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Stamp Albums Are Special
Funny thing about albums.
First, they hold memories – preserve remembrances of your son’s 10th birthday party somewhere in a busy downtown restaurant in Rio de Janeiro, the volleyball tournament on the beach that hot summer day, the forbidden snap shot of a famous painting in the museum that you got reprimanded for, security guards threatening to boot you out of the premises.
That’s probably the first album you pluck out of the dusty shelves to show to friends – so that you can tell them how a police officer in Paris gave you that stern, warning look and all you could say was “oui, monsieur, je m’excuse.”
Second, this whole thing about albums may have given rise to a craze called scrap booking. An offshoot most likely, but who knows how long it will be around. All of a sudden there are web sites promoting the hobby of scrap booking. Stores in your neighborhood are setting up shop selling all things big and small relating to scrap booking.
But albums and stamp collecting?
Now, there’s a classic. It has remained à la mode, even if it started ages ago, 140 years to be exact.
Stamp collectors have their own specialized albums. And as seasoned and professional philatelists will say, “just make sure you have enough pages in your album to hold a lot of stamps.” Some people have been known to keep more stamp albums than photo albums in their attic.
Stamp collecting is a “mature” hobby – not because its enjoyment is limited to older adults – the shut ins as we like to call them – who derive much pleasure from gazing at the flowers and the trees, the fish in the sea, the airplanes and the towers – not only in their territory but in places as remote as Papua New Guinea and American Samoa.
Stamp collecting is mature hobby because of its colorful role in history, because of how it has evolved into a pastime that has brought joy to millions of people around the world.
Yet stamp collecting has an innocence all its own.
It’s a hobby that stirs something in each collector – a longing to visit foreign lands, a keen investigative sense for print and color errors, a yearning for friendship, and an intellectual curiosity about what other collectors are up to or have discovered.
Photographs in an album preserve those Kodak moments that cannot be re-lived again. They trigger friendly and humorous conversations among cousins and aunts and great grandfathers, and they remind people of what it was like when their hair was curly 10 years ago and not dyed. They bring to mind the tall and lanky years, the awkwardness of a first kiss and oh yes – that toga that was worn with so much pride.
But stamps in an album? How about history, geography, and culture, for starters? How about friendships that know no barriers or frontiers? How about an all consuming passion that never ebbs or flickers?
This is the beauty of stamp collecting. It opens doors, it’s the bottomless well of knowledge, and it’s the pictorial story of a country and its heritage. It’s also about the story of the men and women who work five days a week to deliver our mail.
It’s about stamp dealers who wheel and deal and know all about value and price and rarity. It is or was – once a upon a time, about you and me.
This ebook will take you on a tour of the joys of stamp collecting as a hobby, the terms and symbols used by stamp collectors, the tools you’ll need should you become a collector one day, and how to get started.
There’s also a section for you on the resources you can tap to make your hobby as enjoyable and pleasurable as you want it to be.
And much as we were tempted to include a poem about stamp collecting, we’re not doing it. Because stamp collecting is, in itself a poetic endeavor.
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