sitting Helvetia and a few Stubels without selecting any of the really expensive cantonal covers.
Such a small specialized collection presents in all rules an ideal invitation for the successor to take over the whole collection which may be very extensive. The successor will have a completely different relation toward this collection because he has a personal relation toward it. And that is so important today. If a person has no personal relation to a hobby, he will never understand it and will push it away.
The situation is very similar with birthplace, or home collections. Here a postmark of his birthplace, his region or a Canton will attract his attention. This has the advantage that you need not buy expensive issues of Cantons because they did not exist in his area. Therefore you do not have the obligation to complete such a collection but you simply show him/her what you found in your collecting career. In this way he will be much more satisfied and realize how difficult and interesting it is to keep looking for such pieces. You can see that you can fascinate him with such a collection, whether it is his home area, or an area he knows well from his holidays. If you achieve to get him involved and raise a certain interest in him, it will be natural that he will wish to continue your work. If you like, we can easily help you to build up such specialized personal collections. Just let us know what you have in mind and we can offer you without obligation suitable material.
If you reflect on such a year, which was in a way unique, then it is not
done without feeling very grateful. First of all we feel obligated towards
you, our dear clients, Ladies and Gentlemen. Here I would like to point out
that we have a great number of ladies collecting. Without following you all
up regularly and often, it would not be the same and neither of us would
come to the same result. I hope that you were happy about your purchases and I will promise to endeavor finding more of your specialties and make it as absolute duties.
But I would like to thank also this year all members of my family and relatives, who help me during the year or to send out the catalogue. Last but in no way least I would like to thank my son Markus, who can already replace my place in the business up to hundred percent and who manages of course the internet much better than I will ever do . He is editing and writing up the catalogue entirely by himself and handles all internet communications promptly. You know that the quickest way to secure a piece of the catalogue, is to order it online www.ghonegger.ch
I would like to wish you all a successful New Year and hope that I can assist you also in 2007.
Schmerikon, 20th December 2006