Why every kid should collect stamps

I admit it: I feel a bit nerdy confessing I collect stamps.

I’m not sure how it all started, but I think it’s my father’s fault. He used to travel a lot for work, so he had friends all over the planet. And occasionally these friends would send us a letter, like this one:

first-letter-blog

Within a few years I’d amassed maybe a dozen such first-day covers, and I’d saved several hundred stamps from my father’s correspondence. (I especially looked forward to Christmas each year.)

Stamp collection 1050708 BLOG

Before long I was saving my allowance for the local stamp-swaps and mail-order offers. I’m sure I got swindled a few times (I was only eight or nine). But still, it was fun.

Then my collection sat idle for a few years, largely forgotten while I attended college and married and started a career. It wasn’t until last year, in the aftermath of The Great Flood, that I dug it out.

And that’s how I got hooked again.

I had every intention of dismantling my collection and selling off the (very few, not-really-all-that) valuable stamps. But then I started looking at the stamps closely again — this time through new eyes.

There were a lot of things I couldn’t part with, like this envelope my mom’s best friend sent her from the USSR …

Tia May letter BLOG

… nor this small series from Peru. I still remember the round-bellied old fellow who taught me that, although some stamps may look similar, they’re actually printed by different companies (look closely at the very bottom).

Peru desocupados BLOG

I also noticed for the first time how deeply stamps can reflect a country’s culture and heritage. Peru was quite proud of its “riqueza del guano” (bird poop), it would seem …

Peru guano BLOG

… while Spain celebrated its pilgrims’ stops on their way to Santiago de Compostela.

Spain Santiago de Compostela BLOG

Iceland’s stamps, on the other hand, were a veritable festival of things that gush and explode …

Iceland explosions BLOG
… though I must admit some of their more recent stamps — commemorating the Vikings, and celebrating the early settlements — are among my all-time favorites.

Iceland map BLOG Iceland settlements BLOG

I also love this old stamp from France, showing the bridges of Paris …

France airmail BLOG

… and the series they did on their cathedrals’ stained glass …

France stained glass BLOG

… not to mention their “great moments in history” collection.

France Grandes Heures BLOG

Seeing these places and events illustrated so artfully brings them alive for me in a way no narrative ever could. That’s especially true of wartime stamps.

Germany war BLOG
The glorification of wholesale slaughter and destruction is sickening …

Germany war detail 1 BLOG Germany war detail 2 BLOG

… just as the remembrance of the victims is heartbreaking.

France war BLOG

And if you look closely, you can almost trace a country’s evolution through its stamps. In a sense, they’re a reflection not only of how a country wants to be seen — but also of how it sees itself.

I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about the two Germanies’ Soviet-like and paternalistic post-war incarnations.

DDR Soviet-like BLOG Germany paternalistic BLOG

Speaking of paternalism … collecting stamps is also a great way to learn about history, because it helps you put faces to the names. (Though, ironically, long-faced Felipe IV on the far right was reputed to have a great sense of humor.)

Kings of Spain BLOG

I also love these cameos of Ludwig III, the last king of Bavaria. For one thing, I really did manage to “collect them all.” For another, the Freistaat Bayern overprints are historically significant because they refer to the Bamberg Constitution, which established the “free state” of Bavaria on September 15, 1919. But you probably knew that already.

Bavaria Ludwig BLOG

And while many stamps celebrate emperors and kings, others tell the story of a city or an entire state. Prague has survived centuries of war and occupation, for instance …

Prague BLOG

… and these stamps were issued to raise money for the reconstruction of Freiburg

Freiburg rebuild BLOG

… but Yugoslavia no longer exists.

Yugoslavia BLOG

Stamps are also superb barometers of popular culture and current events. Consider the space race, for instance. Naturally, the Soviets had something to say on the matter.

Russia space BLOG

Then Laos jumped on the bandwagon …

Thailand space BLOG

… and then Liberia sort of suggested they’d put a man on the moon …

Liberia moon BLOG

… and finally Equatorial Guinea issued a stamp commemorating the “discovery of the three dead cosmonauts.” Go home, Equatorial Guinea. You’re drunk.

Guinea astronauts BLOG

But lest you get the wrong impression and think stamps are boring and depressing, let me cover one more topic: the unintentionally hilarious. Like this series from Germany I like to call “Dumb Ways to Die.”

Germany safety BLOG

Although plummeting off a ladder and tetanus have a certain appeal, I’m going to have to go with “brick to the head.”

Germany safety detail BLOG

There are also these beautiful British lithographs commemorating “The Great Postal Disasters.” Ah, yes, who could forget “The Norwich Mail in a Thunder Storm.” And remember the time the mail got snowbound in Edinburgh?

British postal disasters BLOG

But wait … what’s this about an attack on the Exeter mail? I couldn’t tell at first whether it was a dog or a wolf leaping upon the horse, in the lower-right-hand corner.

British postal disasters DETAIL BLOG

It turns out it was a LION. Yes, a LION attacked the mail service on October 20, 1816. And the mail was still only 45 minutes late! See? We’d never know this priceless fact, if not for my stamp collection.

The best part is, these are only a fraction of the stories I could tell you. Imagine what we might learn if we looked at all three books …

Stamp collection 1270217

But rather than risk boring you, I’ll leave you with one final treasure from my collection. Yes, that’s right: Stamps I collected about collecting stamps.

Call me a nerd, but you’ve got to admit that’s pretty cool.

Stamp collecting BLOG

All joking aside, huge thanks to my father for not complaining when I tore up and soaked his mail, and to my mother for driving me to God-knows-how-many stamp swaps, and to my friends Pam and Craig, who have so generously fed my collection in the past year.
And if you want to give stamp collecting a try, drop me a note! I have a few duplicates I’d be happy to trade … especially if you have any more Great Postal Disasters.

476 comments

    • Ummm … thank you? 😉 Really, though: thank you! It’s taken me 40 years to embrace my inner geek, but I’ve never been happier.

      • hi there! im 17 and my dad was the one who got me into stamp collecting too. he collected them too. he gave me his collections. I have lots of duplicates and im not really sure what to do with them. I don’t think its nerdy haha

        • How wonderful that stamp collecting is being passed down in your family! I’m not really sure what to do with my duplicates, either — I offered them to several of my readers who said they wanted to start a collection, but so far no takers. So perhaps you and I should swap? 🙂 I have lots of nice American stamps, mostly from the 1970s to the 1990s …

      • Hurray for you! Boomdeeadda sent me your way. I’ve just created a mosaic-like table using part of my dad’s stamp collection from the 1930s. I thoroughly enjoyed your narrative and all those beautiful stamps. I think they’re fascinating, even the war mongering stamps, as they are a reflection of history. I also agree that brick to the head is hilarious on a stamp, far less so in real life.

        Isn’t blogging amazing? You share your inner nerd, and all the rest of us crawl out of the woodwork.

        • Thank you so much for stopping by! Boomdeeadda sent me *your* way, too, and I absolutely adored that table you made with a part of your dad’s collection! What a brilliant (and truly beautiful) idea.
          On another topic … yes, blogging really is amazing. Isn’t it wonderful to see how many of us have inner nerds that are just waiting to be released? Truly gratifying.
          Thanks a million for stopping by, and especially for taking the time to comment.

