Friday, November 16, 2018

Places That Don't Exist Anymore

For the past 5 to 6 years, since I began with mail art/snailmailing, I've become increasingly interested in old postage stamps. When I was a very young kid in the late 50s, I started collecting stamps...but family changes, moves, etc. put the kibosh on that hobby.

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.

5 comments:

john said...

Fun reading about what you are doing with your stamps! Organizing takes so much time. I love it when I am done. :-)

tgarrett said...

When I was in upper elementary school I collected stamps had an album- have no idea what happened to that. I have a box of stamps now that I go through once in a while and I have a wonderful card that you sent me a few years ago using the stamps for the heads on bodies- in this case two little boys. Thinking of you.

Carol Cohn said...

How neat is that!!!! Very exciting. :)

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

There is something soothing about "saving" vintage items from extinction. I never had an interest in collecting stamps, but I admit that I do have some around here somewhere, probably picked up at a flea market long ago.

Happy Thanksgiving.
xx, Carol

Connie Blackburn said...

Hi Constance Rose, I’m Constance Marie. I just came across your lovely art via Pinterest. I’ll have to catch up through your blogposts as I don’t have instagram. I picked up a bag of stamps recently at an antique store and would like to incorporate them into my journals. I love your art room by the way. ❤️