Stamp Collecting 2023 Stamp Collecting

Our thoughts on Stamp Collecting

"It exposes her to the wider world, teaches her about geography, history and art, gets her thinking about ways of approaching and depicting subjects and events." So said one father about the benefits for his young daughter of stamp collecting. Through stamps, schoolchildren, businesspersons, laborers, artists, and retired people all enjoy something in common with royalty, entertainers, politicians, industrialists, and business giants. Stamp collecting has been called the "hobby of kings" because so many famous individuals have been avid collectors. The stamp collector appears in every walk of life. You might picture the young stamp collector as a future accountant, librarian or other profession that requires thoroughness, concentration and cataloguing abilities.

Philately, or stamp collecting, is one of the world's most popular hobbies - there are known to be millions of collectors worldwide. What is it that has men, women and children excitedly scanning catalogs, visiting post offices on the first day of issue of new stamps, feverishly swapping with other collectors, joining stamp chat boards and excitedly hunting down that last stamp to complete a series? The type of child who wants to get every baseball card for a particular team or season often goes on to collect stamps.

Since the first postage stamp, the Penny Black, was issued in Great Britain in 1840, people have been buying stamps and storing them in ways appropriate in their time. Collections are often handed down through generations (just ask Queen Elizabeth II) and many collectors fondly recall sitting at a table examining stamps under a magnifying glass with parents or older siblings. The zeal is often transmitted from parent to child, and sometimes, to grandchildren. Today avid collectors may access print catalogs, internet resources such as websites and stamp chat boards or attend stamp shows to find exactly what they're looking for. While some collectors simply enjoy the search-and-find aspect of modest philately, others dream of finding that one-in-a-million rarity. And, who knows? It could be you!

Although storage methods are now more sophisticated - at one stage stamps were stuck directly to an album page, forever to be adhered! Collecting remains a quiet, exacting but exciting hobby. Parents might struggle to comprehend a kid's fervor for game consoles, but stamp collecting is truly understandable for all the family. And while the world is larger, with many more countries producing fascinating stamps, the hobby has actually changed little since the 1800s. Some basic and inexpensive tools will be needed: tongs, a magnifying glass, perhaps a perforation gauge, proper storage, a means to research . . . a hunger for new knowledge and an appreciation of minutiae. And the first stamp in a collection need not cost more than $1, if the stamp appeals to the collector for any reason.

There are now so many countries in the world and each produces so many stamps that a complete worldwide collection would run to thousands of volumes. Therefore, most collectors limit their scope - to a particular country, or a particular historical period, or to a type of stamp, or to a theme or subject matter such as birds or inventors or music or writers (called topical stamps). While details like watermarks, perforations, paper differences and printing errors excite some collectors, others are lured by the quality of the image or design.

Family albums through the generations show the progression in the way people collect stamps. In the first half of the 20th century ambitious collectors wanted to assemble worldwide collections, comprised of the stamps of every country in the world. The Italian Count Philipp von Ferrary (1850 - 1917) dedicated his considerable fortune to the purchase of stamps and probably had the largest collection ever assembled. These worldwide collections are fascinating archives. One collector recalls his father's collection - "It was full of stamps from countries like Ceylon, Rhodesia, Sikkim and Transjordan which no longer exist." A journey through an old stamp album shows you graphically how the world's map has changed.

What does a stamp collector look like?

Here are some stamp collectors whose names you might recognize:

John Lennon:

Future Beatle Lennon began his hobby at about the age of 10, collecting 550 stamps from several countries including India, the United States and New Zealand. The collection was bought by the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. for $53,000 in 2005.

Warren Buffet:

Investor and businessman Warren Buffet has indicated many times in interviews that he collects stamps. Indeed, stamp collecting and investing have some commonalities. Buffett's wealth savvy came, in part, from his childhood interest in stamp collecting. Through numerous activities, the would-be Oracle of Omaha amassed the equivalent of $53,000 by the time he was 16. One such enterprise: he sold stamps. If you needed a fancy stamp, you could turn to Buffett's Approval Service, which sold collectible stamps to collectors around the country. Buffett collects classic stamps of the United States of America.

Dwight D. Eisenhower:

President Dwight D. Eisenhower collected stamps in his youth. His collection is in The Spellman Museum in Weston, Massachusetts.

Freddie Mercury:

Freddie Mercury was a British musician, best known as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the rock band Queen. Stamp collecting since he was 12 years old, when Mercury died of AIDS complications in 1991, his father sold his philatelic collection. In the winter of 1993, the Freddie Mercury stamp collection was purchased by the British Royal Mail for ₤3,220 and the proceeds of the sale went to an AIDS charity.

