The focus of my collecting has always been U.S. airmails, embossed envelopes and postcards. However, I took a detour from that when a work associate of mine told me he too collects stamps.
Rui is a topical collector. When he was starting out, his dad suggested this approach as an economical alternative to having a complete collection of one country. His dad is an experienced philatelist who built and maintains a full set of issues from Malawi, a country he once lived in. He knows about the cost involved in an accomplishment of that magnitude.
Early on, Rui settled on a few topics of interest: birds and the Olympics. Over the years, he has increased his circle of interest and built up a sizable collection of his own.
The more I thought about Rui’s approach, the more interested I became. I realized that topical collectors have an international approach which opens them up to the widest possible variety of stamp designs. When I pored over the Scott’s International catalogs at the local library, I found countless stamp designs that were much different than what I saw in my own collection. The more I searched, the more excited I became. Even the rather practical topics like technology, science, manufacturing and shipping were well represented with unique stamps. Not as colorful as birds or dramatic as the Olympics commemorative, but you go with your interests.
I went on many exciting trips to Europe in those months. I visited glass factories making precision lenses for microscopes and telescopes, television studios and busy sea container facilities. I stopped off at a nuclear reactor, a German brewery and did research deep in the earth and high overhead in the exosphere.
Soon, I was overtaken with a feeling of guilt about these trips. All the years of happiness and contentment that my U.S. issues gave me were left behind, abandoned, for the excitement of fresh, foreign faces. I felt like I was cheating on my girlfriend the U.S. Postal Service by purchasing stamps issue from another postal service I hardly knew!
Hat in hand, I went back. We made up, went to philatelic counseling together and all was well again.
To keep the relationship exciting, and so that I would never leave again, I thought about a new area of U.S. stamps I was always curious about but never investigated – errors.
Here, I applied that pearl of wisdom I learned from Roy’s dad: Look for stamps that are affordable as well as interesting.
I found those in perforation errors. These are most common in coil stamps, since these are harder to check than sheets or booklets. Consequently, they are more affordable.
Below are several that I have acquired in the last month, without skipping a week of lunches to pay for them.
Happy Collecting !