Seeing the world through stamps

To some people, stamp collecting might seem random, but to Marlin Willoughby…

Marlin Willoughby: It’s a way of seeing the world.

Marlin is the Show Chairman for the Joplin Stamp Club, a group that’s been around since 1933.

Marlin: I started collecting stamps when I was six. My grandmother was a stamp collector. I would spend a week or two with them during the summertime and at night, my kerosene light would be on. She’d say, “What do you want to look at?” and I’d say “Your stamps.” and we’d get her stamps out and play stamps.

Marlin stoped playing stamps when he joined the military in 1970, but when he returned home, he realized his childhood fascination had returned with him.

Marlin: Soon after I came home I got married and when I got married, I also got back into stamp collecting and start accumulating and finding stuff. I had a fairly nice collection that cataloged about $20,000… It was stolen.

Marlin was devastated, but soon he learned collecting is worth more than just the price of a stamp.

Marlin: The thing about stamp dealers is that they’re a special breed as far as I’m concerned. They gathered together, and sold me stuff cheap just to make sure I could reaccumulate my collection. I have a far better collection now than I ever had then, and that’s what started it.

Nowadays, Marlin is all about paying forward.

Marlin: I mean that’s how we encourage our hobby. When I get albums I can’t really sell and a young person comes along, I’m thrilled to give it to them because if I can stir any interest in a young person collecting, that’s just benefitting all of us.