Terms & Tips

Philatelic Terms & Tips #1: Accessories

As an English As A Foreign Language (EFL) teacher in southern Thailand, I usually explain that one of the main requirements of a hobby is that some sort of equipment is used. I often need to explain that sleeping is not a hobby although most of my students insist it is their favorite free-time activity. Hobbies are actually a diverse set of activities and it is difficult to categorize them in a logical manner. A recent study by Robert Stebbins categorizes casual leisure and serious leisure by dividing hobbyists into five broad types of activity: collecting, making and tinkering (like embroidery and car restoration), activity participation (like fishing and singing), sports and games, and liberal-arts hobbies (like languages, cuisine, literature).

As we all are aware, collecting includes seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying and storing. This is appealing to many people due to their interest in a particular subject and a desire to categorize and make order out of complexity.

Collecting stamps has its own unique pieces of equipment needed in the pursuit of our hobby. We call these ACCESSORIES. Some accessories are used in varying degrees by all stamp collectors while others may never be used at all by the majority.

A few basic accessories are needed to collect stamps. Tongs are non-striated tweezers used because they are a reliable way to hold and move stamps without damaging or getting skin oils on them. Collectors have a choice in how to store their stamps, many opting for stamp albums using either stamp hinges or more expensive hingeless mounts, while others use stock books which hold stamps in clear pockets without the need for a mount. Magnifiers — either the traditional handheld magnifying glass or the modern digital counterparts — aid in viewing fine details. Other accessories aid in the proper identification of stamps including perforation gauges, watermark detectors, color charts, and UV lamps used to determine tagging varieties. Catalogues and philatelic literature can also be regarded as accessories. Each of these will have their own article in the “Philatelic Terms & Tips” blog series.

General Pursuits

Phila-Bytes #3 [9-23 September 2016]

One of the best things about this wonderful hobby of philately is that I am constantly learning new things — not only about the stamps themselves but about the subjects portrayed upon them, the entities that issued them, and so on. In the course of my daily research for A Stamp A Day, I come across a great number of previously unknown (to me) webpages and blogs, some philatelic in nature, many about history or culture. It can indeed be a bit frustrating as I simply do not have enough time to read everything that I stumble across.

Take blogs, for example.  Just in the past two weeks, I have found (and subscribed) to the following: Barbados Stamps, Executed Today, EWorld Stamps: Worldwide Stamp Collection, My Native Belarus, My Philatelic Passion, and Stamps of Armenia. All are worthy of further perusal. I hope I can find the time someday soon.

One great resource of information on older stamp issues are auction catalogues and I really appreciate firms that archive .pdf versions of their previous catalogues on their website. One such auction house is that of Robert A. Siegel whose catalogue often include introductory essays on the stamps included in a particular auction. Auctions for the 1893 Columbians and Hawaii Missionaries immediately spring to mind. While looking around the site recently, I came across a number of shorter (one- to four-page) summaries of numerous U.S. issues including an excellent timeline of the American postal system from 1632-1792.

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One thing that really fascinates me is the beginnings and evolution of stamp collecting itself. While I have never seen a comprehensive work on the subject, I have come across bits and pieces in the philatelic literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and brief mentions on various websites. I just found a nice site with articles on early collecting in the United States. It’s called Stamping American Memory: Collectors, Citizens, Commemoratives, and the Post — and is a scholarly study of philately in the U.S. I’m looking forward to reading all of the pages.

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A recent article in Linn’s Stamp News reminded me of the Philatelic Truck that traveled around the United States between May 1939 and December 1941, promoting stamp collecting to the youth of America. Because I was never really interested in poster stamps, Cinderella stamps, or local post stamps during much of my philatelic life, I never obtained a copy of the souvenir sheet printed by the Bureau of Engraving & Printing given to visitors to the truck. My collecting interests have, of course, changed over the years and now I am very interested in buying one of these (and will be placing a bid on eBay shortly). It was in my quest to find out more that I came across the Stamping America’s Memory site mentioned above. There is also a book about the truck, the tour and the sheet written by John H. Bruns, a former director of the National Postal Museum, that I’d also like to track down.

Farley and philatelic truck at White House. Washington, D.C., May 9. The Post Office's new philatelic stamp truck which began a tour of the United States today following ceremonies at the White House was given a final inspection by the Post Master General James A. Farely before it started out from the White House. The truck, containing stamp frames of all U.S. stamp issues, a miniature stamp press and souvenir engravings showing the White House, will visit cities and towns in every state of the Union.

