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Generally speaking - Deep thoughts about stamps, philately and life in general

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Every stamp tells a story or more

Every stamp tells a story or moreThey say, somewhat correctly, that every stamp tells a story or more. As such it is pretty amazing that many stamp bloggers (yours truly included) experience writers block from time to time. I think Stephen King, godfather of modern horror literature, nailed the cause perfectly when he once said "Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work". As a blogger and stamp collector I admit that it is hard, maybe impossible to make any progress unless I feel inspired by the topic. If there is something I've learned over the years, it is that looking at alternative angles can make a world of difference in how fun (or unfun) something feels like. ...(727 words,4 images, 4 comments)

What do you do with hundreds of duplicates of uncommon stamps?

What do you do with hundreds of duplicates of uncommon stamps?If you've been following SCB's Facebook page, then you may know that for the past few weeks I've been working my way through 1+kg lot of worldwide ATM stamps. This was part of specialized small-time dealer estate I acquired, and as such came with very heavy duplication on some parts. Though I am somewhat accustomed to re-distributing 10-50 copies of the same stamp to other worldwide collectors through my stamp exchanges, what to do when you've got 100-800 copies (and possibly even more) of the same stamp? I am quite sure this is one of those situations that most stamp collectors will have to deal on some point. ...(926 words,3 images, 5 comments)

To hell with catalog values

To hell with catalog valuesI know many collectors turn to stamp catalogs to figure out what stamps are worth, but I have more or less given up looking at catalog values in recent years. It has not been an instant change, but more of a gradual progress. My reasoning for this has been very simple: the further I have endeavored with my collection and collectors life, the less meaningful I find the catalog values to be in real life.  And yes, I know my opinion does not weight much as vast majority of dealers and collectors will consider catalog values 'holier than holy' despite of my naysaying. ...(1658 words,3 images, 10 comments)

Crash Boom Bang! (Or how stamp collecting has moved to 21st century digital world)

Crash Boom Bang! (Or how stamp collecting has moved to 21st century digital world)As I was about to start typing this week’s blog post, I heard Crash Boom Bang (or more precisely it was a series of sounds that reminded of R2-D2 bleeping in distress) from my computer. My trusted workhorse of 7 years, a custom built Dell Latitude E6510 laptop, had just experienced a heat stroke due to which all the eight cores of it were forced to emergency shutdown. As I counted the minutes for the machine to cool down a bit before an attempt to reboot, a cold sweat poured all over my front head. Replacing the main system is every geeks worst nightmare. Though I do have multiple backups of my precious data and a number of systems that I can use for random online access and light work, there is only one system that has got ALL the pieces in place. It could take several weeks for a proper replacement machine to arrive, and even more time tinkering and tweaking the system to my liking. So I felt very worried. ...(1505 words, images, 5 comments)

Sincerely yours

Sincerely yoursFew nights back my missus and I went to nearest big city for some shopping. It was about one hour drive and while at it we listened to some talk radio. At first I didn't put much weight to contents of the radio show, but when I found out it was all about letter writing in the early 19th century I started listening more carefully to story being told. ...(765 words,3 images, 4 comments)

Poll: Stamps or knowledge. Which should come first?

I know there are two schools about this question, but how do you feel about it? Should you obtain stamps first, and then go in hunt of knowledge. Or do you first prefer to learn everything there is to know, and then head out in search of specimens? I confess I've been a 'stamps first' kind of collector pretty much throughout my life, but maybe not out of my own free will. ...(300 words, images, 38 comments)

The insanity of collecting for completion

The insanity of collecting for completionI don't usually write about upcoming new issues, but this caught my radar and 'touched' something.   In few days time Finnish Post will be releasing something even more controversial than Tom of Finland stamps. In commemoration of the upcoming FINLANDIA2017 stamp exhibition 6,000 unsold specimens from the 1988 exhibition stamps have been overprinted with new 'forever domestic' face value. So that the life of common collector would not get too easy in trying to chase a copy from their mail, the stamps will be sold at price of 30€ each (postal value 1,30€ + surcharge of 28,70€ to aid the exhibition). And to make copies even more difficult to find, only 2,000 stamps will be offered to public through website sales only, the rest will be sold at the exhibition area only. I wish I could now say 'april fools', but sadly the dark side of the force (or lets be honest, greed) seems to have taken over common sense here in Finland. ...(852 words,3 images, 21 comments)

Poll: How big is your stamp collection, and what is your cut-off date?

