Herman Herst, Jr.
Herman "Pat" Herst, Jr.
We’ll start of by saying, if you have never read Nassau Street, a wonderful book by Herman Herst, Jr., published in 1960, then you have missed one of the great joys of collecting stamps. Written by “Pat” (thus nicknamed because he was born on St. Patrick’s Day), it is Herst’s own story from fl edgling part-time stamp dealer while employed as a bond runner on Wall Street in 1932, to full-time dealer on New York’s Nassau Street in the heart of the world’s leading stamp center. It is a very readable” book—and its sale of nearly 100,000 copies over numerous printings in the 1960s easily made Herst the most famous stamp dealer in the world.
But Pat Herst was a different sort of successful stamp dealer—a man so devoted to his customers that he would answer every letter, order or inquiry that came in the mail on the very same day on which he received them! Specializing in United States stamps and postal history—and always willing to admit that he learned his craft at the knees of such historic dealer fi gures as George B. Sloane, Percy Doane, Gus and Arthur Berger—Herst’s unique business services included retail sales, mail and public auctions, and most famous of all, Herst’s Ourbursts, a regularly-published house organ he published for more than 40 years. Along the way, he wrote several other books, two of which were direct followups to Nassau Street—and also bestsellers.
Pat Herst was—until the day he passed away over ten years ago—not only the hobby’s greatest storyteller, but also its Number One Cheerleader. He wrote articles and columns in nearly every American stamp periodical and spread “the gospel” of philately wherever and whenever he could. He was also a lifelong member of the ASDA and one of its early supporters. In his heyday, which would have been the period of the 1930s-50s, he had a booth at nearly every major stamp show in the country—from Oklahoma and Texas, to New England and Southern California. His many, many friends were legion.