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Trains, Inverted Planes and a Lifetime of Stamps

New Hyde Park stamp dealer Bruce Hecht has been doing what he loves since 1976.

For many, it’s hard to say that they have a job they truly love. For Bruce Hecht, he claims he hasn’t worked a day in his life.

Hecht’s love of stamp collecting started when he was given his first album at 8 years old. He continued to collect, and started doing it as a part time job when he was 18. His other job was in the textile business until one day in 1975.

“I woke up and thought, ‘There’s got to be something else’,” he said.

In 1976 he switched to being a full time stamp dealer, and hasn’t changed since.

One of the perks Hecht loves is the fact that he is his own boss.

“It’s great to be in your own business,” he said. “You don’t have to answer to someone else, and there’s no one looking over your shoulder. But if you don’t do the job, it doesn’t get done.”

This mentality is what has kept Hecht’s business going, despite the changing economy. He’s had to change the quantity and price to give customers a better bargain and sometimes work into late nights and weekends, but it doesn’t really bother him because he doesn’t really consider it work.

He also tends to sell pieces as collections rather than individual stamps.

“They’re easier to sell,” he said. “The individual stamp is nice to have because it’s rare, but the customer is just as rare.”

What Hecht loves so much about his trade is collecting to unlock doors to reach other dealers. Through reaching these other dealers, he’s had his fair share of odd encounters. “If I ever wrote a book about some of the people I’ve met, It would have to be written as fiction,” he said. “Because no one would believe me.”

One of his experiences even brought him close to the infamous “Inverted Jenny” stamp, which came from a series produced in 1918 depicting a plane with a red frame and a blue vignette. In one pane of 100, there was a misprint where the border was upside-down in relation to the plane.

This sheet became extremely valuable and had been passed down until one collector broke up the 100 into individual stamps.

About 12 years ago while helping one client, Hecht was able to find one of those stamps for $62,000, which he says was a good price. The client, however, decided last minute not to close the deal. Today Hecht says that the stamp would sell for a quarter of a million dollars, minimum.

Today Hecht works out of an office and through house calls, specializing in Canal Zone, U.N. and train stamps as well as those from the United States and worldwide. His job is his passion, which he can’t imagine himself ever leaving. “Since I don’t see it as work I can’t see myself retiring,” he said. “I’ll probably croak before that happens, I enjoy it that much.”

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