Few days back Robert, a fellow world wide collector emailed me to acknowledge he had reached the milestone of 50,000 stamps. One talk led to another, and soon the question of how many collectors are in the range (and whether or not they have cut-off dates) popped up. For what I know and have talked with people (both in and outside SCBs circles) there are at least: ...(409 words,0 images, 52 comments)

Down the rabbit hole no more. Or how I learned about some highly illogical twists in the way I collect.

Down the rabbit hole no more. Or how I learned about some highly illogical twists in the way I collect.About seven years back I pondered how deep to go when building a stamp collection. Lot of stamps and varieties have passed my desk ever since and I have enjoyed every bit of it, but to my dismay I can also report that for the first time ever I feel I have reached some kind of limits with my semi-specialized approach of collecting the world. ...(1313 words,3 images, 6 comments)

Stamp collecting / philately is..?

Stamp collecting / philately is..?Stamp collecting / philately is...What? Inspiring? Recreational? Educational? Relaxing? Entertaining? All those fancy attributes are often times used to describe and promote this hobby of ours. And all stand very true IMHO. But if thinking the public face of the hobby - magazines, websites, shows - very little if any of these admirable features are displayed in action. All there is bunch of (more or less golden) guys and gals selling stamps, buying stamps, swapping some stamps, talking about their own specialty or some variety, or complaining how things used to be so much better before. To non-collectors (and often times even for us collecting) it easily seems boring and maybe even as a 'serious business'. So where's all the true action that this hobby of ours should be all about? ...(877 words,2 images, 13 comments)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2017This is my last blog entry for the year, and as customary I want to wish a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2017 to readers of SCB around the globe. At the same I also like to share this years Finnish Christmas stamp as well as some general thoughts about Christmas time in certain stamp collectors life. ...(816 words,4 images, 14 comments)

The Power of Few

The Power of FewFew weeks back I finished reading ‘The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History’ by Elizabeth Kolbert. It is Pulitzer awarded book about the ongoing sixth mass extinction of world’s flora and fauna, and the role of human actions upon the change.  True, it is not light stamp related reading, some might even consider it more scary than the books of Clive Barker, but the book got me thinking about the so said extinction of stamp collectors/collecting and the similarities between the events. ...(1261 words,1 images, 7 comments)

Definitely Definitive

Definitely DefinitiveI acknowledge I might be splitting hairs with this one, but one of those things I've started questioning more and more is the stamp catalog (in this particular case Michel) defined division into definitive and commemorative stamps,  and stamp exchanger contributed division into large vs. small stamps. Both might have been a working systems in the old days, but in these days of various special and annual stamps they seem like a non-working approach. ...(985 words,7 images, 11 comments)

A business 101 lesson on stamp collecting: Why making an extra buck with stamps is so easy, but why it rarely scales up as proper business

A business 101 lesson on stamp collecting: Why making an extra buck with stamps is so easy, but why it rarely scales up as proper businessIt's been a lot of years since I have sold any stamps big time, but back in the early 2000s I was what many would consider a powerseller. Me and my misses had just gotten married, and selling all those duplicates that the merger of our earthly possessions and stamp collections yielded seemed like a fabulous idea to bring in some money. After all, we had just received our first baby, we were building a house, and I had just launched my business (after being laid off). So there was a lot of money going out but hardly any money coming in. ...(1400 words, images, 9 comments)

Heaven and Hell - a stamp soaking experience

Heaven and Hell - a stamp soaking experienceAs I placed three-hundred-and-something stamps to my soak tub and poured some hot tap water on top of the stamps, I knew I was undertaking a challenge too big for a late night project.  When I finally reached the end of the soak and rinse operation, about two-and-half hours later (and way beyond my usual bed time), my brains felt lobotomized, my shoulders and neck were stiff, and I was hugely exhausted from repeating same movements non-stop for the past few hours.   However, at the same time I felt extremely happy and peaceful. Does this experience of heaven and hell at the same time feel familiar to you? And how did I end up to this state first place? ...(985 words,5 images, 9 comments)

