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Recovery mode

Stamps help collector mend after surgery

Man with glasses in pink shirt
Richard Sossi displays invitations to the recent Sharks and Disney Villains stamp dedication ceremonies.

Stamps have helped Richard Sossi throughout life’s ups and downs.

The Stevensville, MD, resident has served in the Navy, run a small business and served two terms in his state’s legislature.

Last year, when Sossi had surgery to remove a brain tumor, philately became part of his recovery process.

“I purchased many stamps just before and just after the surgery — almost all by mail,” he said. “I spent a month in the hospital and had quite a few new stamps waiting for me.”

Sossi, who earned a Boy Scout merit badge for stamp collecting, has about 25,000 stamps.

He has donated many to philatelic groups, including an accumulation of British stamps valued at $5,000, and he enjoys helping older people determine the value of their collections.

Sossi has traveled to many philatelic expos through the years in search of his favorite stamps, including Chinese and Japanese offerings.

“The most valuable stamps are the ones that were so expensive only a few people got them or the ones with printing mistakes,” he said.

Sossi still thinks about the ones that got away — a set of Zeppelin airmail stamps that he passed on purchasing during the 1970s. The stamps now sell for about $1,500.

“I could have bought them for $100,” he said.

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