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Philately: Social & Political Change


Gardian

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Stamp Collecting?  Hmmm, well yes.  I think that I felt that way until a few days ago.

My late Uncle gave me his collection some 30 years ago and it has been stashed away in our loft in the UK for 25 years and then in the garage down here for the last 5. Faced with the choice of decorating or doing something else, I opted for finally digging out the collection and seeing what was there.

Having checked that it wasn't entirely worthless, I bought the Stanley Gibbons catalogue website  facility and have started the painstaking task of loading the umpteen pages on to it. After about 10 hours of work, I've probably done barely 5% of the content, but what a revelation.

It shouldn't have been a surprise, but stamps are a complete reflection of society, geography & politics of the time. Examples:

  • Germany: hyper-inflation of the 20's (over-printing of stamps with mega-higher values), arrival of you-know-who & his culture in the 30's. Post-war occupation & re-building.
  • USA: early 19C obsession with their Presidents (though as OH pointed out, we only put Q Vic on ours). Then, a 50th or 100th commemoration of anything that moved)
  • Italy: Mussolini triumphant (as in a Roman general) on a horse in the early 30's. Did anybody really take him seriously? Well, clearly they did.
  • France: strangely low-key, at least in terms of what the collection has.  

It's early days yet & there's loads to do. The idea was to document the lot & sell it (it's not worth a fortune, though probably a few quid), but it's starting to interest me a bit. Anyone else a stamp man / woman? 

   

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My only recollection of stamp collecting is the adverts there used to be in comics when I was a child, encouraging kids to send off for a free Penny Black and a pack of 'approvals' which would then arrive every month no matter how many letters were sent begging them to stop!
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