Special speck of dust

Special speck of dustLately I’ve been entertaining myself by reading stories and interviews of other (mostly non-stamp) collectors; how they view and live the life of a collector. What I’ve come to realize is that all the collectors, despite what they collect (be it Barbie dolls, motorbikes, Nightwish memorabilia, video games or our precious stamps/postal history) share similar lifestyle and challenges. ...(759 words,4 images, 4 comments)

Does anyone collect stamps anymore (or what any aspiring philatelic blogger/writer should know about human search behaviour)

Does anyone collect stamps anymore (or what any aspiring philatelic blogger/writer should know about human search behaviour)First, a warning: This article is not your average stamp/philatelic story. I still recommend you read it because it will (hopefully) teach you a thing or two not on just how to write about stamps but also about us stamp collectors and human behavior. Ever heard of Google Search Console? It is an utility that Google provides for website owners like me. One of the many nice features it provides are various statistics on what kind of (website related) information people search from the Internet, and how (in which words) they search for it. The title of this post, "does anyone collect stamps anymore" is a direct quote that (at least) nineteen people have typed last month to Google's search box according to Google Search console. Most website owners guard this data as their precious (because it is worth gold in marketing sense), but since traffic from Google has very little meaning/importance to SCB these days, I'll share what the average philatelic information seeker on Google (from perspective of SCB) is alike, and how anyone aspiring on becoming a philatelic blogger/writer (or even maintaining a society website) can take advantage of this information. ...(2465 words,6 images, 10 comments)

Nordia 2016 stamp show - and why I won't be going

Nordia 2016 stamp show - and why I won't be goingIt is very unusual that stamp shows of any kind come right to my neighborhood, not to say an three day international stamp exhibition, so I am a bit ashamed to confess that I won't be going to Nordia2016 held in Jyväskylä this weekend. The best I can say is I don't find it worth the time and costs involved. ...(757 words,4 images, 5 comments)

Three practical tips every stamp collector can use to supercharge the way they collect

Three practical tips every stamp collector can use to supercharge the way they collectIt seems my last week’s post hit a nerve of some sorts as it generated far more responses than usual. I think the post also pointed out one of the reason why blogs and online communities have become somewhat popular among collectors: they are not just ‘dry’ technical knowledge but also bring up real world problems, solutions and best practices that others can possibly learn, adopt and adapt for their collections. Below I'll share three practical and low-cost stamp tips every collector can (and IMHO should) use to supercharge the way they collect. ...(783 words,3 images, 19 comments)

How do you deal with collector's block?

How do you deal with collector's block?I think most of us stamp collectors suffer from internal conflicts from time to time; at least that is the gut feeling I've established when corresponding with many of you (either privately or through blog) over the years. Especially as one advances into new territories, or plans on making changes to familiar routines, or encounters conflicting knowledge or views, then all sorts of doubts arise easily, and on worst scenario lead into complete block paralyzing all collecting activities. Often times in moments like that we collectors reach out and seek advice from others (making different stamp boards, forums and blogs as popular as they are). ...(1116 words,5 images, 20 comments)

Lucky seven

Lucky sevenThey say old dogs are hard to learn new tricks. Bah, humbug. I’ve been a stamp blogger now for precisely seven years (yes, happy birthday SCB) and yesterday I became a vlogger (aka. video blogger). Yes, Stamp Collecting Blog has got a YouTube Channel now, and I will try to adhere new content to it every now and then the same way as I update SCB’s Twitter and SCB's FaceBook accounts (but I will spare you from the agony of seeing my mug. Instead I’ve got a plan to showcase some nice stamps and do some tutorials). ...(1004 words,2 images, 4 comments)

Updating the philatelic theory of relativity

Updating the philatelic theory of relativityFor about 100 years, the general theory of relativity has been shaping out how the world the around is understood. Though we collectors lack our Einstein, we still have got our own ‘relativity model’ that defines how various bits and pieces of stampworld are defined and connected. And to large extend this model was created by the first advanced collectors and catalog builders of the late 19th and early 20th century as they had to make decisions on how to bring order into chaos and how to separate varieties from each other. One important part of this model is measuring perfs and separating different gauges. ...(802 words,2 images, 4 comments)

