Interview: Patrick Maselis, postage stamps expert - inside the Club de Monte-Carlo

Mr Patrick Maselis is President of the Club de Monte-Carlo de l’Elite de la Philatélie, the most prestigious philatelic association in the world.

Mr Maselis is also General Commissioner of MonacoPhil 2009 which opens on Friday 4 December:


1) What are your plans for the Club de Monte Carlo?

"Never change a winning horse". I want to continue the work of my predecessors.

1) Bringing together the most important collections of the world.

2) Organizing world class exhibitions in Monaco

3) Publishing books of academic quality


2) Is there a key aspect of the Monaco stamp show between December 4th and 6th 2009 that you would like everyone to remember?

The most famous stamp exchange ever. 


Click here for details of the most famous stamp exchange ever 


3) What do you collect?

Belgium and colonies.


4) When did you start collecting?

At the age of 3. The boxes of soft cheese (of the Milkana brand) had stamps in them. 

I was fascinated by this and started collecting stamps.


5) Why did you choose the area that you did?

Because I am a 4th generation collector. I continued the collection of my ancestors.


6) Is your collection worth more now than you paid for it and does that matter?

I have no idea. I only hope it doesn't drop too much in value. I don't care. I do not collect for 'money' but for fun! And fun it surely is!


7) What would you say to people to get them excited about collecting?

Stamp collecting = gathering knowledge. 

You learn so much or even incredibly much about the most diverse subjects.

E.g. I have become THE expert on the history of Belgian Colonies, just by collecting the Postal history of these colonies. Incredible, isn't it?


8) In your experience how has the Internet impacted stamp collecting?

Positive. We can now buy stamps worldwide. Makes it much easier to buy new items.


9) Have you noticed any new trends in stamp collecting?

Postal history is on the increase. Cheaper and more diverse than stamp collecting as such.


10) What items do you believe will be harder to collect in the future?

Stamps from countries with a booming economy, like India or China.


11) Do you enjoy meeting other similar collectors in your field and the social events?

The social aspect is maybe the most important aspect of philately. I have made friends all over the world.


12) Who do you think is the greatest collector in history?

I believe Count Ferrari.  He seemed to have it all!


13) Who do you most admire in stamp collecting past or present?

I do admire Mr. William Gross. He is probably the most generous philatelist ever. Which other philatelist has ever donated $18m in 2 years?


14) Is there one item that you wished that you bought at the time?

I wish I bought a Mauritius 'Blue Penny' when it was still affordable. Now it's "out of reach". 


15) What is the most interesting story from your collecting?

I own a letter that determined the history of the Belgian Congo and that is mentioned in all Belgian history books.  When the famous 19th century explorer Stanley had almost crossed Africa from East to West, he got completely out of supplies.

In a state of 'imminent starvation' (his own words) he wrote a letter 'to any gentlemen who speaks English at Emboma'. He sent one of his boys with this letter to the settlement of Emboma.

There, the boy could deliver the letter, and the beneficiary, Mr Motta Veiga sent food for 150 people to Stanley. 

If this letter had not reached Emboma, Stanley would have died, and the Democratic Republic of Congo would never have existed.


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