In the May issue of the Philosateleian Post Horn, I asked, “What topical collections do you have? And what are your reasons for collecting those themes?”
Longtime reader Marion R. quickly responded with her thoughts:
My interests range from animal rights to mental health on stamps, cinderellas, slogan postmarks, and covers. The topics I collect relate both to my profession as a licensed psychologist as well as to my work as an animal rights activist.
Other topics I collect are naval covers from ships my father-in-law served on, Titanic, tall ships, holidays, local post covers, New Jersey, dogs, cats, parrots (I live with a large flock of birds), and more.
Topical or thematic collecting is a great way to bring together non-philatelic interests with philately.
I certainly agree with that statement. As I mentioned in the Post Horn, I collect landscape stamps because I enjoy seeing different natural sites from around the world that I don’t necessarily have the opportunity to visit in person.
How about you? What drives you to collect a particular topic or themes?
Back in January, we mentioned the existence of Automated Postal Center error labels that featured designs incorrectly printed on paper that already bore preprinted designs. These error labels looked like they had been accidentally overprinted.
John Ryskamp, a contributor to U.S. Stamp News, recently wrote to let us know that there are by his count 83 different error varieties. You have to count each possible printed rate (forever, first class large envelope, priority, etc.) to reach this total, and the glossy blocks that appear over the preprinted mailbox image can apparently be found with both square and rounded corners.
While APC labels are somewhat outside the mainstream, there’s certainly opportunity for specialization, and the “wrong paper” errors, as Mr. Ryskamp calls them, provide some interesting variety.
Although The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album generally meets the needs of collectors of used stamps, I occasionally receive an e-mail asking if I have pages available where se tenant stamps are always grouped together. I’ve typically designed pages with an individual space for each stamp unless that stamp’s design is part of a larger picture that covers two or more stamps, such as the cherry blossom stamps issued last year.
This approach works well for singles, but leaves the folks who collect blocks or even panes out of luck. Unfortunately, I simply don’t have the time to maintain multiple iterations of The Philosateleian.
A solution for se tenants
Fortunately, however, a new project from the owner of StampHacks.com may give collectors of U.S. se tenants another option. The Community 21st Century U.S. Stamp Album keeps se tenant stamps grouped together. That’s not a big deal for me personally, but some people do prefer that sort of arrangement.
Beyond the arrangement of se tenants, the Stamp Hacks pages have these attractive features:
Black and white illustrations of each stamp
Brief descriptions of each stamp
The pages really remind me of my old H.E. Harris Liberty album. It was my first “real” stamp album (one that could be expanded) which I graduated from a number of years ago. It is nice to have those descriptions, and they no doubt take a lot of time to write.
Keep in mind that the new Stamp Hacks pages are available for only a single year (2001) at this point, but the creator plans to add pages for subsequent years. It definitely seems like a project that’s worth keeping an eye on.
What does this mean for The Philosateleian?
Nothing. I realize not everyone collects exactly the same way I do, and not everyone wants their album pages laid out exactly the way The Philosateleian’s are. I plan to continue maintaining and adding to The Philosateleian. But I’m also happy to see another option out there for those who need it.