Stamps for Kings and Kids

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Stamps for Kings and Kids

Stamp collecting is one of the most popular hobbies practiced all around the world, in all sections of society 

Once upon a time, before modern-day stamps were invented, postage used to be paid by the person who received the letter or package, not by the sender.

There is a story from those long ago-days. It tells of a young lady staying in a modest hotel – or whatever they had in those days – on a holiday. While she was in the lounge doing her needlework – or whatever it is people used to do without television – and exchanging thoughts about the weather with her fellow-pensioners (this true story takes place in England), a postman came with a letter for her. The young lady took the letter, turned it in her hands a few times, and with a sigh returned it to the postman:

“I can not accept it”, she said sadly. “I have no money for the postage”.

As the postman made the mark on the envelope indicating that the recipient was approached but failed to pay the postage, everyone in the pension sitting room went on with whatever they were doing, pretending not to have witnessed the scene (which is what is expected of the English). Everyone except one young man. Touched by the young lady’s plight, he jumped to his feet, dug into his pockets, and produced the necessary amount.

As soon as the postman left, the young lady turned to the young man.

“Sir, I’ll thank you not to interfere in my affairs in future”, she said angrily, waiving the envelope filled with official-looking postmarks before his eyes. “My brother and I have been refusing to pay postage for this letter for three years now. That is our way of keeping in touch, at no cost!”

It is not known whether the decision of the British post office to switch to pre-payment of postage was influenced by this true story. In any case, it was the British who introduced the world’s first postage stamp in 1840. The stamp depicted Queen Victoria’s profile against a dark background, had the denomination of one penny, and was known as Penny Black.

South Africa has also contributed a world’s “first” as far as the stamps are concerned. South Africa was the first African country to issue a stamp. That happened in 1853. But what makes this stamp special is its design. The Cape Triangular was the world’s first triangular stamp. Thank to its exceptional design, it is still regarded as a classic in the stamp collecting world.

It is not known when the first stamp collector appeared, but it was probably around the time the fist stamp saw the light of the day. In any case, stamp collecting took off quickly to become one of the most popular hobbies practiced all around the world. Stamp collectors can be found in all the sections of the population, among kings and school kids alike.

Many have tried to explain why people collect stamps. However, the question should really be - why not collect stamps? After all, you can collect stamps at no cost. They come in your mail every day. Once you start carefully separating those pretty colourful rectangles from the envelopes and arranging them in an album, there is no stopping. Sooner or later you will end up as a regular visitor to the bidorbuy Stamps category, selling your duplicates and buying the ones you simply must have in order to complete your collection.

You may choose to collect stamps the traditional way by the countries. If you are more interested in the design of the stamps, a topical (or thematic) collection will probably suit you better. Some stamp collectors are specialists: they want to have as many copies as possible of just one stamp issue or just one type of stamp. Others will collect every stamp they see.

The most important thing about stamp collecting is to enjoy it. Although some people regard stamps as investments, similar to art or antique items, the real worth of stamps lies in the emotional value they have for their collectors.

If you have to think of stamps in terms of a cash price, do remember that older does not necessarily mean more valuable. Penny Black, the world’s first postage stamp, is still readily available and can be purchased at relatively affordable prices.

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