|some of my stamp albums|
I think correspondence and stamp admiration pretty much go hand in hand. At least that is how it is for me. I began collecting stamps and then went on to writing letters. Most of the people I write to make an effort to get the latest commemoratives for their letters, some buy vintage postage to add that retro look, while others incorporate stamps into their mail art. It's a double treat when you get a letter.
When I was younger, even before I had pen pals, I helped my father to clip all the stamps off the Christmas cards we received during the holidays. The dining room table would be filled with stamps newly soaked off the paper. For me, that's a lovely memory, though we won't talk about the imp in me that urged me to gently blow the drying stamps sending a ripple of them across the table...
|My first stamp|
|I carried my stamp in a purse like this|
I got my first stamp when I was six. It was a space stamp and I carried it around with me in my coin purse. It makes me smile to think about it now but it was a treasure to me and is what got me started collecting. Since then stamps have been a constant in my life. It's a hobby my father and I shared and continued to share up until he passed away. I think of my dad when I'm sorting and soaking stamps and I'm glad we had that bond. My son has shown an interest in stamps now which I'm happy about. He has his own album and on rainy days we work on our collections and I hope he will remember it as fondly as I remember working with my father.
I suppose philately is considered old fashioned by some but I don't mind. While my son and I sort our stamps, we look up places we aren't familiar with, we become acquainted with world leaders past and present, prominent buildings and the flora and fauna of particular countries take our fancy and we begin to know different countries by the things and people they celebrate. It's opened the world up to us in a way.
Stamps are an important facet of our cultural history and collecting them is a great way to expose your child to the world around them. Even if you only spend an hour a week on your collection, it's something you can build on and pass on that will create fond memories for your family. The Queen of England continues to add to the stamp collection her father began. (What I wouldn’t give to see that collection!)
If you're looking for a hobby that really doesn't cost much to start, think about philately, but more importantly, introduce your child to it. Through stamp collecting they'll have a better grasp of geography, a subject that isn't dwelt on much at school. The culture and history of other places around the globe will become relevant, and your children may even begin to write letters to get more stamps.
Because stamp collection is dear to my heart, I always encourage people to give it a try, especially young people. I've made up ten packets of stamps to give to those of you who would like to introduce your children to this fun hobby. Just email me at billetdouxandlittlemercuries(at)gmail.com and I'll send one out to you.