Rare passion for collecting: a skeptical view of the future

Rare passion for collecting: a skeptical view of the future

For a brief moment, klaus apitz pulls away. His hand has barely moved a few centimeters forward when it jerks back the bridged distance again. "Oh, maybe I'd better get a pair of tweezers", he says and makes his way to the next room. With the silver auxiliary device, he finally dares to pull the stamp – which is more like a postcard – out of the album's gossamer plastic flap: raffael's world-famous "sistine madonna.
Whereas the two red-winged angels at the bottom of the picture, as an independent motif, may well be somewhat better known than the original oil painting, which can be admired in the dresden gallery of paintings. The value: inestimable.

Anchored in the subconscious

apitz's stamp version, on the other hand, is already available for less than seven euros on the online auction house ebay. As a fixed price. But the 72-year-old still didn't want to touch the stamp with his bare fingers. "In that case it might not be so bad now", he says. "But if you accidentally smear ink from a stamp onto a stamp with your finger, it immediately loses its value."
furthermore, in the course of numerous years as a collector, the precautionary removal is probably firmly anchored in the subconscious at some point in time. And the former elementary and high school teacher has not only accumulated a good number of years, but also ten albums with more than 12,000 stamps and historical postcards from his home town of kups.

Lucrative exchange rate

now, a gray-haired 72-year-old with rimless glasses on his nose and a green sweater over his white polo shirt is sitting in front of the inconspicuous gray-brown album. The klaus apitz who first picked up a stamp album looked very different. Especially young. In fact, it was so long ago that he can't really remember when it all began. "That must have been when I was a teenager, something between 15 and 20", he says.
But kupser still knows exactly what the passion for collecting has brought forth: stamps from the GDR. "In the west, you couldn't buy them until a quarter after they came out, but i had an uncle who always sent me the latest ones. These could then be exchanged 1:1 for westmarken", apitz remembers and has to smile.

A nice side effect

for him, it was a logical step to join a suitable club in order to share his newly acquired passion for collecting with like-minded people and to have potential exchange partners. In the meantime, apitz is one of only 35 members left of the stamp collectors club kronach. 20 years ago, there were twice as many of them. "Our youngest members are around 50. The club is slowly dying out", apitz suspects in view of the average age, which is approaching 70.
Younger members are not known to him. A few years ago, a ten-year-old boy was there with his father. "But then they did not come back." which is a pity. After all, it is a hobby that calms the mind. "It is not for nothing that many teachers, lawyers or doctors have collected", jokes the 72-year-old. And there's the nice side effect that general education is improving. At least, if the collector is also concerned with the era from which his stamps originate.

Contacts in other countries

be it now for otto normal collectors unaffordable like from the german empire or from the poland of the younger past – like apitz collects them. "That are expenses 50 to 100 euros a year. You can do that quite well", he says. By exchanging and selling with other collectors, new contacts were made in other countries. To get young people collecting again, the post office needed more stamps with current motifs, says apitz: "I would say that I have a pretty rough general knowledge, but I don't know many of the people on the stamps that were issued anymore either." it's a good thing that there are now stamps with cars or asterix motifs on them.
Whether this will help permanently? Klaus bacher, the club's chairman, has no illusions about the medium-term future of his club: "it really is a dying hobby."

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