Germany "BEZAHLT" and why You too should try to become a polyglot

Germany Few weeks back I wrote about philatelic vocabulary, and with this entry I'm about dig in a bit deeper from another angle. As regular readers of the blog should know, I'm a Finn and Finnish is my native language. That said, I do most of my work (and thinking) in English, so it's also very natural for me. Besides these two major languages in my life, I can do also German and Swedish relatively well, and even Spanish and French words seem to holding up on me slowly but surely. So it's relatively fair to say I'm a polyglot. ...(599 words,1 images, 7 comments)

Philatelic vocabulary

Philatelic vocabularyAt times I wish all stamp collectors shared a global vocabulary and terms as it would make things easier. This article is about to display  some (possibly not so often seen) stamp related items from different perspectives, and how easily a poor choice of words can alter their meaning. ...(974 words,4 images, 4 comments)

Musings of a stamp collecting tv-loving history buff

Musings of a stamp collecting tv-loving history buffNot so long ago I was remembering my childhood days (back in the 1980s), and guess what was the first thing to surface my consciousness? TV-shows themes! I'm sure most of my generation still remember what the themes of Knight Rider, Street Hawk, Lovejoy or Robin of Sherwood sounded alike. If you're thinking what's all this nostalgia got to do with stamp collecting, maybe a lot, maybe not so much. ...(1077 words,4 images, 7 comments)

What do you consider a common stamp?

What do you consider a common stamp?During the summer months I had several talks with people who were considering on taking part to my stamp exchange, but were holding back because they felt as if their offerings would be too common and they would not add to my collection. I tried to convince them that despite my collection of ~100K items sounds huge, it has by all means got more holes than Swiss cheese. ...(734 words,4 images, 29 comments)

Is the cost of becoming a stamp collector too high for the kids of today?

Is the cost of becoming a stamp collector too high for the kids of today?A while back SCF discussions had a statement that stopped me. "The thing is, it took weeks of researching how to collect to even discover Steiner's pages. And I still had to invest $100 into a Scott catalogue, $100 into mounts (I refuse to use hinges), and then the cost of the stamps. The barrier of entry to the hobby was just so high that I can't imagine kids these days being willing to go down the route of building albums.". I acknowledge the author had written the statement from 'adult american perspective', but is it genuinely so? ...(855 words,2 images, 26 comments)

Five things you should know about stamp blogging

Five things you should know about stamp bloggingAs I've been blogging about stamps and stamp collecting for six and half years, I thought I'd share some pearls of wisdom for readers aspiring of becoming stamp bloggers (just like me). I wish somebody would have told me these when I started years back. ...(1057 words,0 images, 16 comments)

The real value of Elvis and other celebs on stamps - what pop culture on postage stamps has left us with?

The real value of Elvis and other celebs on stamps - what pop culture on postage  stamps has left us with?Today's the 175th anniversary of Penny Black and the postage stamp, but instead of talking about 'the Queen', I thought I'd write about the 'the King' and his companions. For us stamp collectors any reference to 'the King' often times means King George V, one of the greatest stamp collectors of all times, but for rest of the world the King usually equals Elvis.  So what do You think King George V (or for that matter Queen Victoria) would have said if he was displayed the stamps of today featuring Elvis and other pop culture characters? Would he had become the great collector he was, or is he turning over in one's grave? Here's my few cents worth about about it. ...(852 words,6 images, 8 comments)

Yet Another Epic Failure From Stanley Gibbons

The latest blog entry by Commonwealth Stamps Opinions is a truly read-worthy and thought provoking piece for anyone collecting modern worldwide stamps. In short, the news is that Stanley Gibbons has significantly increased the number of new issues going to catalog appendix instead of the usual listings, and it seems that a new editorial policy is taking place.  I know some more conservative stamp collectors will rejoice this step against the ever increasing flow of new issues.  But I must say I'm deeply worried by the long term affects of this change, and wonder if the editors have not  really learned anything from the past. ...(649 words,0 images, 21 comments)

Automated stamp recognition

Automated stamp recognitionI was recently reading a research paper about automated stamp image recognition, when it hit me that this is one of those situations where smart IT-guys (like yours truly, LOL) are often building tools that might not necessarily serve the hobby. If software automatically identifies a stamp in second or two (and even faster), what is there for the collector to do? Take a picture of a stamp, let the program identify it, and then place the stamp into an album? Ask me, but that's not how you become or enjoy being a stamp collector. ...(504 words,4 images, 9 comments)

Is it OK to give negative feedback?

