i have been collecting registered labels since my first visit to a stamp show. it is intimidating walking around a stamp show. it’s a world unto itself of mostly men, old men. after each visit, i take away that i am getting older and i don’t like it much. of course it is not all old men. there are some women, and some children who are starting out with their stamp collections. but by and large, it is men. i think i have mentioned how many dealers call out and ask if they can help you: “what do you collect?” i rarely engaged with them in the beginning since i didn’t collect stamps and certainly didn’t know the terms or categories of collecting. i stumbled upon these at a new york stamp fair. i was looking at the rows of envelopes. i soon learned these letters were called covers. all categorized by country. i thought if i looked through different countries, i might find stamps designed by piet zwart or paul schitema. i dreamed of finding a letter or envelope addressed by them. in twenty years of attending these fairs, i have never found such a letter. the closest i have come is a letter from gerald murphy, the painter and one-time owner of mark cross leather goods. sadly, neither he nor the company is around any longer. the dealer i finally sat down in front of was michael mead of maine. though i think he now lives on cap cod. in any case, mr. mead asked what i was interested in. since i was not a stamp collector, i was a bit embarssed. i told him i loved interesting typography and collections of collections. he pulled out a binder with dozens upon dozens of interesting labels. all kinds. airmails. express. revenue stamps. and these wonderful registered labels. hundreds of them. just about everything you could image, even some matchbook labels. he explained that these were german registered labels and were removed by soaking them in water. “off cover” is the common term when describing these labels. i have too many of them to count but i fell in love with the different “r” being used, the line weights; the variety added such interest. of course i began collecting these that instant. mr. mead now knows me and is happy to add to my collection. i may not attend every show but when i do take one in, i make sure i visit his booth.