Changes in Stamp Collecting
Twenty years of stamp collecting
Between years of 1989 and 2009 I was involved with stamp collecting. My mother was really the collector, I just collected stamps with her. I was traveling extensively, so I would buy stamps in the cities and countries I had the privilege to visit. While back at home, my Mother was saving every stamp that came through the mail, sorting stamps and looking at those collector catalogs. The internet was just becoming popular. Stamp identification was just starting to become a challenge.
Basic parts of a stamp
To better understand what a collector is looking for when identifying stamps lets first discuss what is the basic parts of a stamp.
Image - a representation of a person or a things
Perforations - to make a hole or holes through
Denomination - a class or kind, having specific name or value
Country name - the whole land or people of a nation
Changes made in stamp designs
Stamp collecting has had several changes over the years. The one that started making identification of the age challenging was in 1975 and the use of a letter instead of a denomination. This began the age when technology was necessary.
1869 the change of a person other than a dead person allowed on the stamp
1854 - 1857 perforations added to the stamp
1975 first use of letter of the alphabet instead of a denomination
1992 self adhesive stamps
2007 April first *Forever* stamp sold
Great Britain is only country that does not have to use the country on their stamp
Encouraging others to be collectors
We had saved new stamps and stamps from every letter we received. We even had stamp collectors from Guam and Germany sending stamps to my Mother. Even one of the organizations I supported would send their newsletters and receipts, from the country of Colombia, so we would have stamps from there. There were a lot of stamps, many of them duplicates. It was from these duplicates my Mother decided to start stamp collections for all her grandchildren to receive on their twelfth birthday. Hoping that their might be another person with Philatelic interests.
Retiring and stamp collecting
After my Mother retired, we spent many hours soaking stamps on baking sheets and peeling excess paper off the stamps. It was an enjoyable task. The only draw back was the wrinkles we had on our fingers from spending so many hours working in water. We would lay the stamps on sheets and sheets of paper towel to dry. We would have paper towels of stamps on just about every flat surface in the house, drying. We would then sort the stamps into piles. Each pile was laid out and the best stamp was kept for my Mothers collection or to be checked with the collection. Then we would pull out the collection and work for hours looking for the section that had that stamp. Comparing the stamps under the magnifying glass looking for the one with the least flaws or the best date. We spent many hours organizing, only to find a new stamp or category of stamp making the need to reorganize. I do not believe we every had that collection fully organized. I really enjoyed the time spent with my Mother and the conversations we had during those times over stamps. One of the many reasons for stamp collecting, sharing time with another person, viewing an item in which both persons are interested.
Technology became a necessity
We would sort by country first, select one image. sort those, then we would sort by denomination. As the years passed, it became more difficult to sort the stamps. This change came about when the denominations were removed in 2007. This is when the aid of the internet became necessary. You could buy a book that was already outdated, or subscribe to a magazine which only covered certain items each month or you had to use the internet. After the denominations was removed you could sort by picture, but what picture came first? There was no date and no ascending number denomination to give you clues.
Future of Stamp Collecting
I sure hope, that someone is writing all the information that the internet holds down on a hard copy, for if something should happen to technology. I know for sure, that stamp collecting will be much harder since 2007 and the induction of the *FOREVER* stamp.