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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

London, a city with 26 days of stamp shows every year

I just came back from London STAMPEX where I had a Stand. It's a four day show in North London (nearest rail stations: Euston, St Pancras and Kings Cross) and happens twice a year.

London also hosts London PHILATEX, a three day show held twice a year in South London (nearest station Victoria)

Once a month, the mis-named Strand Stamp Fair takes place in a Central London hotel off Russell Square (nearest stations: Euston, St Pancras, Kings Cross)

The first two shows are held in very pleasant exhibition halls but with poor access for dealers to unload their stock. Neither exhibition hall has its own dedicated parking and the available local parking is expensive, as - of course - are London hotels.

The Strand Fair, held in the Royal National Hotel, has easy access for unloading and (by London standards) relatively cheap on site parking. The room in which it is held is acceptable and there is a good and cheap on-site restaurant.

The big problem is this: for all but a very few specialist GB and Commonwealth dealers and a very few dedicated and well-off collectors, 26 days of London shows is just too much. Dealers are stretched to find new stock at the rate demanded by the exhibition schedule and all but a few collectors are stretched to fund buying trips to London for more than one or two of the shows. Smaller dealers atttending these big shows are probably now often going away having made a loss, as I did at Stampex last week. The number of visitors coming through the door is pitifully small.

As someone who is going to get older every year and beginning to reduce my level of activity, especially unprofitable activity, it's a no-brainer: I am saying Good Bye to STAMPEX and PHILATEX, at least until such time as the four shows reduce to two - or, alternatively, until such time as one or two of the four shows relocates to Birmingham or Manchester or Cheltenham or Warwick.

I will stick with the Strand Stamp Fair, which is a cheaper day out. Even then, it involves getting up before 5 in the morning in order to get into Central London before the rush hour. But maybe with the elimination of unprofitable STAMPEX and PHILATEX, I can now afford to travel up to London the night before and stay in a hotel :)

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