There are a number of significant anniversaries coming up in the next few months, including the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the 25th anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. No doubt these will be commemorated philatelicly (but I have yet to see any announcements). Much sooner than those, actually released today (September 9) for the nation’s Stamp Day, is a four-stamp mini-sheet marking the 25th anniversary of Croatian independence which will occur on October 8. One million of the 11 kuna stamp have been printed, bearing a hologram using a special technique to produce a “real 3D” effect — supposedly the first stamps to bear such an image.

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Another recent issue commemorating an anniversary is that of Poland marking the 75th anniversary of the first airdrop by the Cichociemni, elite special-operations paratroops of the Polish Army in exile that were created in Great Britain during World War II to operate in occupied Poland. Designed by Ewa Szydłowsk, the 3.70 złoty stamps were released on September 1 in sheets of 35.

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Much closer to home is a set of three stamps and a mini-sheet to be released by Malaysia on October 21, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Penang Free School. I have fond memories of strolling the campus of PFS while on several visits to George Town several years ago. While I did absolutely nothing philatelic (not even the purchase of a postcard) during these trips, I will definitely purchase this set and accompanying first day covers.

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It’s not often that Royal Mail disappoints me with a stamp design for a subject that I’m interested in, but what’s with the graphic novel approach on the recent Great Fire of London set? The really ugly set of four was released on September 2 to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the fire.

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As a teacher, I avidly collect stamps portraying aspects of my profession particularly those picturing students and/or teachers. I am thrilled with the release earlier this week (September 6) of a set of four plus mini-sheet by Hong Kong Post titled “A Tribute to Teachers.” This is just in time for the annual celebration of Teacher’s Day (September 10) in the Chinese Special Administrative Region. The stamps depict chalkboard drawings, something I used to create on an almost daily basis (most Thai classrooms are now equipped with whiteboards which don’t provide quite the same effect). There is a nice range of products (postcards, maximum cards, presentation pack, regular and color cancellations, etc.) available for this issue.

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Finally, one of my favorite stamp blogs — Big Blue 1840-1940, which covers the classic period of stamp issues as collected in the Scott International Part 1 albums or on Steiner album pages — earlier this week contemplated the question “Which Stamp Album is Best for WW Collectors?.” Blogger Jim, by the way, is almost finished with his survey of the “T” countries with an article at the end of August about the Turks and Caicos Islands. He started the blog about five-and-a-half years ago.

Collecting Worldwide

On Collecting A Stamp From Everywhere

ASFEWcover-PPMy primary collecting focus right now is attempting to obtain A Stamp From Everywhere (ASFEW).  The number of stamp-issuing entities depends on how they are separated out into territories, departments, offices, agencies, and the like. 

When I started this endeavor, I made a spreadsheet based on lists found on the Linn’s Stamp News and Stamp Atlas web sites.  This list had a total of 914 individual stamp-issuing entities.  Since then, I’ve come across an even more complete spreadsheet on the Stamp World History blog that lists more than 3000 stamp-issuers.  Another site I’ve seen claims more than 50,000 (!) but I think that includes many local posts and stamps issued by various schools, youth organizations and the like.

For the time being, I’m striving to complete my original list and my current total includes some 199 different entities.  I started this particular collection just a little over two years ago so I feel I’m doing fairly well.

All of this was inspired by reading a review of an album called The Single Specimen World Gazetteer Stamp Album made by Terra Nova Publishing of Pennsylvania.  This album includes some 600 entities with a space for one stamp from each place, along with a small map and brief synopsis of the stamp-issuer.  These elements all inspired me to start a similar collection, albeit without a “proper” album due to high shipping costs.

As I began going after countries via the worldwide mixed packet route (and, more recently, targeting specific entities), I stored the stamps in blank stock books – a temporary solution until I’d found an album.  After much deliberation on the matter, I recently decided to create my own album – designing pages that I could print as I added new countries and that would eventually be stored in a binder (or several).  The former has proved far easier than the latter!

I tried out a number of free and trial versions of dedicated album page-making software but quickly grew frustrated with the results.  It wasn’t until a month ago that I turned to the familiar Microsoft Word to see if I could create the pages I envisioned using that.  I was very pleased with the ease with which I could design using Word and soon had a nice template in a two-page-per- entity format with a pleasing semi-modern border design. 

