Louis K. Robbins

Louis K. Robbins

Herman Toaspern was, in his heyday in the 1920s-1930s, one of the hobby's best known dealers. His shop in New York City, even before he moved from one of the side streets to the bigtime of Fifth Avenue, was a place where one could fi nd, on a regular basis, the greatest names in philately. Little did those greats of the Roarin' Twenties realize that, right there in their midst, was a future "great" of our hobby who was spending his Saturdays working in "Toasty" Toaspern's shop.

That young stamp enthusiast was Louis K. Robbins, even in his youth a philatelist with a decidedly commercial bent.

After being waylaid for a while with a career and family, Lou became a fulltime dealer and auction agent (and member of the ASDA) in 1952 when he founded Louis K. Robbins, Inc. By the mid-1960s, Robbins’ firm was fully established as one of the key auction businesses in the New York area. His original firm, together with the more recent Robbins Auctions, Inc., had offices on West 42nd Street, and was conducting auctions of growing importance in the fi eld of philatelic literature.

And so....the story of what many have called the greatest dealer in philatelic literature ever to ply the trade was about to begin.

Lou Robbins’ attention was drawn to the growing importance of the hobby’s great wellspring of literature. Realizing that philatelic books, periodicals and all kinds of printed matter, ephemera and memorabilia were being pursued, at higher and higher prices, by the most respected philatelists, Robbins became the world ranking expert in this specialized field—an expert of such magnitude that literature enthusiasts and even libraries were beating a path to his door. His huge auctions of major philatelic libraries and holdings have become legendary.

In these pages recently, columnist and dealer James Lee recounted how, upon Robbins’ retirement, he was privileged to have been able to purchase Lou’s vast literature stock. Dealers like Lee, as well as the collectors privileged enough to own material from the Robbins holdings, will for years to come stand in awe of this great contributor to our dealer fraternity.