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The Passion of Philately

Two unusual properties came into the office last week and on the surface neither particularly interesting. Both Topical or Thematic collections, one from the UK and the other from Europe.

If I said Motor Cycling you would probably shrug your shoulders, drift back to childhood collections and picture a few Czech or Hungarian pictorials maybe US Express stamps and think so what? But if I said it was written up in over 100 volumes to exhibition standard you might at the very least be tempted to take a peek. Similarly the European collection is a Birds Topical, yes you think, colourful modern issues, sets from Angola, San Marino and almost every other issuing nation! But hold on, this is just Humming Birds, yes Humming Birds in over 20 volumes!

Of course both these collections surpass the usual assembly of stamps mounted up on pages and have taken vast amounts of research time and effort, poured out over hundreds of pages of carefully crafted notes and write ups, illustrated with maps and diagrams, photographs, event programs and other ephemera.

All this creative endeavour is fuelled only by a passion for the topic and the drive to amass as much subject matter as possible, thus enabling the collectors to become curators of their very own personal “museums”. At this level of collecting, these simple stamp collectors are in fact most likely to be as knowledgeable in their subject as any professional educator or author.

Yet for all that knowledge and passion, in the modern world of instant gratification, virtual reality and total connectivity, I wonder how long the quiet, contemplative focus of energy that is stamp collecting in any form will continue. Will a younger generation that has access to everything in the world “24/7” be able to grasp the concept of “collecting” and even more to the point will those they live with allow them the luxury that is this tranquil, soothing activity.

(Vincent Green is away on Honeymoon this week!)

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    FIJI - 1903 complete set, SG 104/114, very fine mint, the 5d, 6d, 1s and 5s are never hinged. (11 stamps)

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    CANADA - 1930-31 20c red Harvesting with Tractor (SG 301) block of four from the right side of the sheet showing DRAMATIC DOUBLE PERFORATING ERROR affecting the vertical right- hand pair and the sheet selvage, fresh never hinged mint. Such errors rarely seen (block 4 with perf error)

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