I knew I wanted the pages to include flags, maps and coats of arms for each country and it took me a while to balance these elements in an attractive way while still leaving room for the stamps and write-ups.  The left-hand page includes an information box including location, government, estimated population, etc. along with brief political and philatelic histories.  The right-hand page displays the stamp itself along with catalogue number and information, plus a brief write-up of the subject matter portrayed upon it.

It does take me about 90 minutes to create each page once I have the research notes for the write-ups.  Most of this time is taken up by trying to condense the information into an interesting and coherent account of the stamp-issuer’s history.  In the past month, I’ve made pages for seven countries so I am off to a fairly slow start.  When I do have time, it is yet another enjoyable aspect of the hobby for me.

One of the difficulties involved in collecting A Stamp From Everywhere is deciding exactly which stamp should represent the entity.  For many stamp-issuers, the only issues were overprinted stamps from whichever nation had sovereignty over it or they had fairly uniform designs of numerals or monarchs.  In such cases, I tend to go with the earliest released stamp that I can easily afford.  For those countries with a bit more longevity, I desire to show something of their local identity be it culture, clothing or symbols.  So much the better if these are engraved single- or bi-colored stamps as these have always been my favorites.  I try to avoid using issues such as British Commonwealth omnibuses which feature similar designs for all of their colonies.

P1080631Of course, there are many instances where I obtain full sets in order to get at that single representative stamp for a lower overall cost.  Or, I simply fall in love with certain stamp-issuing entities and end up with more than just the one stamp I’d strived for.  As a result I seem to be building something of a general worldwide collection alongside the A Stamp From Everywhere focus.  That is one reason why I’ve finally purchased a proper album after several years of temporary stock book storage.  This album, Scott Modern pages in a Stanley Gibbons binder, hasn’t yet arrived yet but it will bring me full-circle to my earliest collecting days as I’d received my mother’s old Scott Modern as a gift for my tenth birthday.  Little did anybody realize that I’d still be collecting some four decades later…

Happy Collecting.

General Pursuits

The Shipping Dilemma

Living as I do in southern Thailand, the only stamps I can buy locally are new issues from the local post office.  There is not a single stamp shop on the island where I live.  While there are still a few stamp shops remaining in Bangkok, along with at least one large show each year, neither my schedule or budget offer many opportunities for travel to the capital.  Thus, the vast majority of my my collection is built up through online purchases, primarily via eBay auctions.

thailand-stampThis means that I am constantly having to take into consideration the shipping costs of whatever stamps I want to bid on.  This is also the reason that I rarely purchase much-needed supplies such as catalogues or album binders and even things like mounts and stock books fall by the wayside.  While my inventory records only the base purchase price for each stamp, my philatelic-purchasing budget needs to factor in costs with shipping included.

Since I’m more or less a general worldwide collector but striving for A Stamp From Everywhere, the majority of my purchases are packets of mixed counties or larger regional lots.  In these purchases, I like to keep the per-stamp cost between two and ten cents.  Not only do I have to watch the bid amounts for deals but also the shipping costs.  It’s wonderful when I find a seller with many different items I want to bid on and can then combine postage.

I am a bit leery, however, of the increasing number of auctions that offer “free” international shipping.  Out of hundreds of items purchased via eBay, the only two that never arrived (and paid for on the same day) had touted free shipping — one in Canada, the other coming from Hong Kong.  After contacting the sellers, each offered to send a replacement.  Neither of those arrived.  Luckily, the items in question were both very inexpensive postcards so it was no great loss.  But still…

I have been very lucky with stamp purchases making it all the way (from all over the world) to Phuket, Thailand.  The average travel length is around three weeks to a month which isn’t too bad, all things considered.  Mail arrives much faster from the UK than anywhere else with Scandinavia and Germany coming closely behind.  Canada is way up there as well (usually) but the United States is definitely the slowest; I suspect the NSA has something to do with the slowness of the mail from America.  The odd thing is that once the stamps arrive in Bangkok, it takes up to eight days to reach me here in Phuket.  I haven’t quite figured out where the breakdown in service lies but I do know the postman whose route I’m on doesn’t get replaced when he goes on holiday!

