Friday, November 16, 2018
Places That Don't Exist Anymore
So I've been ad hoc collecting for a few years now, deciding on which stamps are most appealing to me and swapping, selling or giving away anything else. I've kept my stamps in a 3-ring binder, in those plastic sleeves that hold ATCs or trading cards, 9 slots on a page.
Only recently did I decide I wanted to "formalize" my stamps into a real collection, in albums. I found an old Minkus 1954 International Album at the flea a couple months ago, for $5. And that just whet my appetite.
On Tuesday, I acquired, from my vendor pal, a huge 3-part Scott International Album through the late 1950s, a Scott Minuteman U.S. Album through the late 1980s, 5 or 6 other smaller albums, and 5 or 6 stamp stock books...everything with collections started who knows where or when...for a song. And I'm over the moon.
Slowly, I will work my own collection into the bigger albums, and remove stamps from the smaller albums to do the same. For U.S. stamps, I'm good with the Minuteman Album only going up to the late 1980s. Because I do not like 99% of the "newer issues," meaning stamps that are microlithographed as opposed to engraved (the Bureau of Printing & Engraving stopped issuing engraved stamps in the early 1990s, although many stamps prior to then were not engraved. The Bureau stopped printing stamps altogether in 2005.), and I have no intention of collecting them. Except the very few that I like, which I'll probably keep in a stock book instead of an album.
Not sure what I'll do yet with international stamps beyond the late 1950s. It's unlikely I'll find an album for them, short of buying Scott's now-50 volume World Stamp Album, which wholly sells for close to $14,000! I definitely will not go there, so I 'll probably keep those stamps in the same binder I'm currently housing my collection.
There was a time when I wouldn't have been happy with old albums. But I'm completely satisfied with them now. In fact, it feels like an honor to have acquired collections that were started in the past by I don't know how many people, work on and with them, and pass them on at the end of my life.
I've now got more old stamps than I could ever imagine before, many from countries and regions that no longer exist, and I would bet quite a few of them are very valuable, monetarily. The history in these album pages...an education for sure. Especially in view of how much the world has changed in the past 100 years -- or even 20 years -- I'd much rather have my head in old, vintage stamp albums, continually amazed at the tiny works of art before me, than watch movies or television.