Join America’s Stamp Club in Celebrating — October Is National Stamp Collecting Month

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The American Philatelic Society and millions of stamp collectors across the nation and around the world are celebrating “the hobby of a lifetime” in October. Stamp collecting is one of the most popular and enduring hobbies — almost everyone has collected stamps sometime!

Explore the world of stamp collecting!

The collecting of stamps brings untold millions of people of all nations into greater understandings of all their world neighbors. — Francis Cardinal Spellman.

Stamp collecting in the 21st century is not the same hobby it was in our grandfather’s day. No longer is the focus simply on trying to fill in the little squares in a stamp album. Today, the possibilities are limited only by individual’s interests and imagination. A stamp collector can spend time exploring outer space, travel around the world or across the United States, follow their favorite sport, immerse themselves in the travels of ancient or modern mail, or just spend some quiet time arranging flowers (on stamps, of course!).

Stamp collecting can be, and often is, combined with other hobbies to the enrichment of both. Genealogists have long known the value of letters and postcards when studying family history, but don’t forget the fun side. A family vacation can be made more memorable by sending letters or postcards home with postmarks from special places along the way.

Technology has opened the album and allowed the collector to experience more of the many possibilities the hobby has to offer. Computers and the Internet are now important components in the collector’s tool box along with the traditional tongs and album pages. And the American Philatelic Society can open a doorway to make this technology easier and more fun. Here’s how:

  • With a computer and some graphic software, a collector can design and print their own album pages or download some of the many ready-to-use albums that are available online. The American Philatelic Society has more than forty FREE albums ready for the collector. The topics range from sports such as fishing, the Olympics, and baseball to Hollywood, from Outer Space to National Parks, and many more. The albums are available for downloading at http://www.stamps.org/Free-Album-Pages.
  • Social media enables collectors to keep in touch with each other and share favorite stamps, stories, advice, techniques, etc. Check out America’s Stamp Club online at http://www.stamps.org. The American Philatelic Society also is on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube. Stamp collecting is everywhere!
  • Young Stamp Collectors of America (YSCA) is a virtual club for the young collector — http://www.stamps.org/YSCA. The YSCA quarterly eNewsletter is filled with articles, how-to information, collecting basics, activities, stamp offers, and more! Each month young collectors can chat online with other young stamp enthusiasts from across the country. The YSCA breaks with the online-only tradition in order to have face-to-face live meetings at the two APS shows each year.
  • The Internet has made looking for and buying stamps is easier than every before. The APS has more than 600 dealer members whose contact information can be found at http://www.stamps.org/Dealers. The listing is searchable by collecting topic, such as Olympics, and by geographic location. Stamp shows and local stamp clubs are two other good sources for stamps and information (http://www.stamps.org/Show-Calendar). The local post office and the mail delivered to private homes or businesses continue to be a good source of stamps.

So, who are some of today’s collectors? They can be any age and they come from all walks of life. A few collectors you might recognize include ESPN basketball personality and former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps;, financial gurus Bill Gross and Warren Buffet; astronaut Henry Hartsfield; actors Gary Burghoff, James Earl Jones, and Patrick Dempsey; authors James Michener and Lawrence Block; explorer Jacques Cousteau; former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova; musicians John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, and Ron Wood; and cartoonist Gary Trudeau.

It has been said, “Nothing exciting happens inside your comfort zone.” So step outside and take a chance on an old hobby that is new again. Start collecting!

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Barbara Boal
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