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Stamp Show Aims to Get Younger Audiences Stuck on Hobby

By Mathew Katz | April 11, 2013 8:45am

HELL'S KITCHEN — This stamp show wants to get a whole new generation of collectors stuck on the hobby.

The ASDA Spring Postage Stamp Show, which runs from April 11 to 14, invites both experienced collectors and a younger generation of newbies to the New Yorker Hotel to check out thousands of stamps.

The traveling show is also inviting visitors to bring old books of stamps from their garage or attic to find out if they're worth some serious cash

"We were in Chicago and we had someone bring in a half-dozen stamps that ended up being worth $25,000," said Kim Kellerman, a stamp dealer with the Rasdale Stamp Company, "We have people come in all the time with books they found upstairs, and they turn out to be worth something."

The show, put on by the American Stamp Dealers Association, is a paradise for experienced philatelists — also known as stamp collectors — with some of the country's most famous and valuable stamps will be on display. Among the highlights are a $60,000 Special Printing stamp, a 1978 2 Cent Pan American Invert stamp worth $46,000 and the first postal stamp ever printed, made in 1847 with a picture of Benjamin Franklin.

But the show also hopes to draw in a younger, less experienced crowd with a recently launched social media campaign, The Stamp Love, aimed at raising the image of stamp collecting in a digital world.

The association has tapped a few surprising celebrity stamp collectors, like tennis star Maria Sharapova and actor Patrick Dempsey, to raise awareness of the historical, artistic, and other

"Any stamp is a work of art, and they're for everyone," said Amy Nicklaus, the ASDA's executive director. "It doesn't matter if you like 'The Simpsons' or 'Harry Potter' or French scientists, there's stamps for you."

Nicklaus also hoped to recruit more families interested in stamp collecting at the show, stressing the hobby's value as a way to make family time.

"In a time where we're losing so much, we need to get back that family time," said Nicklaus.

"Stamps are something with value that we can pass on."

Nicklaus and others at the show admitted that stamp collecting faces a dismal future, particularly with the rise of email and continued cost-cutting at the United States Postal Service. Nicklaus' campaign aims to make stamp collecting both cool and easy.

"We want new collectors to come in here and see the value of what we do," she said.

The ASDA Spring Postage Stamp Show runs from April 11 to 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the second floor of the New Yorker Hotel, 481 Eighth Ave.