Stamp collecting is apparently one of the world’s most popular hobbies. Many members of the British royal family had been stamp collectors, starting with Prince Alfred and King Edward VII and continuing down to Queen Elizabeth II. Her stamp collection are in ‘Green Albums’. I am not sure if Prince Charles is also a stamp collector or if he will continue the tradition when he becomes king. The Royal Philatelic Collection, are kept at St James Palace, although some items are regularly displayed to the public (for example, at the National Post Museum). To read more about royal stamp collecting, there is a book called The Queen’s Stamps: The Official History of the Royal Philatelic Collection by Nicholas Courtney.
I started stamp collecting in my teens but had first become interested in it when my Grandpa showed me the box of stamps he had saved. In it were stamps from many countries, spanning decades. There were even stamps from Nazi Germany which he (or my Grandma) had clipped from my Grandma’s letters in the 40’s. When both grandparents passed away 5 years ago, I inherited the box of stamps and was determined to keep up the tradition.
Unlike most stamp collectors who collect never been used stamps, I generally cut mine out from envelopes and, more recently, purchase some royal commemorative stamps. I suppose by definition I’m not a real stamp collector – and certainly not a philatelist – as I only save the ones with pretty designs or of significance. Like the coins I save, they are miniature artworks that I find beautiful.
Last year, I met a vendor at the Vancouver Flea Market who specialises in stamps from all over the world. I was able to find some that I wanted to add to my random collection. I purchased some Christmas and English literature stamps from England, and was even lucky enough to be allowed to buy his ‘Princess Grace’ collection (he may have been willing because these were spares). I highly recommend you visit his stalls if you are interested in purchasing some stamps or albums.
One of these days, I will have to find a stamp binder so that I can organise and preserve the stamps. I will probably only ever need one binder but at least I can enjoy my small collection. 🙂