(Philippine Journal of Philately, Nov-Dec 1948)
Michael Goldenberg, a wellknown local businessman, became interested in
stamp collecting at a very early age. He was a very young boy and a
classmate of the children of Governor William H. Taft at the
Victoria Grammar School in the Walled City - way back in 1902 when
he started the hobby that was to make of him in later years the
premier stamp collector and dealer of the Philippines.
Since the very beginning he concentrated in collecting Philippine stamps
and although later on he increased the scope of his collections, he
remained faithful to his first choice. His first efforts were
confined to his ambition of having the best collection among the
boys until he figured out that if a stamp is worth, say one peso
each, a hundred of them would be worth one hundred times more. Based
on this simple arithmetic, he saw the possibilities of stamp
collecting as a business sideline of great future, and he started
accumulations which justified the establishment of a regular counter
for stamps in his Department Store, which opened its doors in the
year 1935 and soon became a landmark and an institution in the
decade that preceded World War II. This counter was so popular that
Mr. Goldenberg had to engage the services of two expert stamp
collectors Messrs. Valero and Casado to handle it.
Side by side with his Department Store, the volume of business in the stamp
counter increased constantly. By sales, purchases and exchanges,
what started as a mere sideline was fast becoming a branch almost as
important as the other branches of Mr. Goldenberg's business
activities, and by the time the Pacific hostilities broke out in
1941, his stock of collections and accumulations had a cost value of
a little over one million pesos.
At this time, he had absolute control of the Aguinaldo or Katipunan
stamps of the first Philippine Republic. He was already known as the
"King" of the Legislative stamps. Desiring an ever complete
Philippine collection, he continued purchasing and accumulating new
issues even during the Japanese Occupation, so that when Liberation
came and his building was burned it reduced to ashes a big fortune
in stamps - his stock of Philippine stamps which had no equal in
the world. Having been the first to start sheet collecting, he had
complete sheets of the rarest stamps which in themselves alone
represented an important asset.
Mr. Michael Goldenberg arrived in the Philippines in the year 1895. It is
possible that this would account for his interest in Philippine
stamps which at that time were suffering important changes
concomitant with the political changes that were taking place. It
was certainly one of the reasons why he was able to control the
Aguinaldo and Katipunan issues of which he was justly proud.
However, he was also interested in U. S. collections, French and
French colonies, and he was the envy of those who specialized in
these countries, for they could not equal his collections nor find
the numbers he possessed.
Mr. Goldenberg confessed to us that he considers investment in stamps a
more secure and better-paying savings than a bank account or an
insurance policy. He has seen stamps worth a few cents go up a
thousand times in value within a few years. No wonder he is just as
enthusiastic a stamp collector as before he lost his fabulous stock
which is now impossible to replace.