Buss, PhD, Professor of Public Policy and Management, and Fellow at National Academy of Public Administration, said he began collecting stamps when he was 8-9 years old. He wanted to collect as many stamps as possible simply because he wanted to have a badge.
Later, collecting stamps became a hobby and then a passion. Collecting stamps has relations with his job now and he considers it a profession.
He has been to 50 countries where he collected stamps which allowed him to learn about the countries, see the history of nations, and find out what is important for the locals. When holding stamps in his hands, he can feel the art and the culture of the countries. This is different from findings from newspapers, books or mass media.
He once worked for three years in Hungary and found stamps hundreds of years old. He visited a hospital for the elderly and met people who put these stamps on envelopes. There were patients over 100 years old who were members of the cavalry of the Hungarian army who appeared on the stamps.
Buss said he usually went to flea markets because he knew many people sold their collections there. There was a flea market in Paris where there was no other product sold except for stamps. Many elderly stamp collectors gathered there. If they needed money, they thought of selling their collections. Some of them were veteran collectors of 50-60 years. Buss felt happy as he could buy precious stamps at very reasonable prices there.
“I never haggled about prices, because I understood that the people who had to sell their collections really needed money,” he said.
In many cases, he even paid more than required, not just for the stamps but also the stories of the collectors.
Collecting stamps, for Buss, is an interesting job because it makes him feel as if he is a detective. He has an album with stamps issued starting from the German empire to the present, but he could not find stamps issued in 1870.
Buss said he spent many years and went to many places in the world to look for this stamp. He visited clubs of philatelists, flea markets, and stamp shops and asked anyone he thought could give him some information about the stamp.
He even asked people if they sent letters to their friends in their youth and asked if they had seen the stamp. Finally, he found the stamp and bought it, not in Germany, but in Hungary.
Such stamps are invaluable. The costs he had to spend to own the stamps are much higher than their value. Sometimes he met people who had stamps, but they didn’t want to sell. Buss had to spend a lot of money to acquire the stamps he wanted.
When talking with VietNamNet reporters, Buss mentioned his collection of Vietnam’s stamps which still lacks two stamps. He has been looking for them for more than 10 years, but has not found them yet.
He said Vietnam has special stamps that no other country in the world has. For example, stamps with images of Uncle Ho printed on ‘giay do’ (do paper) and ‘tem thoc’, stamps with prices calculated in rice.
At that time, Vietnamese stamps did not have a layer of glue on the back like now. To put stamps on envelopes, people often used rice instead of glue.
In comparison with other countries, in Vietnam there are not many stamp collectors and traders. Collectors just meet and exchange stamps with each other.
Buss and his wife, a Vietnamese woman, began collecting Vietnam’s stamps 10 years ago. At first, they bought everything they could purchase, starting from the first set of stamps issued by the government of Vietnam in 1946. Later, they bought stamps in every new issuance campaign.
They mostly go to the shop of a stamp company on Tran Hung Dao street, where they meet stamp collectors from China, France and the US.
Source : VietnamNet