I’ve decided that faster shipping methods aren’t really worth the additional expense.  Something sent “Priority Mail” or “Airmail” takes about the same time as those sent via “Surface Mail” (AKA, the slow boat method).  I’d just rather have more money to spend on the stamps themselves.  If something does come up missing, I can always request a refund and buy another copy of whatever stamps didn’t arrive.  I don’t buy very many unique items so that’s not really a problem.

At least it is possible to find good shipping costs on stamps if I spend enough time comparing between auctions.

Supplies are another matter altogether, particularly heavy items such as albums and catalogues (I’ve finally given up on album pages, deciding to download, design my own and then print out what I need when I need it).

A binder worthy of holding a stamp collection is extremely difficult to find here in Phuket.  There are a number of office supply stores around the island but it’s an exercise in frustration to simply find a three-ring binder and forget about four-ringed or more.  The vast majority have a pair of D-rings towards the center of the spine; I’d say these are spaced about 2 inches apart causing whatever they are holding to curve towards the center and to tear at the holes.  The few three-ring binders I’ve found are in cheap and ugly vinyl which is not exactly something I want to house my collection in.  Recently, I did find a “presentation notebook” of fake leather that looked okay but it was less than an inch wide and would probably hold no more than 15 or 20 pages and interleaving.

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Nope, I had to search online.  The problem with that, other than high shipping costs, was that it was difficult to tell the size of the albums and the quality.  I’d love to be able to afford Davo hingeless albums once again (I used to have several of these) but their already expensive base cost is compounded by an even more expensive shipping cost.  The same for other binders I’ve used before such as Scott Internationals and others.  In the midst of all this, I came across an auction at the beginning of May for a Stanley Gibbons Simplex album containing a worldwide collection.  Although not mentioned in the listing, the photos revealed that the stamps were mounted on pages from an old Scott Modern album which happened to be my first album, received on my tenth birthday from my mother who had collected using it during World War II.  The shipping cost was much more reasonable than I’d seen for similar items so I put in a bid and eventually won it.  Still awaiting it’s arrival from Ontario, Canada, and wondering if Thai Customs will try to bilk me out of some more baht when it arrives.

$_3-1My next heavy-to-ship target involves catalogues.  I have a 2009 version of Scott on PDF plus the Stanley Gibbons Commonwealth 1840-1952 catalogue in the same format.  I have an older Thai catalogue which I plan to replace soon as well as recent editions of the Stanley Gibbons Collect British Stamps and Michel Junior.  I’d really love to obtain the latest edition of the Scott Classic 1840-1940 in hardcover but I may have to dream a while longer for that one.  I also need to forget about adding any of the great philatelic literature that exists for subjects I’m most interested in. 

The shipping dilemma also makes the joining of philatelic societies a little iffy.  I really like those that offer a PDF version of their journals for overseas members as this really does (usually) cuts down on the annual membership dues.  But there are many who continue to have just a physical form of their journal (don’t get me wrong — I prefer to read a real book or magazine much more than via Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar) and the membership costs skyrocket as a result.

On the plus side, most of my stamp purchases arrive in envelopes covered with interesting stamps, many of which are eventually soaked and added into my collection with a few choice covers left intact.

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Happy Collecting.

Album Pages

Stamp Album Pages

There are basically four types of stamp album pages — commercial pages in a variety of styles and sizes with pre-printed spaces, blank commercial pages, the print-your-own variety available online, and those you make yourself either via software (dedicated or adapted) or by hand.

Most of us started out collecting by filling spaces in a commercial pre-printed album.  A beginning stamp collector’s goal is usually to “collect the world,” attempting to fill all of the spaces in such an album.  But with time the challenge of filling the album eventually becomes too daunting and the collector begins to look elsewhere for inspiration.  Often, they then start to “specialize,” perhaps purchasing a pre-printed country album with the stamps of their own country often being the focus.

One can purchase the pre-printed pages independent of the binder (and slipcase, if one prefers) and at times it seems that there are as many different kinds of pages as there are stamps.

Some collectors just can’t find a fit for their own interests amongst the pre-printed pages and so choose to mount their collections on blank pages or use these to supplement the filling spaces variety.  Many have borders and styles matching the most popular of the pre-printed variety — same sizes and paper-weight and are handy for including additional material not covered by the printed spaces.  This material might include blocks and other multiples, booklet covers, postal history or first day covers, ceremony programs, etc.  The only limitations are the collector’s imagination.