Is it OK to give negative feedback? Over the summer I've been feeling random stings on my heart when filing public reports about the quality of stamps sent for my exchange. I don't know if it's part of the Finnish behavior or something more widespread, but I find it very hard to to give (verbal) negative feedback even when I know it's justified and should be done. ...(731 words,1 images, 17 comments)

Photographing places and locations behind stamp designs

Photographing places and locations behind stamp designsI'm a bit of a camera nut and over the years I've build a habit of taking snapshots of locations, scenes and topics I find familiar from stamps.  This entry is about sharing few random photos (and related stamps) from my collection. ...(520 words,7 images, 10 comments)

The driving force behind specialization

The driving force behind specializationFew days back I was popping at the 'city' for a dentist and while waiting for bus connections back home I decided to hit the local public library. There I found the latest and greatest edition of Finnish specialized stamp catalogue Norma (see a review of earlier edition). While browsing it, I realized that the level of specialization within is becoming simply too much even for semi-advanced collector like myself. ...(429 words,3 images, 13 comments)

Life, Stamps and Everything

Life, Stamps and EverythingIt's been well over a month since I last added anything new to my stamp albums (or wrote anything major for the blog). It's not that I would not want to, but with the baby et all days just seem to pass by so quickly. About a week back I did prepare some kiloware (from my correspondence with other collectors) for soaking session, but they're still in the tub. Waiting. ...(255 words,3 images, 7 comments)

Happy stamp dad (updated)

Happy stamp dad (updated)Just thought I'd share a small stamp related story... I was soaking some stamps last afternoon, when two of my youngest girls (6 and 8 yrs) noted what I was doing, and quickly run to pick their own (junior sized) stock book so they could join the stamp fun too. ...(228 words,2 images, 45 comments)

Do you have an exit strategy?

Do you have an exit strategy? One of the discussions I've taken part in StampBoards involves the topic of exit strategies. What happens to Your collection after You die (or are in condition that you can no longer collect)? It's something I think each and every collector should give a good thought on some point. Anyway, last night I was having a late night snack with my kids (all four, from 5 to 12 years). And due to an article in local newspaper the discussion ended on philosophical side of collecting (collecting just because the fun of it vs. collecting to make money/profit). And we had a good talk about the subject, including also what happens to collections after we die. ...(277 words,2 images, 12 comments)

Sharing your passion

Sharing your passion Few days back I watched an award winning Italian documentary called Vinylmania - When life runs at 33 revolutions per minute. Though it was about collecting vinyl records and love for music, I could not help wondering how much common behavior there are between different types of collectors. Hoarding and compulsive need to organize. Friendships and ruthless battles over new items. The feeling of enjoy when making new finds. And above all, having fun when organizing and viewing the collection. We collectors are all alike no matter what we collect. ...(396 words,0 images, 7 comments)

The many faces of stamp collecting

The many faces of stamp collectingWhat's does a modern stamp collector look like? And what's he or she interested in? I confess being interested by these questions as the answers define (to certain degree) the topics I share and write on my blog. So sit back, take a LARGE cup of your favorite (hot) drink, and join me for yet another round of some deep thoughts about the inners of philately and stamp collecting. ...(710 words,3 images, 33 comments)

A new, more detailed look into number of different worldwide stamps issued

A new, more detailed look into number of different worldwide stamps issuedWay back in June 2009 I wrote a piece called Is a complete all-era worldwide stamp collection possible?. AFAIK it was (and still is) one of the few pieces that try to go into detail what's listed inside (Michel) worldwide stamp catalogues and the challenges worldwide collector faces if trying to build a complete collection. ...(908 words,3 images, 62 comments)

The art of coloring

The art of coloringDanny Kaye has said 'Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can'. Despite stamp design and engraving / engravers are much discussed topic in philately, I don't recall hearing or reading much talk about the art of coloring. Below are few examples that hopefully display the large influence proper use of colors can make on the subject of stamp design. ...(235 words,2 images, 0 comments)

What do You do with stamps that have foxing / rust?

What do You do with stamps that have foxing / rust? Foxing, rust, staining... The arch nemesis of stamp collectors has about as many names as forms. Though I try to be very picky with what I include into my stamp albums, every once and awhile I notice that some stamp in my collection has developed the dreaded red brown spots. Usually I just go sigh, and bin the stamp... But sometimes it's not so easy, especially if the stamp in question is not so common. My question is, what do You do with stamps that show any signs of foxing / rust? ...(579 words,2 images, 55 comments)

Confessions of an aging stamp collector.

