Philosateleia
Kevin Blackston
PO Box 17544
San Antonio TX 78217-0544
United States of America

Blog archives (October 2011)

Milestones of stamp collecting

The past month has been pretty quiet for Philosateleia, but that’s not because anything’s going wrong. Quite the contrary—the last few weeks have been very philatelically productive for me. I feel like rambling a bit about what I’ve been up to.

Since December 2009, I’ve been working off and on on the only thematic, or topical, collection in which I’ve ever taken an interest: landscapes on stamps. We’re talking mountains, rivers, forests, and so forth from all around the world. Think Yosemite Valley, Mount Everest, and the Amazon River, and you’ll know the kind of scenery we’re talking about.

It’s a funny sort of collection, in a way. The irony of trying to display huge chunks of the Eternal God’s creation on tiny scraps of paper is not lost on me. It’s amazing, though, the number of styles stamp designers have used to illustrate those marvelous works.

At any rate, I digress. I’ve been making a big push to “finish” this project, and last night I did just that: finished organizing my landscape stamp collection—or, more accurately, finished organizing the landscape stamps currently in my collection. For there’s always room for growth, is there not?

I ended up scanning one stamp depicting each site, then doing some image manipulation and using the results as the backgrounds of my album pages. Here’s an example of one of my Yosemite Valley pages at an intermediate stage; I added another stamp to it at a later date.

Stamp album page holding stamps depicting Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley Stamp Album Page

Thus, the page for each landscape has a different background.

The benefit of this approach? Not just the stamps, but the pages themselves, change as you leaf through my albums. My U.S. stamp album pages are formal, with the spaces for the stamps laid out in neat rows. The pages for my landscape stamps have some uniformity to them, too, in terms of font size and style, but there’s also a certain randomness, an unpredictability from one page to the next, that I’ve never encountered before in stamp collecting. And I’m not saying it would work for every collection, but for this particular grouping of stamps, it does. It does.

A negative of building my pages this way? The time involved. I estimate there are presently 350–400 stamps in my landscape collection. I haven’t counted them or even made a proper list just yet, but that’s my gut feeling. I designed, trimmed down to size, and three-hole punched 336 pages. As mentioned earlier, that did take the better part of two years. Was it fun? Yes, but there was a time investment, too, to the extent that I feel both a sense of accomplishment and a sense of relief to be “done.” So if you’re thinking of doing the same thing, count the costs in advance.

Now, to bring an end to this long-winded summary of my recent philatelic pursuits…I’m working on the October issue of the Post Horn, and then I have some commitments that will keep me busy over the next two or three weeks. Hopefully after that I’ll be able to get back to adding some new content to Philosateleia. I hope you’ll join me for the ride.