Saturday, 1 August 2015

Philately
 
 
 
 
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.


10 comments:

  1. I don't have children, but I love stamp collecting! I mainly focus on Christmas stamps, but like them all. :)

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    1. Hi Tinne, thanks for stopping by. Stamp collecting is something everyone can enjoy, I think. I think it's a bit addictive! :) If you send me your address, I'll send you some of the extra Christmas stamps I have.

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  2. My appreciation for stamps was borne of my of for letters. I've received so many beautiful stamps over the years both on the outside and inside of letters that I've got a nice little collection I would do well to organize. Sometimes when I see a stamp at World Stamp News I think, "Hmm, wouldn't it be nice to get a letter from Denmark (or some other place)." And I must say, I do love stamps of the Queen.

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    1. I must say when I get a letter I have a long look at the stamps before I slit the envelope open. Some of the stamps that come through my letterbox are such tiny works of art you can't help but admire them.

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  3. Some of the stamps I have bought in packets for my collection have been cancelled-to-order - postmarked but with gum. I would much prefer a proper used stamp, one that has conveyed messages to people far and wide. You might not collect many stamps on envelopes sent to you, but I like to think the sender has taken care and consideration in choosing the stamp(s) for postage.
    Two weeks too early, but... Buzz Off!!! ;)

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  4. I've been getting a lot of CTOs too, I'm not thrilled with them, I have to admit. I think they are a bit of a cheat but I keep them all anyway. I've probably got the stamp bug worse than I let on, I clip every last stamp off every envelope and my family clips and saves stamps for me too! I even collect Cinderellas.

    I have already ordered those bee stamps from Royal Mail. I think they are stellar! I know just whose letter I'm going to use them on first too.

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  5. I always love seeing what stamps come from my pen pals. I usually try to put on a variety of stamps, myself, although sometimes I just put on the global forever one out of convenience. I would love to see some of your extras... I wonder if my granddaughter might be interested in collecting? But the only mail she gets is from me... and I live a mile away from her!

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  6. Hi Jeanne, I just posted a letter to you, but I'll get some stamps in the mail for your granddaughter. I hope she will find them interesting. I'm noticing a lot of people theme collecting these days so the hobby of stamp collecting seems to be evolving to embrace a new generation.

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  7. I was an avid stamp collector in my youth. I have recently come across my albums...I lived in Japan for a few years as well...and have many beautiful Japanese stamps. One simple pleasure in life is to buy beautiful stamps to put on my letters. Folks are really missing out when they don't take the extra step of asking to "see" what stamps are available at the post office!

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  8. You are so right. Receiving a letter that has pretty commemoratives on a it just makes me savour it a little longer before I slit open the envelope and take the letter out. We only have one stamp issue a month but the Royal Mail still manages to pack a lot of goodness into each offering. I always ask for commemoratives when I go to the post office, even when I'm mailing a bill.

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