Confessions of an aging stamp collector. I'm turning 36 later this year, which means I'm literally somewhere between a young adult and middle aged family guy. As much I hate to admit it, in recent years I've noted several (inevitable) age related changes in me that affect my every day collecting behavior as well. ...(500 words,3 images, 58 comments)

Revolution and evolution

Revolution and evolutionLast night I watched the first episode of highly acclaimed BBC documentary about Web & how it has reshaped our lives. It was definitely thought provoking, and it got me thinking how even stamp collecting is shaping itself with the online revolution. ...(559 words,0 images, 17 comments)

What makes a happy stamp collector?

What makes a happy stamp collector? Recently I’ve been reading an alternative lifestyle book telling a story of a nurse who jumped off the 24/7/365 modern lifestyle and rebuild her life a much happier one. It has got me thinking how happy I am of my life, and what things I could do differently on various aspects of life such as stamp collecting. I confess that I'm somewhat happy of my life; and stamp collecting is definitely one of the key areas where I'm extremely happy of my life. But of course there's (always) room to improve... ...(509 words,1 images, 33 comments)

Progress and satisfaction

Progress and satisfactionIn past couple of weeks I haven't been adding new stamps to my collection. Instead I've been placing any additions waiting aside, and focused on re-organizing my collection. And what a fun ride it has been... ...(315 words,2 images, 6 comments)

The Hobby of Kings - is it truly for the rich?

The Hobby of Kings - is it truly for the rich? I'm sure most stamp collectors know that stamp collecting / philately is often dupped as the "hobby of kings, king of the hobbies". Besides attracting tens of millions casual people, stamps have been collected by kings, statesmen and otherwise famous (and rich) people. And no, I'm not going to write down another list of famous collectors (there are enough of those online); instead I'll wonder the "money and collecting"-question. Which is more limiting - the fact that you can pretty much buy/get anything You like? Or the fact that You simply can't afford all those nice items you know are out there? ...(307 words,3 images, 14 comments)

Of common good and volunteer work

Of common good and volunteer workI'm not the easiest person to lose my temper, but it happens occasionally. Recently I flipped out because I was given some harsh and totally unexpected critique for not providing my professional know-how (and tools of the trade) free-of-charge "for common good". This got me thinking on larger scale the concept of common good and volunteering (on association level). ...(335 words,2 images, 5 comments)

The more I learn of this hobby, the less I realize that I actually know

The more I learn of this hobby, the less I realize that I actually knowI'm a great believer in education and knowledge, and definitely belief that knowledge is power. But the more I learn of this hobby, the less I realize that I actually know. I guess it's part of "with much wisdom comes much sorrow" stuff. ...(363 words,3 images, 7 comments)

Time and devotion

Time and devotionI think nearly all passioned collectors give plenty of time and devotion to their beloved hobby. I confess that I spend about 2-3 hours daily for stamps. A large part of it goes doing stamp exchanges or browsing online stamp discussion/articles; the weekends I usually spend mostly offline (and sort my stamps) ...I know, 2-3 hours a day sounds lot, but as I don't do much TV (besides random movies) or reading (besides random active periods) in late nights, I can afford the luxury. ...(367 words,1 images, 7 comments)

Confessions of a hoarder

Confessions of a hoarderJust browsed the latest edition of Linn's Stamp Magazine, and it gave me a whole lot of thinking. Lawrence block wrote (once again) an excellent column, and this time he focused on hoarding and collecting. Though I'm still not even middle aged (I'll turn 35 next month), I've been accumulating "all-sorts" for over 20 years now. And it definitely shows. I confess being a hoarder of some sort on several frontiers. ...( 24 comments).