Personally, I’m a bit overwhelmed by the huge amount of commercial pages available and could never decide which was best.  Many times it came down to border style as I prefer the classic look with nicely embellished borders and title page headings.  Living as I do in Thailand, however, the primary concern is shipping costs (a dilemma which plagues me in almost all of my philatelic pursuits but particularly when it comes to supplies).

Thus, we come to the print-your-own variety of album pages.  There are many online sources of album pages including a number sold via DVD on eBay.  Some philatelic societies offer specialized pages to members and some offer topical and general pages free to everyone.  A great source of interesting and colorful pages on a variety of (primarily) American topics is the website of the American Philatelic Society.  The American Air Mail Society offers downloadable pages for a complete U.S. airmail collection.

The most popular online source of print-your-own pages is Bill Steiner’s Stamp Album Web, claiming to offer pages for every stamp-issuing entity that has existed.  Bill and his partners created pages that include spaces for every Scott-listed stamp issued by each of these entities with correctly-sized boxes (usually the only illustrations are various overprints rather than the stamps) and plain borders.  This amounts to more than 80,000 pages — 6,500 for the classic era alone. The stamps are in Scott catalogue order (the numbers aren’t included due to licensing issues) and it’s fairly easy to figure out which stamp goes in which space.  A collector can purchase an annual subscription to the site for US $30 which allows him full access to download and print everything he needs or wants, along with any updates.  A CD-ROM is also available at the same price as the annual site membership (both can be purchased for US $40).  The CD includes every album page on the site which is handy if you want everything but don’t have the bandwidth to download it all.

Many collectors create their own pages, traditionally using borderless commercial pages or other stock, meticulously drawing their border designs, measuring and drawing boxes, hand-lettering all titles and legends.  It was time-consuming work and difficult to balance all of the design elements; this was aided somewhat by using quadrilled pages.  The reward was often great, however, due to the pride of artistry.

Most philatelists who create their own pages nowadays do it on their computers using a variety of software.  There are several dedicated programs available which include several page border styles and whose main advantage are the ability to properly size and place (balance) the stamp boxes.  Other collectors tend to adapt software that they are already familiar with in order to create their pages.  The most popular are word-processing programs such as Microsoft Word; there are others who swear by Microsoft Publisher or PowerPoint.  It was, in fact, a tutorial on using PowerPoint written by Michael Adkins of the fabulous Dead Countries blog and published on the Stamp Bears online forum that led me to try my hand at designing my own pages.

In the end, I decided that I was more comfortable creating the pages using Word and that is what I am now using for making “A Stamp From Everywhere” pages.  I decided on a two page per country format, one for a brief political history along with a location map and the other displaying the single stamp I’ve chosen for that particular stamp-issuing entity plus information about the subject portrayed.  Now that I have my designs more or less standardized, the most difficult part is condensing the write-ups into the limited space.

I will write about my personal experiences in designing album pages in a future blog.

Happy Collecting.

General Pursuits

Introducing My Philatelic Pursuits

Welcome to my “Philatelic Pursuits.”  Allow me to introduce myself and this blog.

My name is Mark Jochim and I was born in Texas.  For the first 40 years of my life, I lived in the United States where I collected stamps off and on from the age of ten.

A decade ago, I made a very big change in my life. I became a teacher of English As A Second Language (ESL) and moved to Phuket, an island in southern Thailand.

I recently returned to the world of philately and occasionally wrote about the hobby on a blog called Asian Meanderings.  At the end of each month, I summarized my stamp collecting activities in a wrap-up called “Philatelic Pursuits.”

However, I feel that writing about stamps distracted from the main focus of Asian Meanderings which is to record my life as an expat in Southeast Asia. Thus, I have decided to create a stamps-only blog.

This will give me an opportunity to write in greater detail about my interests in various areas of philately as well as share some of my experiences trying to collect stamps while adjusting to a new culture and language. Along the way, there may be occasional how-to articles, collecting tips, country and topical profiles, new additions to my collection and much more.

One of the primary reasons I enjoy the hobby is that I am constantly learning new things — not only about the stamps themselves, but the issuing entities, the subjects they portray, the history they represent.

