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It's the economy.

The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries.

Whatever the stock market does this week, whatever the latest 
economic figures show, many of us are uneasy about the 
economy -- and, in particular, about OUR part of the economy. 
Are our jobs secure? Is our net worth still as good?

When times are tough, or there's a fear that times are going 
to be tough, luxuries like hobbies tend to be put aside.  But 
not always:

Stamp collecting had one of its greatest booms during the 
Great Depression. That's because stamp collecting doesn't have 
to be expensive. Most of us got our start by keeping the 
stamps that came on our mail, and you can still do that. Or 
you can buy what's called "mixtures" -- more stamps that came 
off the mail.

There are lots of other bargains in stamp collecting, like 
partial collections, complete with albums, where you get a 
head-start on filling in the spaces.

As with any investment, the good stuff generally keeps its 
value, and often more. But the cheap stuff may be the most 
fun...especially in tough times.

And that's stamp collecting this week. 

I'm Lloyd de Vries, CBS News.

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