News, Views, Facts, Puzzles and More
Philately is one of the biggest trends at the moment, with millennials falling in love with the hobby. We asked some of our young PTS Members their thoughts on collecting.
I got into stamp collecting because my Grandad is a stamp collector. He collects new issues from the Royal Mail and has done for many years, but often used to put them in his study drawer and forget about them. So one day, in my early teens, I decided to get them all out and put them in order, and we started going to Corbitts stamp shop in Newcastle to fill in the gaps. I still had some of my stamps that I had collected when I was young, and came across an album page of attractive bi-coloured stamps from Queen Victoria that were over 100 years old and I had only paid the princely sum of £2 for them. Intrigued, I looked on Ebay (which was just getting going) and I ended up buying a complete used set of the 1887-1900 "Jubilee" issue for £10. Then I discovered more items from the same issue; mint examples, examples on envelopes (sometimes to exotic destinations), ones with overprints from the British colonies and territories in Africa, and so on, and it developed from there.
Auctions Manager Mayfair Philatelic Auctions
To the majority of people, stamp collecting is presumed a solitary endeavour reserved for the older members of society – one conjures up an image of a cantankerous grandfather pouring studiously through a dusty and aged album. This image could not be further from the truth, whilst the demographic is not the ‘Instagram’ crowd per se, the industry holds a charm that I haven’t found anywhere else, it isn’t a marketplace it’s a community. Stamps hold history, each piece of paper tells us a story, I often like to think of the many hands they have passed through before they have reached my own and what joy they have brought to those lives, whether a war-time sweetheart receiving a long-awaited letter or the final piece to complete a lifelong collection. Joining Rick Warren and Tim Francis at Mayfair Philatelic Auctions as a relative novice, I am never ceased to be amazed by the breadth of knowledge collecting and selling provides, from history to the geography of long-dead countries, politics and the monarchy to the simple appreciation of the variety of aesthetics through time. The accessibility of material is also a huge benefit, with material starting in the low pounds, anyone can start a collection, even in times like these the marketplace is still strong with most auction houses like us offering free catalogues posted to your home and material for sale on their website. To those considering giving it a whirl, I cannot recommend it highly enough, stamp collecting is so much more than just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle - and I’m sold.
Junior Philatelic Specialist
My Philatelic journey began in 2015 when I bought my first stamp, a Presentation Pack commemorating the 175th anniversary of the Penny Black, the world’s first postage stamp. I continued to collect during University. Two months after leaving University in 2018 I received a marketing email from Stanley Gibbons at the bottom of this email there was a small advert for a vacancy in the Auction Department for a Specialist. Thinking I had nothing to lose I applied, two interviews and two weeks later, I had a job!
When I started at Stanley Gibbons I left my old modern GB collection behind after and began to collect British Indian stamps. It seemed a natural place to start as I had studied the British Raj at University, and my dissertation concerned the Mountbatten Viceroyalty. I now have quite a sizable collection of Indian stamps and postal history from 1854 to 1947. I recently acquired a cover from the Hill station Mussoree including the original letter from 1861. The letter is a fun read, a long note of Victorian gossip between two sisters.
My favorite aspects of philately and stamp collecting are that stamps encapsulate a number of subjects ranging from: history, social history, economics, politics, science and art. Stamps truly have something for everyone. The second aspect of Philately which may surprise the readership is that stamp collecting is actually a very sociable hobby. There are hundreds of local collector societies, specialist societies, and global reaching societies such as The Royal Philatelic Society and there are many local and national shows and exhibitions held right across the country and the world. I have met many collectors including some female collectors, and have seen some incredible collections and you always learn a tremendous amount just by talking or reading about each other’s collections.