Have you ever heard of «National Stamp Collecting Month»? Starting in 1981, October has been the month set aside to celebrate and introduce people to one of he most popular hobbies on our planet-stamp collecting! In fact, in order to attract as many people as possible, especially youngsters, special stamps are often issued for the event (most often pictorials). Past issues around the world have commemorated space, and other themes. We still have to wait and see what, if any, special issues will come out for 2008. Other countries celebrate stamp collecting also, and have even issued stamps with a higher value than the postage value (Semi-Postal stamp), the difference paid being donated to a foundation promoting stamp interests.
What makes stamp collecting so interesting and an ideal hobby for young ones to participate in? First of all, let’s establish the difference between philately and stamp collecting. Philately is the study of stamps, and while philatelists often do collect, it is not necessary to be a collector in order to be a philatelist. Collectors like to collect stamps often according to a theme, and many do so for the pure pleasure and adventure of the hobby. However, some stamp collectors are very serious about their past-time and pay great attention to tiny details and variations in stamps. Many often view their collection as an investment.
Stamp collecting began in the late 1800’s and was generally viewed as a child’s hobby. When many of these youngsters grew up though, they began to seriously study their collection and discover stamp errors and flaws, and publish articles on the subject. What was once a childish pursuit took serious form. Philately and collecting as an investment was born.
Stamp collecting is an adventure into history with various thematic stamps (flowers, animals, architecture, culture …). It can be educational, and if some attention to stamp variations is given, greatly enhance a young one’s concentration and attention to detail. A stamp project such as building one’s own album can be a creative outlet and refine skills which will then be useful in the future. A visit to a stamp museum, such as the Canadian Postal Museum housed in the Museum of Civilisation in Gatineau, QC, can be the beginning of a life-long interest in stamps.
So how about introducing a young family member to the fascinating world of stamps? Many websites offer practical information, and Aprin Philately offers a free stamp gift for every new member who joins their approval club. We accept want lists and go to great lengths to respect whatever topical an individual may like to collect.