Starting out in the hobby, first in rural Tennessee and then in northeastern Kansas, I was a general worldwide collector.  Back then I had a Scott Modern Album, 1938 edition; my mother had mounted her stamps in it when she lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, during the Second World War. 

By the time I was a teenager, I owned a World Traveler Album and had also started my first two country collections — the United States and the United Nations (New York issues) — using H.E. Harris albums before graduating to Scott Specialty albums. 

In my twenties and early thirties, I put together nice collections of Great Britain, the Faroe Islands and Åland in Davo hingeless albums.  I also became extremely interested in the postal history of the Western United States, particularly New Mexico where I was living at the time.

As I approached the age of forty, I’d all but abandoned the hobby and when my life took a turn and the opportunity presented itself for a “reboot” in Southeast Asia, the old collections were sold in order to finance my move.  It wasn’t until I was settled in Thailand that I returned to stamp collecting. It’s only been in the past couple of years that I’ve really devoted a lot of time and effort in furthering my philatelic pursuits.

So, what do I collect now?

My return to philately following perhaps fifteen years of non-activity found me concentrating on the stamps of Thailand.  After all, it was my new home.  There happens to be a philatelic museum rather close to my apartment in the provincial capital of Phuket; while the displays aren’t very interesting it’s the best place at which I can purchase new issues.  As always in my personal collecting history, I became more interested in the classic stamps (when the nation was still known as Siam) and now have a decent collection ranging from the first general issues of 1883 up to the most recent releases.

Currently, I’m having a lot of fun collecting “A Stamp From Everywhere”.  Since there have been more than 3000 stamp-issuing entities since 1840, according to the list on Stamp World History, this will keep me busy for a very long time.  I’ve just started designing my own album pages for this collection, something I’d never done before.

In fact, I’m enjoying the page design process so much that I’m starting to think about another collection that I’m tentatively calling “My Life in Stamps.”  The idea is to include some philatelic and/or postal history representation of each place that I’ve lived, perhaps places I’ve visited (or want to visit), stamps portraying significant events that have occurred during my lifetime, other interests (such as favorite books and authors), and anything else I think might be fun.  Since I turn 50 years old later this year, this can serve as a personal commemoration of my first half-century.

My modest collection is currently housed in a few small stock books.  Supplies are hard to come by in Thailand!

There are a number of countries that I dabble in, mostly what I’d call mini-collections of countries that I became interested in merely by following my “A Stamp From Everywhere” pursuits.  Amongst those I enjoy are places as far flung as the Falkland Islands, Pitcairn, Bohemia and Moravia, German East Africa, Penang, and Barbados.  In a way, I’ve almost come full-circle in that I could consider myself a general worldwide collector once again albeit without a proper album.  I need to remedy that fairly soon…

I also have a few topically-themed mini-collections although most of them consist of very few stamps but with the desire to obtain many more.  These include ocean liners on stamps (particularly the Titanic and the Cunard Queens); stamps marking the 50th anniversary of the ascent of Mount Everest (I met Sir Edmund Hillary in London on that particular anniversary); stamps portraying various aspects of education (students, teachers, schools, etc.); stamps and covers related to the territorial period of New Mexico; stamps portraying Charles Lindbergh and/or the Spirit of St. Louis, The Wright Brothers; Mark Twain and Charles Dickens (or characters from their books); and stamps marking the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

I don’t really consider myself to be a specialist in anything.  I don’t go out seeking color shades (unless it’s a major catalogue number — I primarily use Scott but I also have Stanley Gibbons and Michel catalogues on hand); I don’t check for fly-speck varieties.  I do somewhat prefer postally used copies for classic era stamps simply because the stamp has done the job it was designed for — the conveyance of the mail — but only if the postmark is clear and doesn’t obscure the design of the stamp.  For unused stamps, I don’t mind if there are hinge marks or even if the stamp is missing it’s gum up to a certain era (remember, the earliest philatelists used to paste their stamps into albums using gum of Arabic and similar adhesives).

Finally, I also collect postcards, particularly those sent to me via Postcrossing and the like.  I have another blog where I write about those.  If you’re interested, “Please, Mr. Postman!” is waiting…

I hope that you find this blog enjoyable.  Perhaps you will learn something interesting or decide to start a new collection based on something you read here.  Perhaps you will have further information you can provide to expand my own limited knowledge.  I always encourage you to leave a comment, a suggestion, a correction, or an addition.

Happy Collecting.