About Me

Back on Christmas day 1974, I received my first stamp album. It was a Minkus World Wide album. My uncle Frank was a collector and got me started. He was retired and was working part time at the Minkus stand in our local Gimbles. I was intrigued by these tiny bits of paper from all over the world. The U.S. was starting to celebrate the Bicentennial and I was thrilled with the setenant issues that were being issued at the time (Boston Tea Party, Sprit of '76, Signing of the Declaration of Independence). Another issue that I loved at that time was the Legend of Sleepy Hollow stamp. I used to get approvals from Kenmore Stamp Company and Falcon Stamp Company. I would also get stamps and FDC's from a store called Two Guys. I graduated to the Harris Citation album, which I remember being huge. My problem was I would run out of supplies like hinges and since there wasn't a place to get supplies that was local, I wouldn't be able to work on my stamps for several months at a time. After a while I just kind of lost interest.

Sleepy Hollow Spirit of 76
Some of my favorite stamps when I first started collecting.

Fast forward to 1984. I had just joined the navy and was in the Delayed Entry Program. For some reason a couple months before going to bootcamp I broke out my stamp collection and decided to start again. I bought a new Harris worldwide album because I needed all the stamps from 1978-1983. I realized even though those years were present, when I went to transfer my stamps from the Citation album, many stamps that were in that album did not appear in my new album. I wound up combining the two albums together. I wound up going to Great Lakes, IL for bootcamp in May of 1984 and my collection was once again put on hold.

When I joined the Navy I was unsure of what job I wanted to do. They offered me a Seaman Apprenticeship. They told me that you can try many different jobs and then choose which one I liked. Little did I know that most people who join this program actually wind up as undesignated and just do all the menial jobs on board the ship. When they do become designated it is usually as a Boatswain's Mate. Now don't get me wrong, Boatswain's Mate is a very honorable profession, and I had many friends who were BM's. Believe me, it was not for me. Obviously, I was pretty upset when I found out my situation when I was in bootcamp. During the last week of bootcamp they had everyone in the Seaman Apprenticeship program fill out a "wish list" of jobs they would like to do. After listing about six different jobs, I just started putting anything down. When I got to the 10th job, I looked down the list and saw Postal Clerk. I said to myself, I used to collect stamps, I'll put that down. Well, guess what job I wound up being assigned to? Is that your final answer? That's right, I got Postal Clerk. I was a bit disappointed but it was better than the alternative.

USS Hoel (DDG-13)
PC Rating Badge
Hoel Insignia

USS Hoel(DDG-13)

Postal Clerk (PC) Rating Badge

USS Hoel Insignia

After bootcamp, I was sent to Postal Clerk "A" school at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana. After graduating a month later, I was stationed aboard the USS Hoel(DDG-13). I didn't really think about my collection much for a couple of years. Then in 1986, I was doing what most sailors who don't have hobbies do. I would go out every night until I ran out of money and then would have to hang out on the ship, bored out of my mind until the next pay day. I realized that I needed to do something more valuable with my time. I decided that I should start collecting stamps again. Now the USS Hoel is known as a "Tin Can". There really is not much room for personal belongings. Being the Postal Clerk on the ship, I was lucky enough to have a small private office. While I didn't have room to keep an album, I decided to start buying kiloware, packets and collections. I would soak the kiloware, dry it then sort out the stamps by country in envelopes. Once the envelope filled up, I put it in a box. Once the box filled up, I mailed it home to my parents. Also at that time I started to subscribe to Linn's Stamp News and became a member of the American Philatelic Society (APS). I spent many hours reading about the hobby and learning as much as I could. When I finally got out of the Navy and came home, I did not need to purchase another stamp for about four years (although of course I did).

Cover I created for my Dad for the Hoel's 25th anniversary

I collected pretty steadily up until 1996. That year I got married in January and in May I was diagnosed with Stage IIIB Hodgkin's Disease. After 9 months of Chemo, I was declared in remission. I didn't get back into collecting right away and in 1998 my wife and I had a little baby girl. We were living in a two bedroom apartment at the time and we had to convert the 2nd bedroom into a real bedroom. So my collection was packed up and put in storage for a few years. A couple months after my daughter was born, I was again diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease and had to have a Bone Marrow Transplant at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. That wiped me out for while and it wasn't until the year 2000 that I broke out the collection again. My original intention was to just concentrate on used United States. Well anyone who knows me would know that for me that would be impossible. I got back into worldwide collecting again. I concentrate on U.S., Great Britain and Canada. I then collect Scandinavia, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and then worldwide. I also started collecting First Day Covers of stamps that were issued on my Birthdate and the dates of my wife and children. I created a website that shows some interesting items from my collection.

We had moved to a house so I now had the room to collect. I have been going pretty strong ever since. I joined the West Essex Philatelic Society (WEPS) that year. I am now the President, Newsletter Editor and Webmaster of that club. Up until recently, I would not get rid of any stamp item that I had. I kept all duplicates and everything I came across. One day, I decided that I should try selling some of my duplicates. I joined a website called Stamporama. I put a couple lots up for sale and someone actually bought them. Instead of feeling anxiety that I was parting with my beloved stamps, I was actually feeling pretty good. I got rid of something I no longer needed and someone got something that they needed for their collection. I was hooked. Eventually, I started to sell on Stamp Wants. I set up a store in 2006, and have been enjoying myself ever since.

My interests outside of philately:

  • Playing guitar and bass
  • Listening to music (mostly heavy Classic Rock - KISS - Alice Cooper - Led Zeppelin - Queen - Ted Nugent - Deep Purple etc.)
  • I'm also a huge Frank Zappa Fan
  • Reading Horror/Fantasy Novels
  • Going to the movies

    Well, hopefully I haven't bored you to death. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
    Bob Parkin - April 2008

    Member of:

    Link to American Philatelic Society
    American Philatelic Society

    Link to American First Day Cover Society
    American First Day Cover Society

    Link to Great Britain Collectors Club
    Great Britain Collectors Club


    My Email: Bob

    My address:
    Robert Parkin
    PO Box 8030
    Glen Ridge, NJ 07028

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