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Stamps and collectibles show held in Clayton

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CLAYTON — Collecting stamps — once called the “hobby of kings”— may have lost its throne to video games, television and web surfing, but it remains a lifelong passion for many.

At Saturday’s annual Thousand Islands Stamp, Coin, Postcard, Jewelry, Gem and Collectibles Show, about 32 vendors brought thousands of items of the past from all over the world to the Cerow Recreation Park Arena.

“I started collecting stamps when I was 10 as a hobby,” said Al Greco, Rochester.

Now, some 40 years later, he said he carries stamps and postcards from every country.

Harry Tong, who travels throughout the eastern U.S. with his collection of 1840s to 1950s stamps and postcards, said there’s no right or wrong way of collecting stamps.

Some people collect stamps of a certain color, others collect stamps by topics or type.

A lot of trade occurs online these days, but coming to a collectibles show and assessing the item of interest in person is often the best way to go, Mr. Tong said.

“You come to a show like this, you can see it, you can touch it and you can talk to the guy selling it,” he said.

Organizer George A. Mingle, Cape Vincent, said the annual show used to be a two-day event that attracted up to 70 vendors to the Clayton’s Recreation Park Arena.

However, there has been a steady decline in foot traffic and participating vendors over the years and the show was scaled back to a single-day event this year.

“A lot of the older dealers are dying or retiring,” said P. Hans Tanner of Geneseo.

But Mr. Tanner still carries boxes of postcards to shows all over the state, putting on display area-specific items for history buffs to browse through.

Mr. Tanner, 81, said he has been participating in the show every year since the inaugural 1977 show and he plans to come back next year.




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