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Memorials, Opportunism. and Stamp Collecting. I'm Lloyd de Vries, and I'll
have that story.

When a major event happens, some stamp collectors take envelopes to their
local post offices to have them canceled with the date of the event. These
are called "event covers" -- a cover in stamp collecting is an envelope. 

Some of these events are happy, such as presidential inaugurations or the
births of children. And some are tragedies, like assassinations -- or

They're legitimate collectibles. They go back at least as far as President
McKinley's assassination in 1901.

Within hours of the space shuttle tragedy, there were Columbia accident
covers on eBay. 

Unlike some types of  memorabilia offered, prices remained reasonable, and
as far as we know, none was removed from sale by eBay....nor were there any
incidents of vigilante-ism -- trolls placing ridiculous bids, in order to
knock real bidders out of the auction, then refusing to pay.

A mission patch -- that's the cloth emblem -- started at $4.95, quickly rose
to ten million dollars, before the seller pulled it, realizing she would
never collect.

eBay and other online auctions such as Yahoo were much tougher on September
11th covers, at first knocking out anything with the phrases "World Trade
Center" or "Ground Zero" and so on. Some 9-11 phrases, in fact, remain

But the nagging question for stamp collectors soon after a tragedy
should items be offered for sale? Strike while the iron is hot? Or wait a
respectable amount of time?

I'm Lloyd de Vries

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