  1. very cool! I always liked looking at stamps even though I don’t collect. they are pretty good propaganda. I find the UK ones disappointing as they are just a picture of the current monarch.

    • You’re so right about the propagandist aspect of stamps, nylonliving. That struck me when I revisited some of the old stamps Britain issued for their colonies in Africa and Hong Kong; I thought of how strange it would be to constantly be looking at the face of a monarch who looked nothing like me and who lived halfway across the world. But if I’d gotten into the whole monarchy/colony thing I would *still* be typing! 😀

    • Hello, knotrune! 🙂 If you decide to dig them out, I’ll be curious to hear what treasures (or at least treasured memories) you find.

    • Hahaaa! I decided not to even mention the word “philatelist” because it sounds so vaguely naughty — like someone who might furtively lick tiny bits of paper for kicks. But thank you for picking up my slack, Xpat! I always appreciate your punny sense of humor.

  2. I think, reading this, I understand for the first time how beautiful and full of stories and history stamps are. Once again, you have put something together for me! XO, Pam

    • Aw, dear Pam … thank you for your kind words! Mostly I just state the obvious, but with pretty pictures.

      And … I suppose you’ll be wanting your stamps back, then? 🙂

  3. these are impressive, i’ve never really taken to the time to closely look at stamps – they’re are like little windows into different cultures and significant historical events. I never knew that they be funny too (German – dumb ways to die). great post, I’ve discovered something new today.

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment, Dina! Isn’t it astounding how we can look at something our whole lives — and then one day see that thing from a whole new perspective? I’m just glad I didn’t toss my collection before noticing all these little treasures.

  4. This is a great post and I’ve learned a few new things tonight! I collected stamps when I was younger and the albums are somewhere in my parents’ home. I shall examine those stamps when I’m back in SIngapore…

    • Oh, please *do* revisit your stamp collection, Angelina! I’ll be very curious to hear what you find when you see it through new eyes.

  5. I absolutely love stamps! I’ve always, always, always wanted to collect them, and your post just made me want to even more! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    thatfreespiritedblog.wordpress.com

    • I’m so glad my post inspired you in some small way, Leighton. But … there’s no time like the present! There are lots of good deals to be had on eBay, so it’s easier and cheaper than ever to become a philatelist. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by, and best wishes for a lovely 2015.

    • About the dead cosmonauts: WTH, right?! But you’re probably smarter than I am, by collecting silver instead of stamps — at least silver has an inherent value, whereas stamps only sell for whatever someone is willing to pay for drunk-looking dead cosmonauts. Anyway, thank you for stopping by, and happy 2015 to you!

  6. I used to collect stamps and letters when i was very young studying abroad. But i collected mostly the disney cartoon stamps back then and it was pretty cool seeing how the disney cartoons evolved 🙂

  7. Love this post! I collected stamps as a kid, having inherited my dad and my brother’s collections. Passed all this along to our son ten years ago. Your post makes me wonder what he’s done with that!

    • Sounds like the perfect excuse to give that son of yours a call, doesn’t it? Thank you so much for stopping by — and happy New Year to you and yours!

    • I hereby extend a warm welcome to the International Society of Stamp-Collecting Nerds, Garrett! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, and especially for taking the time to comment. And happy New Year to you and yours.

  8. Thanks for your enticing post. I started collectimg stamps Because my grandfather collected stamps. In the 60 or so years since i started i have blown hot and cold about stamps and the many volumes I have of British Commonwealth stamps. Iwas born in India lived in africa so letters and stamps were always there. When Im into my stamps they are are to me the most beautiful works of art in minature. From stamps I have learned about the world, countries, capitals, raw materials, food, currency, customs, fauna and flora and much much more. When Imam off my stamps i lament the demise of the things: stamps will soon be irrelevant and will fade in the memory. My grandchildren have no interest in stamps and modest collections fetch little at auction. So im keepong my collection because I love them passionately, theyre part of me.

    • What a beautiful and impassioned argument in favor of stamp collecting, 2far2shout! You make the excellent point that our collections become as much a reflection of our lives and where we’d lived as anything. And you’re right to lament that soon they will disappear altogether as people start to print their own postage at home — which I suppose will make our stamp collections even more precious to those of us who appreciate these miniature works of art. Thank you for stopping by, and happy New Year to you!

    • I bet he would love it if you asked him about his collection sometime. It’s surprising the stories and memories a few little bits of paper can hold! Thanks for stopping by, and best wishes for a great year of blogging in 2015.

  9. Thanks for that wonderful post. It’s so true that picture stamps are little works of art, travelling the world like miniature ambassadors. I wonder whether letters and stamps are heading for a vinyl-style revival. It could happen.

    Your post inspired me to look up UK picture stamps and I found myself down a rabbit hole of intriguing postal facts. I was especially struck with the ones to do with women workers. Apparently, back in the early years of World War II, postmen were asked to bring their “wives, sweethearts, sisters and ladyfriends” to help with the Christmas delivery. Earlier in the 20th century, when women first started working in the Post Office – at telephone/telegraph exchanges, they worked in areas segregated from the men and ‘were even escorted in and out of the building at times when male workers would not see them.’ You forget sometimes how far we’ve come, don’t you?

    Here’s where I found my Postal Wonderland http://www.postalheritage.org.uk/explore/history/

    All best wishes and a Happy New 2015,

    Elaine

    • What a wonderful bit of history you’ve unearthed, Elaine! And thanks a million for that link!! (There goes the rest of my evening … ha!)
      I was just commenting to my husband about how much the world has changed since the first stamps were issued in the 1840s. I’m just glad I’m lucky enough to be living in the age of the Internet, when it’s possible to go down a virtual rabbit hole and connect with other interesting, curious people halfway across the world.
      Thanks again for the wonderful link, and my best to you!

      • Yes, we are living in virtual-rabbit-hole-rich times.

        It’s so easy to forget how hard it would have been to find out unusual things not so long ago -when you see a detective programme from the 80s or 90s and the Detective Inspector’s assistant has to get all their information about possible suspects from a trip to the microfiche newspaper archive at the local library. And the murder victim, usually a woman, is waiting at some godforsaken, windswept location to meet somebody, who’s been delayed, but can’t let her know because nobody has a mobile phone. So she waits, and gets murdered instead. Or fights the evil murderer to the ground with her black-belt martial arts skills and frogmarches him down to the nearest police station – which is the version I prefer (but the one you rarely see)

        • You are simply MARVELOUS! I adore your keen-but-cheeky observations, and you’re a wonderful writer as well. (I know whence I speak, because I’ve just subscribed to your blog.) So … here’s to many more virtual-rabbit-hole-rich discoveries — and to women with black-belt martial arts frogmarching the bad guys down to the police station. 😉

          • That’s sweet of you to say 🙂 And thanks. I’m following you too now – so we’ll be seeing each other again. All this is like a better, modern version of penpals, isn’t it!

            I’m planning to be one of those lethal old ladies with a swordstick/umbrella when I get old. An ancient Emma Peel with wrinkles.

