Published on September 23rd, 2019 | by Sam Rose
Stamp Collecting – But With A Modern Twist
How did stamp collecting first begin and could it now become a hobby adopted by a more technology aware generation? Find out in our latest article on Post Office Shop Blog!
Many proud philatelists will tell you that stamp collecting or philately has been a hobby taken up by generation after generation since it’s humble beginnings.
But as we now move into the final few months of 2019, has the hobby now began to change with the modern times?
And just how exactly did stamp collecting become such a popular and often lucrative hobby in the first place?
How Stamp Collecting Began
When taking a step back in time to discover just exactly when the ideas behind stamp collecting first began, many have suggested that we should look towards the very first known stamp collector, John Bourke.
John was known as the Receiver General of Stamp Dues in Ireland and in 1774, assembled a book containing the existing embossed revenue stamps at the time.
The stamps within this book ranged in value from denominations of 6 pounds to half a penny and also included the hand stamped charge marks that were often used with them.
Moving on through the years, postage stamp collecting grew and grew in popularity, to the point of where by 1860, stamp collectors had taken up the hobby in areas such as Europe, the European colonies, the United States and other places in the world.
The real spark which ignited the passion for stamp collecting however is said to come from the introduction of the very first postage stamp, the Penny Black.
Issued in Britain during May 1840, the Penny Black stamp pictured a profile portrait of a young Queen Victoria and was unique due to the fact it was produced without perforations.
This meant that the stamps had to be cut from the sheet in order to be put into use, which has consequently led to its high value that has become commonplace today.
Used examples of the Penny Black stamp are fairly common in today’s market, selling in values ranging from around £16 to £160 based just on their condition alone, whereas unused Penny Black stamps have become invaluable to stamp collectors due to their extreme rarity.
After this, it became clear that the stamp collecting bug was present in society, with the earliest and most notable example being John Edward Gray, a British zoologist who claimed he had “began to collect postage stamps shortly after the system was established and before it had become a rage.”
Stamp Collecting in Today’s World
Today, stamp collecting has been considered to be a slightly less popular hobby than it once was by the media, with estimates that the global number of stamp collectors now stands at around 60 million to 200 million.
But whilst this number is considered to have dropped over the years, stamp collecting has retained its title of one of the world’s most popular indoor hobbies to take up.
A recent BBC article on the subject perhaps evidences that a younger generation is now becoming interested in stamp collecting and are putting their own technological twist on it.
One of those people highlighted as taking a more digital focused approach to the hobby is Anita Lo.
Having been inspired by her grandfather’s collection of stamps since she was the age of five, Anita now attempts to collect a stamp from every location she visits and keeps track of her collection using more modern means.
“For many people a stamp is just a stamp; it’s the Queen’s face either first or second class but there is so much more to it.
I love scouring antique shops.
When I’m in Barcelona or Prague and I am drawn to all sorts of designs; it could be an appealing flower or something from my birth date but I always like to buy in person to check for stains or dog-eared corners which can devalue them massively”.
Anita shares much of her collection on the popular social media platform Instagram and shares photos of her stamp collecting on the messaging app WhatsApp.
Additionally, she uses an online catalogue to search for items filtered by price or country instead of many of the hard copy directories and catalogues often found at stamp auctions and philately events.
Start your Stamp Collection with Post Office Shop!
Whether you’re inspired by the passion of stamp collectors of old or if the story of Anita’s more tech focused approach has you clamoring to start your very own stamp collection, the Post Office Shop is your one stop shop for all things Stamps and Postage, amongst other things too!
Why not take a look at some of the latest Themed Special Stamps available on our website such as a fitting tribute to the Rocketman with Elton John Special Stamps or a patriotic insight into the grit and determination of the Royal Navy with the Royal Navy Ships collection?
For those motivated by the great outdoors, the Forests Special Stamps collection focuses on the UK’s most iconic and breathtaking woodlands, whilst the colourful and unique Curious Customs Special Stamps issue celebrates some of the UK’s most unusual annual customs!
So what are you waiting for – start your stamp collecting journey with the Post Office Shop today!