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Stamp Collecting Spans Generations

Author: Kathy Manney

If you really want to get to know someone, ask them to tell you about their favorite hobby or collection. Those that collect their preferred collectables are usually passionate about their interest, leading some psychologists to believe that a hobby or collecting as essential for happiness and stability.

Finding an empty space is difficult for John, a longtime stamp collector who resides in Texas. Once he takes out his collection and prepares to work on it he will usually set up on his dining room table and his collection will remain there until he is finished sorting and cataloging. John collects stamps from around the world, but his favorites are the stamps issued by the United States post-office.

The very picture of the avuncular professor, John says, "Many of my stamps aren't worth much in dollars and cents." But as any collector will tell you, collections hold a personal value far greater than any dollar amount can justify.

Time Magazine wrote in 2008, "Souvenirs remind us why we collect: to preserve our most moving memories." John is a retired military man. During his active military years as a flight engineer, John traveled worldwide and enjoyed visiting post offices in the foreign countries that he visited.

In the course of his military career, John spent quite a bit of time in Taiwan and often bought full sheets of colorful Taiwanese stamps. He stores the beautifully colored sheets in albums that he purchased in Taiwan. Local shops specializing in stamp collector supplies were his source for albums and related supplies when he was there.

"Some people collect stamps for their value, but I believe there are more collectors like me, who collect for the enjoyment stamps bring," John says. He must be right, both his son and grandson have taken up the hobby, making this a three generation stamp collecting family.

John's son David picked up on stamp collecting as a young boy, still in grade school. Today, David's son has begun stamp collecting also. David and his family live 1500 miles away from his dad, but John and David still find a common bond through their stamp collections. Though the use of e mail they share news and updates in the world of stamp collecting and information on the latest computer software to aid them in their collection record keeping.

John stores his collection in several trunks that he keeps safely tucked away in a closet. He thinks of as them as memory trunks. When John takes out the older albums, they bring back recollections of his past travels. John's stamp collection represents a personal history as well a philatelic history. He began his collection as a young boy.

Some of John's stamps may have a monetary value, though he has never had his collection professionally appraised. Among the more unusual of his stamps are the hard to find one page sheets issued during America's bicentennial years. These are paintings. Complete only if the page is kept undivided and not broken into individual stamps for postage.

The United States Postal Services issued a series of stamps called "The Celebrate the Century Collection 1900 1999." From horseless carriages to computers, this group of stamps was the largest ever print of commemorative stamps from the U.S. Postal Service. Decade by decade unfold commemorating one hundred years of American history in picture stamp application.

John frequently visits his small town post office to keep up with the newest postal commemoratives. Stamp collecting is a hobby that gives John and many others pleasure. Isn't this the greatest value anyone can receive from collecting, regardless of what they collect?

Now that you know that stamp collecting can be a pleasurable and cross generational hobby, this might be the time to get a young relative started.

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Kathy Manney is the nationally recognized author of autobiographical, lifestyle and travel articles and the travel columnist for "The Vegas Voice," a monthly regional senior lifestyle newspaper. She travels widely and along the way enjoys taling to collectors about their collections and why they collect. Kathy is open to freelance work in the fields of non-fiction writing and editing.


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