      • And, by the way – if your evening doesn’t get overfilled with stamp trivia, there was a marvellous thing on the radio today – I’m recommending it to everyone I can. It’s a dramatisation of War & Peace. 10 episodes – they played them straight through on the BBC with a civilised break for lunch and a news (loo) break on the hour. It’s one of the best dramatisations I’ve ever heard. Anyway, it’s here as a podcast (for the next 14 days I think) http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/warpeace or on BBC iPlayer here for 4 weeks http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04wz7q2/episodes/player

        And an article on Tolstoy’s ideas about how to be happy http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30536963 I’ll stop there!
        All best wishes

        Elaine

        • Thank you SO much for the heads-up about the War & Peace dramatization. I tried the link but was redirected to a page that says they’re only available in the UK. (Much like good tea and proper biscuits, sigh.) But I’ll see if one of my friends’ VPN connections will let me in. In the meantime, I’ve bookmarked old Tolstoy’s ideas on how to be happy for tomorrow’s morning reading. It looks very intriguing indeed.

          Thank you, thank you!

          • Sorry – it’s hard to tell which BBC links will stretch outside the country’s shores. It seems quite random, but I looked on the BBC twitter feed and they’re directing people overseas to try here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04wz7q2 Every episode comes with a bottomless teapot, cucumber sandwiches and real-life English biscuits. Ain’t the internet just the ticket?

          • SQUEAAL! You are simply *the best,* Elaine. Thank you! (And thanks too for the chuckle over the bottomless teapot, cucumber sandwiches and real-life English biscuits. As you say: The Internet — and the kind people one meets there — are just the ticket!)

            PS: I noticed that the BBC page you sent also has a wealth of links about Tolstoy. Methinks I’m about to broaden my education! So thank you for that, too.

          • Hello again – is it daytime where you are? Or have you been kept up all night by Tolstoy and the British Postal Service?

            Speaking, as we once were, of the rabbit holes of the internet, I came across something I’d never thought of when I was looking up another programme on Radio 4. It’s about sign language and about dialects within it http://goo.gl/zb6a6J

            Tolstoy, sign language, stamps – it’s like a quiz show question where you have to say what connects them!

  10. On my long list of things to organize is the garage, where a (mostly domestic) stamp collection I haven’t looked at in ages exists. Your post moves this garage-organizing task way up on the priority list.

    • Aw, Just Lori — you just made my day! I’ll be eager to hear what treasures you discover when you organize your garage. Cheers, and happy new year!

  11. That is VERY cool! I love that you do that, and I should probably get my kids into something like this as well. I love how you point out how stamps can tell some of the history of a country. I am sure you know this, but, just in case you didn’t– Did you know that Nicaragua’s postage stamp played a part in a Canal being built through Panama and not through Nicaragua over 100 years ago? Back when they French had failed miserably at their Panama Canal building effort and were trying to sell their interests to the US, the US Senate was still debating on whether or not to begin building our own Canal in Nicaragua. There were rumors that there were volcanos in Nicaragua, but the Nicaraguans tried to downplay the seismic activity. The French engineer Philippe Bunau-Varilla saw that despite what they said, Nicaragua had featured an erupting volcano on their postage stamps, so just before the Senate voted on the Canal plan, Bunau-Varillia sent one of the Nicaraguan stamps to every US Senator to pursued them to vote against Nicaragua– and so that the US would still be interested in buying out the French venture in Panama. The rest is history– all because of a postage stamp!!!

    Keep it up!
    -Julie
    http://www.adventuresofthecrazytrain.com

    • HOLY MOLY, JULIE! I’d never heard that volcanoes-on-the-stamps thing about Nicaragua. See? This is why countries should stick to the safe topics, like figure-skating and space exploration! But if you really are serious about getting your kids started on stamp collecting, drop me an email. I know someone who can probably hook them up with a nice starter set. 😉
      BTW: I checked out your blog too. It’s fantastic! Congrats on some truly wonderful writing from your newest subscriber.

      • Thanks!!! I am habing a blast with the blog. I should’ve started it years ago because we’ve been doing it for ages and I’ve been only sharing it with facebook and instagram friends. I finally gave in to peer pressure!!!

        In addition to my backroad-loving, kitsch-seeking adventures, I’m a huge Panama Canal history nerd. I grew up in Texas and in the Panama Canal Zone– I left Panama during Just Cause. So I know a lot of little tidbits! I thought about the stamp when i was reading your post! The whole story about it is pretty great. Bunau-Varilla was a crafty, underhanded, evil mastermind– probably one of the most underappreciated supervillians in history. His stamp stunt was the tip of the iceberg!

        I love your blog too! I look gorward to more!!!

        -Julie
        http://www.adventuresofthecrazytrain.com

  12. I used to collect stamps as my dad once worked at the post office for a short period of time. I remember being fascinated by stamps bearing the names of places I barely knew at that time: Helvetica (Switzerland) and DDR (East Germany). This post makes me want to remove that dust covering my stamp albums after all these years of neglect.

    By the way, when you said “Then Cambodia jumped on the bandwagon …” I believe the two stamps below that line are actually from Laos (Postes Lao). It also bears Lao’s currency (k for kip).

    • I’m so honored that my post has made you want to dig out your old collection — I hope you’ll do just that!

      And a huge thank you for pointing out my error in mixing up Cambodia with Laos. Just goes to show that even the most avid stamp collectors can still always learn something from their collection. I’ll correct it straight away.

      Thank you for stopping by, and best wishes for a lovely 2015!

  13. Absolutely remarkable collection!! I collected stamps for many years, like you I had family who traveled frequently. Over the years my collection grew to first edition collections and readers digest features as well. Sadly I lost the whole collection during hurricane Katrina.But.. Reading your post brought me back to my childhood, where I couldn’t wait to get a new letter with a new stamp! Great post and it was a pleasure to read! Happy holidays!

    • I’m so sorry to read that you lost your entire collection to hurricane Katrina! That’s heartbreaking. But I’m truly honored and pleased that my post helped you revisit some of those fond memories. And if you ever decide to start collecting again, send me an email. I’d be happy to put a new letter with a new stamp or two in the mail to you! Cheers, and my best wishes for a wonderful 2015.

    • You’re so lucky to inherit such a wonderful heirloom! And I bet it’s wonderful for your father to know that you’re carrying on a family tradition, too. Have fun with it, and thanks so much for stopping by!

    • What a pity that you lost your entire stamp collection — and especially that you’re now missing it. But the good news is that it’s never too late to start up again. There are lots of unbelievable deals on eBay, for instance. Thanks for stopping by, and have a wonderful 2015.

  14. You reminded me of the stamps that I had left in Malaysia:) Feeling inspired to dig them out when I go back on the 14th and write a post on them. If you want to trade some, I have a few duplicates of stamps from countries in SouthEast Asia, which I find really colourful and are often images of local fauna and animals=)

    • Oh, yes! Please DO dig out your old collection and report back on what you find. Like me, you may discover some treasures you forgot you had. And I’d also be game for trading some duplicates. Drop me a note if you like and let me know what you’d be interested in receiving. And no matter what: Thanks for stopping by, and cheers to you in 2015!

