Sandafayre’s offices are located on a business park, where we rub shoulders with over 100 other firms. Our nearest neighbour manufactures hi-tech valves for the oil industry and the owner is a collector, but not of stamps. From our window we can see his Harrier Jump-jet fighter plane and his WWI armoured Rolls Royce complete with gun turret. Apparently his car collection is immense; he is after all an engineer and from time to time one of his huge steam traction engines huffs, puffs and whistles its way past.
Unusually for the UK we have been open this week unlike most of our neighbours so the hush of the silent estate has been rather odd. The atmosphere has felt somewhat subdued; we are receiving calls from clients grateful for the distraction of their hobby and able to spend time with our latest catalogue. There are also calls and emails from people getting around to selling their inherited collections, but still there is peace in the air.
The stamp room is busy; if we don’t work this week then our February sale will be very slim. Looking round I see some nice Australia with lovely £1 and £2 Kangaroos, specialized Belgium with classics and proofs, a messy Zululand accumulation, a fabulous Spain collection being carefully split down by issues, some 19th Century USA, a collection of Rhodesian postmarks, and a carton of mint stamps in little glassine packets. Stamps are being held to the light, descriptions tapped out on keyboards, a colleague hunts for a misplaced reference book from our library whilst another pair are having a heated discussion about the particular shade of a stamp (I daren’t ask as I might be roped into the debate and I must write this first…)
Even with all this activity the ease of our commutes and the silence of the roads around us have left us in no doubt that the country is largely on holiday and things have certainly felt a little easier and relaxed this week. Jobs long put aside have been completed; correspondence caught up with; oddball items researched, desks tidied ready for the New Year.
This certainly feels like a time for taking stock (rather than stock- taking) so as well as wishing you all a happy and healthy 2017 the guys in the Sandafayre Stamp Team would also like to wish you a few peaceful hours with your hobby. For many of us the only moments of contented and focused thinking are those times when we sit down with our stamps and for a few hours (which do rush by) we can enjoy something for the sheer pleasure of it – a pleasure which often stretches back to our childhood. Forget meditation, given the opportunity we stamp collectors can find all the relaxation we need in our albums with the added blessing of not having to find room for an ex RAF jet fighter!