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Stamp Collecting
Now that we have discussed a little of the history of mail, let's consider stamp collecting, or Philately. Nobody knows for sure how many people collect stamps, but according to U.S. Postal figures some 22 million collect U.S. stamps. Many just buy newly issued stamps because they appeal to them

The first adhesive postage stamps were issued by Great Britain in 1840. As a result of a contest, the "penny black" one cent stamp picturing the Queen of England, received this "first" honor. The United States issued it's first two stamps picturing our first President George Washington and our first Postmaster General, Ben Franklin.

The idea of the postage stamp caught on quickly and people began to collect these little bits of paper. An ad in a London newspaper of the 1840's asked for stamps so that the "young lady could paper her bedroom wall." By the 1860's names of dealers like Scott first in England and then the United States and Champion in France began to trade in stamps, and to produce the first albums and catalogs for stamps. As the hobby grew, famous persons like U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and King George V of England became avid stamp collectors.

Once you begin to study stamps closely, and ask how and why they are produced, you can begin to refer to yourself as a philatelist. Philatelists study stamp design and other related materials rather than just collect them. You begin to study a country's stamps and its postal history. Whatever you collect, you will soon realize the universal appeal of stamp collecting. As you collect, you may spend as little or as much time and money on this hobby. Look for help and guidance from experienced collectors. Most of them enjoy helping, and much will be learned from them.

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