  15. Thanks. A charming memoir and invitation! Really enjoyed reading this. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (which I suppose is a combination of my actual and virtual record collection – check it out!).

  16. Great post, and beautiful photos. I grew up collecting stamps with my father, and I believe it had a direct impact on my later interest in international diplomacy (I’ve been a Foreign Service officer for 26+ years). I learned an amazing amount about geography, history and culture; you summarized the experience perfectly.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Christopher! Isn’t it astonishing the degree to which seemingly innocent childhood pursuits can influence us? I’m so pleased that your early experience with stamps led you into the Foreign Service. I’d love to hear about your experiences and advice if you’d care to shoot me a note. Two of my friends just took the test and I’m considering it as well. In any case, cheers to you and *thank you* for your service!

  17. It was so nice to read this post. It took me to my days of stamp collecting. I used to enjoy soaking the posts, then slowly removing it from the envelop and then drying it and then keeping it inside heavy books before showing it off to my jealous friends and cousins.

    It does help when your father gets a lot of mails from overseas. I had a decent collection till higher education got the better of me. Tonight I will do and dig out my collection and relive those moments.

    I also used to collect a lot of coins. Didn’t you ask your dad to get coins and notes from wherever he travelled. I have a couple foreign currency notes and coins in my purse right now. It is good to see them. I guess I will keep a few stamps as well.

    Thanks for the post. I really enjoyed it.

    • Thank you for your very kind words! I’m pleased that my post brought back so many fond memories — and I do hope you’ll dig out your collection and relive some of those memories. As for coins and bills … well, I’ve accumulated a few of those, too, but in that case more by accident. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and happy New Year!

  18. This is really lovely! My grandfather collects stamps – a few years ago he gave each of us a binder of certain collections, mine is Birds of the World. I bought him some stamps at the royal palace in Madrid, like yours of Felipe IV! How funny.

    And, I really love that you learned the history behind these and shared it – the story is what makes something valuable, so im glad you kept them. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Alexandra! It seems to be a common thread for many of us that the stamps take on extra meaning beyond their face value, usually through a connection to our families. But I’m so tickled you also picked up a Felipe IV-style stamp or two in Madrid. Now, *that’s* a cool souvenir. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading!

  19. Great post! I’ll admit I always thought collecting things was lame and boring. But lately I’ve opened up my mind to trying new things. This post makes me want to start collecting stamps!

    • Good for you, for opening your mind to trying new things! Admittedly, most hobbies look a little strange from a distance. But I think that if you choose to try stamp collecting, you’ll find it quickly becomes addictive! Anyway, thank you so much for stopping by, and especially for your kind words.

    • That’s a GREAT question, samewithmetoo! And a very difficult one to answer, because so many of them have sentimental value — but for different reasons. The one of the bridges of Paris I included in my post is among my favorites, though, because it’s a fantastic view of my favorite city in the world. I will think on your question further, though … and perhaps I’ll do a follow-up post, just for you. Thank you so much for your thought-provoking question!

  20. I’m glad to see that collecting stamps is still relevant. I know that not only is it personally rewarding, but a great way to hold onto some history and teach it to the younger generations.

    • I’m hoping to hook my nieces on it, Steve, so I can indeed pass something on to the next generation! Thank you for stopping by, and especially for taking the time to leave your kind comment.

  21. What a fantastic collection, thanks for sharing it with us!
    I used to collect stamps as a kid too (wonder if any kids do, these days) – you made me want to pull out my collection to see what stories it has to tell, but it’s locked up somewhere in my grandmom’s home hundreds of miles away. Or I hope it still is. 😐

    • I also wonder whether kids still collect stamps these days! Something tells me it’s a dying hobby, now that there are video games. And I do hope your collection is safely stashed away in your grandmom’s house. Something to ask her about next time you visit, eh? 😉 Thanks so much for reading, and happy New Year.

  22. A few years back I was watching the broadcast of Glastonbury festival with a bored child. I pointed out some of the national flags being waved, we spent the rest of the afternoon trying to name them all. Forget who was playing but it was fun

    • How fun! Isn’t it amazing how even an ordinary event can come to life for a child, if you find a way to engage him or her in it?

  23. I enjoyed reading this. I collected stamps as a child growing up in the Caribbean. My father worked for UK based internationl bank and would often receive bank correspondence from mostly the Caribbean, the UK and many former British colonies. He would cut off the edge of the envelopes and bring them home for me. We moved around a lot as my Dad advanced his career within the company and I occasionaly lost parts of my collection in each move. On one move the entire collection was lost and I gave up.

    Since letter writing is a waning (lost?) art how do you propose that kids start a collection that doens’t involve “buying”?

    • What an interesting background you have, Khürt! It’s a pity you lost your entire stamp collection during one of your family’s many moves — but it sounds like you still have lots of fond memories, so that’s something.

      And you make a wonderful point about the waning (lost!) art of letter-writing, and its impact on kids who would otherwise want to start a collection. I suppose I might suggest that they start by asking relatives if they have any old stamps they’d like to part with. If not, asking neighbors or other members of the larger community might yield some results. They might also inquire with organizations that are more likely to receive a lot of correspondence (e.g., libraries or a small university) and ask whether they can have the empty envelopes. That’s just off the top of my head — but great question, and great point!

      Anyway, thank you very much for taking the time to read and especially for leaving such a thoughtful and thought-provoking response. Cheers!

        • … of course, I just realized I forgot to mention the most obvious of stamp-related ideas, Khürt: Ask a collector if they have any extras or duplicates! (Because yes, yes I do.) I’d be happy to send you and your kids a small parcel if you like. Just drop me a note at hmunro[dot]wordpress[at]gmail[dot]com. Cheers!

    • “For some reason”? That made me smile. I’m not really sure why I started collecting either, but it’s been a fun hobby. Thank you for stopping by!

    • Determining the value of a stamp can be tricky because it depends not only on the stamp itself but also it’s condition — and whether any other collectors are actually interested in it! So I’d say that if you like your stamps, they’re valuable to YOU. And that’s a nice start, isn’t it? 🙂 But if you ever do decide to research in earnest, a publication such as Scott’s catalog can give you an idea of the average going price. Cheers!

      • thank you for the info, mine are valuable to me because I have them for so long and they are in good condition. I shall try and have them valued just out of curiosity…..,

  24. In a musty old box I found in an abandoned Viennese flat, I have a small stamp collection myself. I lived in Central and Eastern Europe in the latter years of the Cold War and just after the Soviet Union collapsed. I get my little treasures out every once in awhile to show my young boys bits of Russia, Serbia, Kazakhstan and Romania. Not only is it valuable for history, but also art and design, geography and just for sheer appreciation of all cultures. I hope we never consider that nerdy.

    • What a remarkable story! And how wonderful that you’re able to share such an important part of history in such a tangible way with your boys. They are lucky to be growing up with such a rich background — and I’m sure it will serve them well for the rest of their lives. *Thank you* for stopping by and sharing your story.

    • I’m so pleased to have brought back some good memories! Thank you so much for stopping by, and especially for taking the time to comment.

