The Urge To Collect
AS A NEWSPAPER STAMP EDITOR, the writer has received thousands of letters requesting authentic information about the
basics of stamp collecting. More advanced enthusiasts have brought specialized problems in for solution. These questions have,
of course, been answered over a period of years-individually. But there undoubtedly are thousands more with similar problems
which have up to now remained unanswered.
Stamp collecting, first and foremost, is a hobby, and that, in turn, is defined as "something in which one takes an absorbing
interest." It can be followed without the investment of a single cent, providing there is access to incoming mail and there
are patient friends who will watch for unusual stamp; on their mail.
Naturally, every-one who is bitten by the stamp bug progresses to the stage where pennies, dimes and quarters are spent
to fill in blank spaces, but the extent of spending can be kept within bounds so long as the advice, "Ride your hobby, don't
let it ride you," is followed. Each tiny bit of paper imprinted with a design, and all the ingredients making it a stamp,
tells a story. Using a single stamp design as the nucleus, a person can spend hours developing the story of its background,
its designing, its production and its distribution.
In many cases this is not done, but all those who handle stamps become aware to some degree of the country of origin, its
value as to currency unit, and its design. Geography, history, the arts and sciences, animal and plant life, and peoples flow
by in never-ending streams.Stamp collecting is truly a visual education, and many lessons learned from a stamp album have
stood people in good stead years later.
Finally, eliminating any consideration here of the monetary importance of stamps, philately offers a release for those
physically or mentally tired from their usual vocations.