Bill Gates:

Bill Gates is one of the founders of the personal computer revolution and has been the richest man in the world for most of the past many years due to Microsoft's enterprise and power. According to some sources, in addition to his numerous other collections (Leonardo da Vinci writings, collectible cars, fine art), Gates has an interest in philately and a collection of stamps.

Nicolas Sarkozy:

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy's growing stamp collection is helped by fellow heads of state, including Queen Elizabeth II of England. When Sarkozy made state visits, his fellow heads of state often presented him with valuable stamps and other philatelic material, as it is common knowledge he is an enthusiastic collector.

Ronnie Wood:

Ronnie Wood, the lead guitarist of The Rolling Stones, took up stamp collecting as he completed alcohol rehabilitation. Claiming life without booze was "boring," Wood now occupies his time with heavy all-night bouts of philately (better known as stamp collecting). So instead of pouring himself a drink, Wood spends his days poring over his impressive collection of rare postage stamps. Reportedly, Wood has assistants regularly seeking out new finds.

Jascha Heifetz:

World renowned violinist Jascha Heifetz was a topical or thematic collector who mainly collected stamps depicting music. His collection is in The Spellman Museum in Weston, Massachusetts.

Maria Sharapova:

Former world No. 1 Russian professional tennis player, Sharapova has won three Grand Slam titles and has been collecting stamps since she was a little girl. Traveling around during tournaments and endorsement deals gave her a chance to gather stamps from other countries. Apparently she is not too happy about her hobby of stamp collecting coming out. She states, "Oh, stop. Everyone's calling me a dork now. We're getting emails from, like, stamp collecting magazines asking if I can do an interview. I mean, it's just a hobby." Her agent has banned her from talking about her stamp collecting as he was worried it will make her look like a nerd and not fit into the image of her he is trying to build.

Theodore E. Steinway:

Steinway (1883 - 1957), of the famous Steinway piano family, was a member of the Collectors Club of New York and Board of Trustees of the Philatelic Foundation. In 1952, Steinway was awarded the first Lichtenstein Medal for his efforts in the field of philately as well as his contributions to the growth and prestige of the Collectors Club. Steinway was perhaps the first prominent stamp collector to embrace topical or "thematic" collecting. He mainly collected stamps depicting music.

Francis Spellman:

Francis Joseph Cardinal Spellman (1889-1967), Archbishop of New York from 1939 to 1967, was created a cardinal in 1946. He was a topical collector who collected stamps depicting religion. His collection is in The Spellman Museum in Weston, Massachusetts.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt:

FDR had more than 1 million stamps in his collection. U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt was an avid stamp collector. His collection contained about 1,250,000 stamps. He also designed several American commemorative stamps while President. He stated, "Stamp collecting dispels boredom, enlarges our vision, broadens our knowledge, makes us better citizens and in innumerable ways, enriches our lives." FDR's stamp box, reportedly a frequent companion

Philipp von Ferrary:

Philipp von Ferrary (1850 - May 20, 1917) was a legendary stamp collector, assembling probably the most complete worldwide collection that ever existed or is likely to exist. Among his extremely rare stamps were the singular Treskilling Yellow of Sweden and the British Guiana 1856 One-Cent, Black on Magenta. No person since has owned both of these stamps at the same time.

Anatoly Karpov:

Anatoly Karpov is a Soviet and Russian Chess Grandmaster and former World Chess Champion. He is passionate about collecting stamps. He states, "For me philately must not be an individual, "secret" hobby. It gives me the opportunity to meet a lot of people internationally, interesting people out of the chess world, and it remains one of the most satisfying parts of my life."

While President Franklin Roosevelt may have been the most famous U.S. collector, other well-known collectors include astronaut Henry Hartsfield; actors Gary Burghoff, James Earl Jones and Patrick Dempsey; author James Michener; the explorer Jacques Cousteau; the aviator Amelia Earhart; and cartoonist Garry Trudeau.

Most individuals collect for relaxation and enjoyment although many secretly hope that they will discover a rare and elusive stamp that will make them wealthy. As stamps are miniature works of art, it's nearly impossible to collect them without gaining a large amount of knowledge.

Collecting stamps is a hobby for millions of people and an investment for a tiny number of them. Regal Collectibles does not recommend "investing" in stamps - rare or otherwise - but we highly recommend collecting them as a hobby. The stamp world can produce astonishing headlines: The 2010 sale of a single Swedish "Treskilling Yellow" set a then-record for the world's most expensive single stamp. Though the exact selling price has not been made public, it is estimated to have been more than $3 million, an amount now surpassed by other stamp sales. Like many hobbies, stamp collecting can help broaden one's social life by connecting buyers, sellers and like-minded individuals.


If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Stamp Collecting can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. Our job is to make you feel comfortable and prideful about your collections.