  25. Reblogged this on jonjominns's Blog and commented:
    I collected stamps as a youngster. I was ridiculed for it but I rose above the bullying as it was something that I enjoy. I really enjoyed reading this piece and agree 100% with your views. Many thanks for posting this.

    • Wow. Thank YOU! You just made every minute I spent scanning those photos and writing that post worth it, by a magnitude of one thousand. Thanks for making my day.

    • I hope my post brought back some fun memories of watching your father. And thank you very much for your kind comment! I really appreciate your stopping by.

  26. Thank you for having this blog, i collect stamps since i am 10 years old and i am fascinated about it..especially the history , archeology and the expressions of it.

    • Collecting stamps is certainly one way to appreciate the small things in life! 🙂 I’m so pleased that this post inspired you. Thank you for stopping by, and especially for taking the time to comment.

    • You’re so right that stamps used to be cheaper, khadijahsamad. Fortunately they still can be — if you happen upon someone who is giving away their collection and just wants it to find a good home (as has happened to me with a couple of my friends). As for how I keep the stamps clean: I store them inside a binder with plastic sleeves and keep that inside a safe. And whenever I handle them I use stamp tongs to prevent getting oil from my fingers on them. These measures are probably too much for what is basically a child’s collection, but “better safe than sorry,” yes?

      In any case, I hope you’re able to find your collection — and that looking at it brings back many fond memories for you. Thank you so much for your comment. And happy New Year!

  27. Great post! Apart from the fact that stamps educate you on cultures, history and geography, they are also incredibly beautiful tiny works of art. I realised this when my grandad was showing me his stamp collection. I put some stamps in an arrangment in a frame on my wall because i could just look at them everyday and still find something about them that amazes me. Really enjoyed reading this, thanks again for posting 🙂

    • You are so right about the “tiny works of art” aspect of stamp collecting, happenstantialmusing! It’s odd that I didn’t go deeper into that fact in my post, because it’s actually my favorite thing about stamps. In any case … you’ve inspired me to perhaps pull a few out of my collection and frame them, so I can enjoy them every day. Thank you!

  28. this is the first time I’ve read yoir blog, and I have to say, yoir posts are fantastic. (: Thank you for taking the time out to put together such wonderful pieces for the WordPress community to enjoy. Happy New Year to you too! (:

    • Aw, aleahae … thank you for your very kind words. You just made my day! I greatly appreciate it — and a very happy New Year to you! Cheers!

  29. Redading this post makes me think it is time to sort all the stamps i have accumulated along tve years, thanks for shareing such a treasure!

    • … and thank YOU for taking the time to read and comment, DianaX. I wish you the best in the year ahead and hope you will find many small treasures among your own stamps. Cheers!

  30. This is so cool. I used to collect gift cards as a kid. Of course they were not half as knowledgeable, but fun nevertheless. Must confess, I envy your parents who travelled and had friends ‘all over the planet’!

    • Hello, Naima! I think *any* collection can be interesting, as long as the collector continues to be interested in it. And although I’ve been privileged to live in three continents, I also envy my parents for having visited or lived in all seven. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by!

  31. Wow. Great stamp examples. Have you collected any Canadian ones since there has been Inuit imagery, Canadian art, wildlife, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, etc.?

    When I was a child, myself and some siblings did collect stamps from 1970’s Communist China where relatives lived. Yes, proletarian art on those stamps!

    • I have indeed collected many Canadian stamps! Some of my favorites are the “scenic series” issue from 1998 and the “explorer series” issue from … well … I’m not sure. But I do have quite a few commemorating the Mounties and of course quite a few of HRH Elizabeth as well.

      And how fascinating that you collected stamps from communist China as a child! I have a hundred questions (what were your relatives doing there?) but will restrain myself from asking, for fear of prying.

      In any case, thank you so much for stopping by.

    • What a lovely and thoughtful way for your grandad to share his collections, laurajeaner! That’s very sweet … thank you for today’s mid-afternoon smile. 🙂

  32. As I child I collected stamps, because my grandmother did. When very young, I did not really fathom HOW much collecting she actually did, nor her prominence in the Philatelic Community. She died when I was only 12, but her life, her work and her philatelic journalism shaped my life profoundly. And, as I got older, I was in awe of her impact.

    She was the first female postal history society president and the first of many other things during the 1950’s – the 1970’s. So, I created a blog about her life, her work and her unpublished book she spent 25 years writing as a result of her research into the mail covers from the American A.E.F. forgotten in Siberia after WWI.

    Long after she has passed away while doing a Master’s thesis in communications, I took her hand typewritten book and converted it to her blog, just to keep her life’s work alive.

    So, as a result of stumbling upon your wonderful blog….encouraging kids to collect stamps, I would like to re-introduce the dynamic Edith Faulstich-Fisher @

    1) https://edithfaulstich.wordpress.com, & also at.

    2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Margaret_Faulstich

    And, I still collect stamps to some informal degree because of her!
    With much love to my Nana and much pppreciation for your blog.

    Alice Margaret Fisher (the grand-daughter of Edith Faulstich)

    • What an extraordinary woman your grandmother “Dee” was, Alice — but even more extraordinary is your work in keeping her story and legacy alive. Thank you *so* much for sharing the links to her blog and her Wikipedia entry. Would you please give me permission to share her blog in a follow-up post I’m writing? Even if you’d rather not, I still thank you very much for writing and for sharing this remarkable story.

  33. Fascinating! It made me realized too that I have loads of stamps collected when i was kid. Will surely dig for them too. Your blog is really awesome that it sparked again the awe and interest in us about these miniature arts (not to mentioned it awakened the nerdy-side in me)… More power to you!

    • Thank you for your kind words, butterfly effect — I am honored that my scribblings inspired you to revisit this interest from your youth. (And more power to YOUR nerdy side too! Grin.)

  34. I have never thought collecting stamps could be seen in this light before…. I think its great that you’re portraying a different side to this showing that it is okay to be a bit nerdy 🙂

    courtneyglitter

  35. I think any collection is amazing and not nerdy. I collect shot glass, bank notes, coins, and flags of countries I’ve traveled to. I have a couple stamps but the things i collected seem more intriguing to me. Maybe you can help me figure where these stamps are for. Email me sometime and i can send you pictures of them…
    beanonymous100@gmail.com

    • How cool that you collect flags from countries you’ve traveled to! I guess I do the same thing with stamps: My largest collections are from places I’ve lived in or have visited.

      As for the rest of it … check your email, please. 🙂 And thank you for stopping by!

  36. I love this beautiful and nostalgic hobby! I believe letter writing is a lost art and at any turn, I try to find a way to send a note to a friend a la snail mail. I have a lovely book of postcards illustrated by a British artist Mary Cicely Barker who drew flower fairies. I love to tear one out of the book and send for no particular reason, to a friend. But the best part? visiting my small town’s post office and viewing the new stamp collections available. I recently purchased a book of Johnny Cash and also bought a fabulous book of Harry Potter portraying the many colorful characters. I found a book of retro “muscle cars” that are also beautiful and bring one back to another era in time. I often wonder if my recipients take note of the special stamps I painstakingly choose for their letter/post or rather in this busy world if it is lost on them. Either way, I love these unique stamps and your collection must be indeed special. Thank you for sharing.

