One of the interesting and attractive features of collecting Scouts on Stamps items is the intensive search necessary to uncover even a few of these elusive articles. The longer the battle; the sweeter the victory. The longer the search; the more satisfying the find--maxims even truer when dealing with Scout cachets of the United States. Nevertheless, hidden treasures are waiting to be unearthed; quick profits or a commanding position in trading are the fruits to be gained by the discoverers of duplicates. But be forewarned! The feint of heart and the easily discouraged must surely fail.
As a practical matter, there remain only a few worthwhile sources for this sort of material. The run-of-the-mill dealer will usually have nothing on hand along these lines, but will be glad to reminisce with you about the good old days when he was "loaded" with Scout offerings. If such a dealer does manage to get hold of some cacheted Scout covers, he has a waiting list of favored customers to whom he can peddle what he has at exorbitant prices. Some dealers, who specialize in first day and other types of covers, do have basic Scout cachets in their stock. Many offer them for sale (either in person or on approval) at comparatively fair prices, even though their supply ls limited. Others, however, cognizant of the terrific demand for even such basic items, have marked the prices up beyond all reasonable bounds. The Scout collector should be wary of such persons.
Be not completely discouraged, however. ..here are still, at least, four good methods of adding interesting and valuable Scout cachets of the United States to your collection. One obvious means is to bid competitively at recognized auctions on large cover lots in which you have fortunately found a few Scout covers. (And a few is usually all that you will find, if that. Blind bidding will, therefore, be quite disappointing.)
The second procedure is a comparatively simple one. By following the news items in your favorite philatelic magazine or newspaper (or in the Scouts on Stamps Society International Journal), you will be able to learn about the forthcoming special cacheted Scout covers. You will then be able to purchase them, direct from the original source, at from 10¢ to 20¢ a piece---quite reasonable.
Trading is the third process by which Scout cachets can be obtained. Normal trading at local stamp clubs will usually produce poor results, since this type of material ls not in general circulation. However, by joining the Scouts on Stamps topical society, you will be advised as to when groups of philatelists, who specialize in Scout stamps and covers, will be meeting in your locality. Attendance at one of these gatherings can not fail to be fruitful. Even if you are short of trading material, other Scout collectors often have duplicates for sale at exceptionally fair prices.
The final system for securing cacheted Scout covers is the most fun, the most rewarding, and, of course, the most tiring. Briefly, it consists of attending stamp shows, large and small, haunting dealer after dealer for your wants, and spending hours searching through large lots of dedication and special events covers in the hope of finding a few Scout items. In order to do this, you will have to be at the show early, make your search thorough, and beat out other Scout collectors who are doing the same thing. Nevertheless, it is by this method that worthwhile covers often can be bought quite cheaply primarily because these dealers have neither the time nor the patience to sort their stock topically.
You are probably all familiar with the ending of the Scout Oath, which reads, "...To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight". In your search for Scout cachets, a similar pledge would be helpful. Happy hunting!