Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Introduction to Stamp Collecting

Stamp collecting is the collecting of postage stamps and related objects, such as covers (envelopes or packages with stamps on them). It is one of the world's most popular hobbies, with estimates of the number of collectors ranging up to 20 million in the United States alone.

Collecting is not the same as philately, which is the study of stamps. A philatelist often does, but need not, collect the objects of study, nor is it necessary to closely study what one collects. Many casual collectors enjoy accumulating stamps without worrying about the tiny details, but the creation of a large or comprehensive collection generally requires some philatelic knowledge.

Stamp collectors are an important source of revenue for some small countries who create limited runs of elaborate stamps designed mainly to be bought by stamp collectors. The stamps produced by these countries far exceed the postal needs of the countries.

Some collectors, observing the generally rising prices of rare stamps, have taken to philatelic investment. Rare stamps are among the most portable of tangible investments, and are easy to store.

No equipment is needed in order to be able to collect stamps. However, the great majority of collectors choose to invest in a few essential items for the better display, preservation and inspection of their stamps. Below are some of the more commonly used pieces of stamp collecting equipment.

The easiest and cheapest method to store stamps is placing them in glassine envelopes and storing them in a box free from humidity, light, and heat. This obviously will be of no help when trying to go through the stamps for display or other purpose. Placing stamps in stamp albums helps in easy display of the stamp collection. Stamps can be displayed as per the wish of the collector, by country, topic, or even size, such that the ultimate display is pleasing to the eyes.

Queen Elizabeth II Series Definitive (1955)

This set of postage stamps from Singapore are the QEII series definitive issued in 1955. The complete set comprises 15 stamps.

Monday, November 3, 2008

40th Anniversary of RSAF (2008)

Will be adding this set of beautiful stamps into my collection soon. It is the 40th anniversary of the RSAF.

Coronation of QEII (1953)

This is a relatively beautiful Singapore stamp issued in 1953 to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth is married to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Her father is King George VI who passed on in 1952.

She is the second longest serving monarch after Queen Victoria.

75th Anniversary of Universal Postal Union (1949)

This is a picture of another set of stamps that I acquired in my early days of stamp collecting. I have both a mint set as well as a used set:

Some information about the UPU from Wikipedia:

The Universal Postal Union (UPU, French: Union postale universelle) is an international organization that coordinates postal policies between member nations, and hence the world-wide postal system. Each member country agrees to the same set of terms for conducting international postal duties. Universal Postal Union's headquarters are located in Berne, Switzerland.

Prior to the establishment of the UPU, a country had to conclude a separate postal treaty with each other country that it wished to carry international mail to or from. The United States called for an international postal congress, which was held in 1863. This led Heinrich von Stephan, Royal Prussian and later German Minister for Posts, to found the Universal Postal Union, the second oldest international organization (after the ITU). It was created in 1874, under the name "General Postal Union", as a result of the Treaty of Berne signed on 9 October 1874. In 1878, the name was changed to "Universal Postal Union".

The UPU established that

  1. there should be a more or less uniform flat rate to mail a letter anywhere in the world;
  2. postal authorities should give equal treatment to foreign and domestic mail; and
  3. each country should retain all monies it collected for international postage.

One of the most important results of the UPU treaty was that it ceased to be necessary, as it often had been previously, to affix the stamps of any country through which one's letter or package would pass in transit; the UPU provides that stamps of member nations are accepted for the whole international route.

Royal Silver Wedding (1948)

This was one of the first few stamps that I purchased off Ebay. It is issued in 1948 and I bought it for over US$60.

I have also a similar set of stamp from Morocco Agencies

National Day (2008)

Just ordered the following stamps from SingPost

Date of Issue: 09 Aug 08
Price = S$3.80

In this issue to commemorate Singapore's National Day 2008, photos from 5 Cultural Medallion recipients : Mr David Tay, Mr Tan Lip Seng, Mr Chua Soon Bin, Mr Foo Tee Jun and Mr Teo Bee Yen are specially reproduced.

All the stamps depict pictures from these 5 photographers capturing various scenes of Singapore

Note: The Cultural Medallion was instituted by the late President Ong Teng Cheong in Mar 1979 and recognises individuals who have attained artistic talent in their respective fields.