    • How sweet and thoughtful of you to put so much thought into choosing the “right” stamp for the letters you send your friends, Kathy — and even more wonderful, that you write your friends at all! You’re so right that hand-written notes are becoming a lost art. A pity, that … nothing quite brightens the day like the pleasant surprise of finding a line or two of familiar handwriting among the magazines and bills. Thank you for reminding me of this, and inspiring to write my friends more often!

    • Very cool! I remember the 80s fondly, though by then I’d unfortunately stopped collecting. Too bad — but I’m glad YOU were collecting during that interesting decade.

    • I hope you will dig up your old collection! You may be surprised to find a few treasures — and many fond memories — among your old stamps.

  37. There are two good things I remember about my childhood-stamp collecting and pen pals. We had a wild household so I don’t know what happened to my stamps but I remember the feeling. And I think blogging is kind of like having pen pals. Thanks for the post.

  38. My best friend collects stamps and i think it’s a great hobby – especially in this day and age where posting letters is getting rare. I like how you shared the stories behind the stamps! My personal favourite would have to be the lion!

    • It’s a shame that posting letters is becoming more rare, isn’t it? I’m old enough to remember the pleasure of seeing a penpal’s or relative’s letter waiting for me in the mailbox. BTW: You have excellent taste in stamp stories. The lion story is my husband’s favorite, too. 🙂

      • I always ask my friends and family to post postcards when they travel because it’s so nice to receive postal mail! I’ll keep an eye out for interesting stamps now 😉

  39. Missed the time when I collect lots of stamps, mostly I get it from my pen pals in several countries. Since there is “email”now, makes snail mail least exciting than before.. Well you can’t collect stamps by using email..

    • As much as I love the convenience and immediacy of email, I agree with you in missing the days of corresponding by “snail mail.” But I suppose at least we still have our stamp collections, and our memories of years past, eh?
      Thanks so much for stopping by, and especially for taking the time to comment.

  40. International Stamps opened up my access to the world i hadnt yet travelled as a kid but told myself i would visit when i was older and pre-internet. Maltese stamps were my favourite.

    • Maltese stamps, Monique?! How wonderful! I think I only have two from Malta — but it’s on my “hope to visit someday” list, too.
      Thank you so much for reading, and especially for taking the time to comment.

  41. Amazing collection! I used to collect stamps as a child and felt extremely geeky. Recently got them out and donated them to my niece who is happy to continue the tradition.

    • How wonderful (and generous) that you’ve passed your collection on to your niece! You probably know this from your own collecting experience, but you’ve just opened up new worlds to her.
      Thank you so much for reading, and especially for taking the time to comment.

  42. I myself have never collected stamps. Time was limited as I danced as a child and chased dreams of being a prima ballerina with a yard full of elite showjumping unicorns – thank god my father was always there to teach me how to shoot, fish and survive in the wilderness!

    My parents a few years ago showed me their stamp collections from years gone by and I thought they were beautiful. Each stamp had its own story, I could see why this seemingly ‘mundane’ hobby would become so much more to a person.

    I’m looking forward to looking through them again and maybe in the future showing them to my own children (although I’ll admit right now horses and hounds are my preferable choice of responsibility). So to all you collectors of time, thank you for saving something special for generations to come.

    • What a lovely comment, Peaches! Thank you!
      If I had horses and hounds I probably wouldn’t give a rat’s fuzzy butt about stamps, either. 🙂 But it’s wonderful that you’ve preserved your parents’ collection — because, as you say, they’ll likely be special not only for your own children, but for generations yet to come. (PS: Showjumping unicorns?! That’s brilliant. 😀 )

      • A child’s mind is impressionable and my little pony etc.. convinced me that indeed unicorns and flying horses were very much real!

        I do hope one day to be able to share my parents collection with the next generation 🙂

  43. I used to collect stamps as a child. I collected them an saved them in photo books with the sticky pages. I stopped however when stamps where just 19 cents. I still have them, don’t know if they would be of any value. Think I even managed to get some from other countries. Kids collecting stamps is a great idea.

    • Just 19 cents to mail a letter! Can you imagine? It’s kind of fascinating to see how the cost of living has risen — even since you and I stopped collecting. Well, in any case … thanks for stopping by, Ashley!

    • Wow … a TRUE collector! If you have stamps and coins from the same period, do you find much similarity in the imagery? I’ve always been curious about how deep the parallels run. In any case, a tip of the hat to you, minnealaskan88!

  44. My boyfriend’s grandpa and him used to collect stamps together when he was younger. I’ve always thought that was such a sweet tradition, not too mention they are really neat to look at now!

    • It really is a wonderful tradition to pass on through the generations, KatrinaMarie! I can only imagine that the stamps must have sparked a lot of stories and memories for Grandpa to pass on to your boyfriend, too. As you say, very sweet!

  45. Reblogged this on The Gel and commented:
    A brilliant and beautiful delve into the oft-forgotten world of stamp collecting. Although not a philatelist myself, the idea of it has always fascinated me, in the same way the designs of the stamps do.

    • You’re so sweet. Thank you for your kind words. 🙂 And I’m so glad you feel proud of being a nerd after reading this! I think most people are a bit nerdy, but we try to hide it in an effort to better “fit in.” But if more of us show that we’re proud of being nerds (or at least not ashamed) maybe someday it’ll be cool to just be … ourselves. That is my dream for nerds everywhere. *Grin.*

      Anyway, thank you so much for stopping by and for brightening my day with your comment.

  46. Wonderful article. I love the pics. Last summer when my parents moved I found my old stamp Collection. It brought some great Flashbacks! Thanks for sharing

    • I’m so pleased to hear you were reunited with your collection last summer, Antonht — and even more so to hear that it brought back good memories! Thanks for stopping by, and especially for taking the time to leave your kind comment. Cheers!

  47. I’m glad I’m not the only one with a stamp collection! 🙂 I also collect coins and sometimes not even just old coins. I like to have the more recent coins from each year! 🙂

    • How wonderful that you’re even collecting the more recent coins, Butterfly Girl! Most of us have a tendency to take the present for granted and to focus instead on the past or the future … so hats off to you for appreciating what’s happening TODAY. And happy collecting in the year ahead! 🙂

  48. My father was a huge stamp collector and some of my fondest memories were listening to him talking about his favorite stamps. Congrats on being Freshly Stamped, I mean Freshly Pressed.

    • “Freshly Stamped?” Ha ha! But seriously … I’m so glad my post brought back some happy memories of your father and his stamps. Cheers to you, mrbricksworld.

  49. You have some lovely and interesting stamps. I was in and out of stamp collecting for a bit before I decided to organize all of mine in binders. Most of them are US, but my Aunt used to work at a publishing company where she got some international mail. Also, my sister’s boyfriend gave me an overwhelming number of foreign and US stamps that his grandfather had. They weren’t organized at all, so I’m going through them slowly. The eastern European ones are some of my favorites. Your “how to die” series reminds me of the Hungarian stamps encouraging motorists to be courteous to cyclists and pedestrians.

