When my dad was a kid he started collecting coins, but it was a fruitless endeavour because his sister kept nicking them. He therefore decided he need to collect something that could not be used to buy sweets. His uncle then showed him his stamp collection, and that started the ball rolling. Dad has been a stamp collector ever since.
A while ago my dad's friend introduced him to ebay, and now it is frequently my job to go online at inconvenient times in the day to bid on stamp sheets that he is missing. My only respite is when Stampex comes around.
The four-day exhibition takes place twice a year at the Business Design Centre in Islington and is the gathering place of all stamp aficionados. The spring event takes place between the 20th-23rd February and my dad will be on the prowl for any new smiler sheets, but you can also buy cover sheets and old individual stamps. There will be over a hundred dealers from the UK, USA, and Australia, all of whom are members of the Philatelic Traders Society. There will also be a Royal Mail Stand who will be featuring a series of Jane Austin stamps to mark the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice.
On the Mezzanine floor you will be able to buy stamp frames, look at documents, see the 'Cinderella' stamp display, and attend seminars. Any budding young stamp collectors will also be able to take part in a number of free, fun activities, while on Saturday, there will be an auction.
Admission to Stampex is free and comes with a complementary catalogue. Also, the first 7500 visitors will get a free exclusive collector's postcard at the door.
The Autumn Stampex will be between the 18th-21st September.