Building Knowledge Through Experience

Building Knowledge Through ExperienceOne of the most frequently asked questions I get is how do I get ideas and knowledge to make up new blog entries? Well, one of my trusted sources are user responses / comments from the readers of the blog. For example Dell wrote recently about his interest towards deco stamps in My favourite stamps. Few days later I accidentally stumbled upon with an interesting display of original stamp designs by Fransisco Eppens Helguara, a master of Art Deco stamps. And as the output of these events, I got a bit excited as well, and now I'm writing up this entry about "Eppens stamps". ...(351 words,3 images, 12 comments)

My favorite stamps

My favorite stampsLawrence Block wrote recently in his column (at Linns) about his favorite countries to collect. It got me thinking about my collection, and my personal favorites. Unlike Mr. Block, I don't have a list of countries I prefer over another.  Instead I have a list of different kind of arguments. ...(224 words,4 images, 23 comments)

About difference between a stamp collector and philatelist

About difference between a stamp collector and philatelistYesterday (and as well as today) I got involved into a somewhat "interesting" discussion on MyPhilately that gathered tens of comments in matter of hours. Unfortunately, it turned also into a catfight between stamp collectors and philatelists in few responses. I can hear you saying "again...sigh". My thoughts precisely. Why on earth can't stamp collectors and philatelists co-exist in peace (especially on Valentine's time)? ...(417 words,1 images, 42 comments)

Besides stamps what other hobbies do you have?

Besides stamps what other hobbies do you have? As January is promoted as the National Hobby Month in some parts of the world, I think this is a great time to tell and share something about my other hobbies. As You can guess, many of these are (or relate heavily) to collecting. ...(370 words,3 images, 9 comments)

How to create perfect cross-references between Scott, Michel, Stanley Gibbons etc. stamp catalogue - legally

For some time I've been thinking stamp catalogue index numbers (yes, those running numbers that stamp catalogues use to identify each stamps) and their purpose. I know it sounds a silly topic to bother the mind, but it's actually very interesting one. ...(431 words,1 images, 66 comments)

The anatomy of (stamp) fun

The anatomy of (stamp) funFor the last 4 weeks me and my wife have been somewhat occupied with sorting a 1kg box of worldwide off-paper stamps. It's been a lot of fun, so I thought to share some details about it. ...(412 words,3 images, 30 comments)

How to get youth and young adults into stamp collecting

How to get youth and young adults into stamp collecting One of the complaints that pop ups every now and then is the lack of youth and young people involved with stamp collecting (and even more to collecting societies/clubs). I’m not saying I have the recipe to fix everything, but I do have some opinions that might be helpful. ...(655 words,0 images, 30 comments)

Competitive exhibiting stinks

First, I want to raise hat to those who build up collections and display them publicly. But that said, I have to also confess that IMHO so called competitive exhibiting stinks. ...(360 words,0 images, 12 comments)

Which of these stamps went up in value?

Which of these stamps went up in value? Scott Stamp Catalogue has hit the nail with their current ad campaign running (at least) in Linns. IMO the simple question "Which of these stamps went up in value?" summarises a whole lot of the driving forces in stamp catalogue business. ...(394 words,1 images, 2 comments)

The numbers game

The numbers gameOne of the favorite rants among stamp collectors is the number of new issues. The current flow of new postage stamps is simply too much for many; especially if compared to actual postal needs... Below is a chart describing the number of annual postage stamp sets issued between 1840 and 2008 worldwide. ...(113 words,1 images, 6 comments)

In search of perfect stamp exchange recipe

In search of perfect stamp exchange recipeAs some know, I’ve been more or less active in stamp trading / exchanging for nearly two decades. Below are some of my personal experiences and opinions about the fine art of stamp trading. ...(464 words,2 images, 10 comments)

Keeping track of stamp collection

Keeping track of stamp collection In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes. The idea of stamp inventory program (and other stamp collecting software) is to be of assistance when either one hits the collector.  On simplified level, a stamp inventory solution keeps track of what's inside the collectors collection, and what it might be worth.  In my previous post about stamp collecting software I pretty much axed dedicated software solutions and hailed Microsoft Excel.   With this blog entry I'll show you in more detail how I keep track of my collection. ...(856 words,2 images, 299 comments)

Is a complete all-era worldwide stamp collection possible?

Is a complete all-era worldwide stamp collection possible?A friend of mine recently asked why I collect worldwide stamps from all eras as I have non-existing possibilities of building even somewhat complete collection.  I told him that I collect for personal fun with no serious goals (like exhibition philately or profit seeking) attached; for me it's just a hobby like reading a good novel....  But I dared to challenge him by saying that a complete, all-era worldwide collection is by no means as impossible as generally considered. And I've got the proofs... ...(533 words,4 images, 57 comments)

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