    • Ah … I know the feeling of inheriting and overwhelming amount of stamps! Sorting through them sounds like a great project for the year ahead. And I agree with you about eastern European stamps! Some of my older ones from Moravia and Bosnia-Herzegovina are among my favorites, too.

  50. I wish my dad was internet savvy so he could follow your blog.
    He lives in the Dominican Republic and has been collecting stamps since before my older siblings were born. I still save all the stamps from the mail I get and give them to him as a little surprise when he visits.

    • How sweet that you save your stamps as a treat for when your father visits! I bet he really appreciates that. And it’s a pity he’s not Internet savvy, but I’d gladly print out my post and mail it to him as a little gift, if you wish. Along with a few stamps, of course. 😉 In any case, thank you so much for stopping by, and especially for your kind words.

    • I hope you’re right that I will someday make very big money on my collection, preetamnandal1! Thank you for stopping by, and best wishes for a happy 2015 to you.

  51. Who knew stamps could be so beautiful and tell such amazing stories? I shall appreciate them as the mini works of art they are from now on! Great post.

    • Your kind comment has made my day, BB! I’m so glad my little post broadened your appreciation a bit. Thank you for reading, and especially for taking the time to comment.

  52. I’d love to trade 😀 I used to collect stamps too, planning to get back to it. Btw, I loved your post! It’s really awesome especially the ‘dumb ways to die’ part 🙂

    • You’d love to trade?! Send me an email and tell me what kind of stamps you’d like. 🙂 And thank you for your kind words about my post. “Dumb ways to die” was one of my favorite parts too. 😀 Cheers to you!

  53. Reblogged this on Ayoore's Blog and commented:
    Quite interesting perspective on postage stamps… I thought those things are (going) extinct?…
    That said, I can’t seem to recollect what a Nigerian postage stamp looks like. *sad face*

  54. I love this post! I collected stamps with my dad when I was younger. I don’t do it much anymore, but I cannot help but soak the stamp off of an envelope before throwing it away. If you need a buddy for trading American stamps, I have plenty of duplicates I need to get rid of! Haha

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one with an envelope-soaking compulsion! And I’m apparently also not the only one with surplus American stamps. 🙂 So happy this post brought back fond memories, though. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  55. Very nice collection you have there, i used to collect stamps when i was young, my fatherngot me into it i wish ihad continued to collect them through out my life, and dont worry its not nerdy at all

    • It’s never too late to pick you your collecting again, Sarah! And hanks for the reassurance about the nerdiness. 😉

      • Oh I would have to start from scratch again, and no one sends snail mail anymore 😟 though yeah might start again, and i can pass it onto my 10 month old when he gets old enough

  56. I collected stamps as a child! I had stamps from all over the world as my mother worked for a guy who traveled the world! I also used to have a VHS of anime a guy brought me from Japan, I couldn’t understand the words but can remember watching it alot. Good times.

    • I hope you still have your stamp collection so one day you can share it with your daughter. (And ditto for the anime video, actually! 🙂

    • You know what would really be amazing? If my post actually inspired someone to start collecting stamps. 🙂 But thank you for your kind words … you made my day.

    • Their “compactness” is one of my favorite things about stamps, Dee — which is why they are truly one of my favorite travel souvenirs. When I go to the post office to mail postcards during my travels, I always buy a few extras for my collection. Anyway, thank you for reading, and especially for taking the time to leave your kind comment.

  57. I really thought that collecting stamps is boring and only nerds do that, but this post changed my mind. Its so interesting, tiny pictures that have their great story to tell. I’m excited!

  58. My mother got me started in a stamp collection when I was about eight years old. She took it over when I lost interest as a teenager but it’s now sitting in a box somewhere in her basement. Hasn’t seen the light of day in four years. I’m sure one day we’ll dig it out again and revisit the old philatelic memories. 😉

    • I hope you and your mum do dig out your collection one day, Dorothy, and that it brings many happy memories and smiles to you both. Cheers!

  59. This is great. My son found some old stamps if mine and wants to start collecting. He doesnt care that we are not doing it ‘right’ and I lament that no one writes letters anymore!

  60. Awesome stuff! As a stamp collector myself, I always get a very fuzzy feeling when someone showcases the stamps I also have (brick in the head series has been one of my favourites when I was younger!)
    I am still collecting, but it is not how it used to be. I have no hopes of rummaging through peoples drawers hoping to find old hidden letters 😦

    • How great that you have the same German safety series I found so funny! 🙂 And you’re right that stamp collecting isn’t what it used to be — but I’m finding a renewed joy in scouring eBay for great deals. In one sense it’s sad that so many people are selling off their grandparents’ collections wholesale, but I rationalize it by telling myself that at least the stamps are going to someone who will appreciate them. No rummaging required! 😀

      • If you would like to add Josip Broz to your collection, feel free to write to me, I would love to send you some of my duplicates, which are usualy Serbian stamps from older times 🙂

        • You’re on! I have only a couple of Serbian stamps, so I would love some of your duplicates (and of course, be glad to send you some of mine). Drop me a note at hmunro [dot] wordpress [at] gmail [dot] com. Thank you in advance!

          • I have tried to send an email to the address you left me in this comment, but it gives me Notification about delivery failure. I have checked the info and scoured the typo possibilities, but I got it all right. I will leave you my email here, so you can write to me and I can then answer it, to bypass this mail malfunction! isiltharien@hotmail.com

            Best regards!

          • 😦 Sorry about the $@#! email troubles. I’ve just sent you a note directly, so hopefully it’ll reach you. Sorry for the frustration/inconvenience, but thank you for persisting! I will reward you with many, many stamps. 😀

  61. i learned more geography and some politics and some mythology too while my grandad showed me his stamp collection before i even went to school – besided which many stamps are beautiful little works of art

    • Ah, yes — I forgot to mention mythology! Greece (not surprisingly) has some especially wonderful series on the topic. In any case, I’m glad my post brought back some fond memories.

  62. Love this post! I collect stamps as well – i was passed down my grandparents collection that is especially heavy on old USSR stamps. Your post inspired me to go back and look at them again – its been quite a few years!
    Alyssa

  63. Loved your post; loved that your father has given you such an incredible gift that you can share with the world; loved your fascinating stories – has made me think further. Blessings.

    • Thank you so much for your very kind comment! Especially the comment about my father, who has given me so many (many) gifts over the years. He will be very pleased to hear that someone commented on that fact. Blessings to you too!

  64. When helping my stepmom clean out the house for her upcoming move, we found my dad’s stamp collection. It’s been on a shelf in my closet the past year. This makes me want to get it out and take a look.

    If anyone needs me tomorrow, I’ll be in my office looking at old stamps. Most are pre-1950.

  65. This is a great read, I still have my stamp collection from collecting when I was a kid. Taught me quite a bit about different countries, and different graphics styles. Definitely going to hang on to it even if I don’t take it up again.

    • I’m glad you’ve decided to hang on to your collection, curlykiwi. If yours is anything like mine, it’s full of memories from your childhood — which is priceless. And great point about the different styles of graphics! I didn’t fully appreciate that as a kid, of course, but now that I’ve learned a bit about design and typography, I see my collection in a new light. Anyway, thank you so much for stopping by, and especially for your kind words.

