National Stamp Collecting Month: U.S. National Postal Museum

This is the final stamp collecting-themed article for October’s National Stamp Collecting Month this year (tomorrow’s post will be about Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”). I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at a place where collectors and others interested in stamps and postal history can go every day of the year. Unfortunately, I have yet to visit the Smithsonian’s … Continue reading National Stamp Collecting Month: U.S. National Postal Museum

National Stamp Collecting Month: The Art of Engraving & Intaglio Printing

I am intrigued by the process of printing, whatever medium it may be reproduced upon, but my favorite method has always been images created from steel (or line) engraving and printed by intaglio (or recess) printing. This, of course, is the combination that produced so many of our classic postage stamps and is also seen on currency and prints or illustrations, mainly from the 19th … Continue reading National Stamp Collecting Month: The Art of Engraving & Intaglio Printing

National Stamp Collecting Month: Cinderellas, Seals, Fantasies & the Craziness of Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival

Stamp collectors collect (or accumulate) all manner of postally-related objects, not all of which were intended for the delivery of mail. Long considered “album weeds”, cinderella stamps saw their peak popularity in the 1930s and 1940s and remain an interesting sideline to philately. The term is a very broad one, covering all manner of items intended to have the appearance of a stamp but not … Continue reading National Stamp Collecting Month: Cinderellas, Seals, Fantasies & the Craziness of Phuket’s Vegetarian Festival

National Stamp Collecting Month: Hinges, Mounts & the Faroese Overland Postman

In the earliest stamp albums introduced in the 1860s, stamps were adhered to the pages using either their own gum (as if put on an envelope) or glue. Stamp hinges — small, folded, transparent, rectangular pieces of paper coated with a mild gum — were introduced soon after, allowing stamps to be removed without major damage to either the stamp or the album page. In the second … Continue reading National Stamp Collecting Month: Hinges, Mounts & the Faroese Overland Postman

National Stamp Collecting Month: Postcards & Postcrossing

Although people have used some form of card to send messages probably since the earliest days of postal systems, cards with some image as a part of their design have only been around as long as the postage stamp itself. Postal cards were soon being produced with an imprinted stamp with picture postcards becoming extremely popular by the end of the 19th century and the … Continue reading National Stamp Collecting Month: Postcards & Postcrossing

National Stamp Collecting Month: Stamp Catalogues – Print & Online

Stamp catalogues are the primary tool used by serious collectors to organize their collections, and for the identification and valuation of stamps. These list postage stamp types with descriptions — usually accompanied by illustrations — and prices. Most stamp shops have stamp catalogues available for purchase. A few catalogues are offered on-line, either free or for a fee. There are hundreds of different catalogues, most specializing … Continue reading National Stamp Collecting Month: Stamp Catalogues – Print & Online

National Stamp Collecting Month: The Swiss Post Bus System

In the early twentieth century, earlier forms of postal transport began to be replaced by regular road-borne service. In the United States, many Railway Post Office (RPO) trains began to be withdrawn from service and the U.S. Post Office Department experimented with the distribution of mail on large buses. These brightly colored red, white and blue Highway Post Office buses were equipped similarly to the … Continue reading National Stamp Collecting Month: The Swiss Post Bus System

National Stamp Collecting Month: The Magnifying Glass

Most lists of useful stamp collecting tools include some form of magnifying glass or loupe as essential to the collector. This is the primary tool for examining condition and authenticity of any stamp or philatelic material, particularly when at stamp shows or visiting your local stamp dealer. Philatelic writer Michael Baadke once wrote “though a magnifier doesn’t protect stamps from damage, it can protect you … Continue reading National Stamp Collecting Month: The Magnifying Glass