    • Hmmm. Would you consider doing your own blog post, and sending me the link? (I very much liked your post about tennis, by the way. 🙂

        • Wow … that was fast! Thank you!!
          I wrote a comment on your (great) post, but here it is again in case you don’t see your post’s comments right away:
          How wonderful that you inherited your uncle’s collection! He would be pleased to know that you are treating it with such care — and probably honored to know that he inspired you to carry on collecting.
          Looking at his stamps, I’m guessing he collected them mostly from correspondence (because most are cancelled or show other signs of use/wear). If there are a couple that are creased or folded, it’s fine to unfold them. But otherwise I would discourage you from trying “to bring them back to their best quality.” This is because sometimes the cancel marks can be even more valuable than the stamp itself! It’s a bit like the advice they give antique collectors: If something old has a patina, don’t try to “clean it up,” because it’s often that patina which can only be acquired with age that makes an object interesting or unique.
          It also looks like you have stamps from all over the planet, which is marvelous. There are lots of different ways to organize a collection. The most obvious of course is by country, but you can also arrange them by topic (monarchs, monuments, cars, events, etc) or even by color, depending on your interests.
          In any case, the best — and only — advice I can give you is to have fun with your collection. That’s really the most important reason to pursue any interest or hobby. 🙂
          Thank you for this wonderful post, and for sharing a bit of your uncle’s collection.
          Cheers to you!

    • I’m so glad you liked this post, Zully! And i hope it has given you some ideas for your own collection. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  66. I like collecting stamps myself…but my collection isn’t as nearly as neat and tidy as your’s is! Plus, they don’t have a special container all to themselves, they are repasted into my current journal and only those stamps that grab my attention get a special place in my journal.

    • Thank you for saying my collection is neat, Charlie — it’s taken me years to get it more or less tidy! And i think your idea of putting just your favorite stamps in your journal is wonderful! It must make your journal very personally meaningful and special indeed.

  67. Heres to crazy stamp collecting nerds, (uh hum, such as my self)…I collect just in case one day I happen to come across one that would set me up in money for the rest of my life (and perhaps my children too), but basically its just good clean fun! Embrace your inner geek, heres to finding one expensive, or extremly funny stamp!!!

    • I’ve long since given up on becoming wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice thanks to some single rare stamp (because believe me, I’ve looked! :). But the laughs and the good memories have been a rich reward all their own. Thank you so much for stopping by, and happy collecting to you!

  68. Great post! My collection is from my Opa and so I have some funny ones too like the dumb ways to die. Neen to do more research on my collection. Thanks gor the inspiration.

    • Thanks very much, Ken! Even if I’m up to my elbows in stamps, YOUR album certainly sounds intriguing! I was always drawn to first-day covers because of their rarity — so in my eyes, it’s quite a treasure you have on your hands. 🙂

  69. I remembered asking my dad how to keep the stamps from turning yellow…and he told me they ARE SUPPOSED to turn yellow. haha. Thanks for this post, it turns back the clock for me.

    • Yellowed stamps certainly have a “vintage” sort of appeal for some people — but if you store your stamps in an archival binder or album and protect them from too much air exposure and light, that can help reduce the oxidation and yellowing. But regardless of the color of your stamps, I’m so glad this post brought back some happy old memories for you. Cheers!

  70. Amazing collection! I did collect stamps while I was younger, but never expected to be able to learn so much from stamp collecting alone.

    • I think stamp collecting is like a lot of things that we do when we’re young but can only fully appreciate many years later, when we’re older. It was certainly that way for me, anyway! Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your kind comment.

      • It’s sad though not I haven’t found the time or energy to reignite this passion. I do hope I can learn to find value in these little things in the future too 🙂

  71. I wish I could send you my old collection….it’s sat untouched since my senior year of college, and I have no one to pass it to. I even have a full collection from the British Empire of the Coronation of King George VI !

    • I’ve been tremendously honored that two friends passed their collections on to me last year, because I know what that represents. So I would never expect a (virtual) stranger to mail their treasured old stamps to me! That said, your stamps do sound tremendously interesting. Drop me a note if you like at hmunro.wordpress (at) gmail (dot) com and tell me more about them. Regardless, thank you very much for stopping by, and especially for taking the time to comment.

  72. Great post! The stamps you have are fantastic and I love the stories that go with them. I have a small collection and its fascinating to look back at them, it would be hard to move them on. Embrace your inner nerd!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Katie — and for your encouragement to embrace my inner nerd! 🙂 I’m glad you’ve also found stamp collecting rewarding enough that you wouldn’t want to part with your stamps, either. That’s great. Cheers!

    • I’m honored that you liked my piece enough to reblog it, Grant. Thank you! But what I’m even happier about is that, thanks to your comment, I’ve now discovered *your* wonderful blog. It’s superb! A big (culturally appropriate) pat on the back from your newest subscriber.

  73. My Grandad was a stamp collector (probably because he was a postman) and I spent many a happy childhood hour helping him sort the stamps out and carefully placing them in the albums. When he died, I inherited the stamp collection. Reading your blog article has me wondering if perhaps I might interest my four sons – or at least one of them – in expanding upon my Grandad’s collection. Thanks for an interesting and potentially inspirational read.

    • How wonderful that you’re thinking of passing on your Grandad’s legacy to at least one of your sons, Laura. I can’t imagine a more marvelous gift — and I’m very honored that my blog post encouraged you to think of it. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!

  74. I had a big collection at one time too but I sold mine when I moved to another country. For me, it was easy to collect back then, but now more mail is sent electronically rather than by letter. It’s hard to even find post cards any more

  75. A lovely post. You make me want to dig out my old album. Pity I was too dumb to pass on the joys of collecting when my kids were young.

    • Ah, please don’t castigate yourself for not having passed the collecting bug onto your kids — it’s a rare kid who takes to stamps, anyway, especially these days. But I’m glad you still have your old album, and hope you will indeed dig it out and revisit some old memories! But most of all, thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment.

  76. I just spotted your story on Freshly pressed. I like the humour too. You might enjoy my friends post about her stamp collection. Alys is at Gardening Nirvana here at WP. She inherited stamps from her father. A very dear collection since her dad passed away when she was very young. Cheers

    • Thanks so much for your sweet note! I will indeed look up Aly’s post about her inherited stamps … but please pass on my condolences for the loss of her father.

  77. I’m soooo envious of your collection! I used to collect stamps as a kid too…looking at your collection makes me wanna go home to my parents and dig up my own collection too! And oh yes, I blame my ol’ man for getting me hooked to it as a child too…and I loved every minute of it too! 🙂 Such a shame people no longer write to one another.

    • Oh, I do hope you’ll dig up your old collection at your parents’ home — and I hope it’ll lead you on a wonderful trip down memory lane, too! It really is a shame that the written letter has almost disappeared, but I feel lucky to have been alive for that brief flicker in our human history when stamps were a thing. Thank you so much for stopping by, and especially for taking the time to comment.

Leave a Reply to georginnardz89 Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s