We are proud to publish the first of two winners in our recent essay competition. We liked them so much that we decided to award two first prize winners. Both authors were enthusiastic about their stamp collecting. We hope you enjoy this one from Jim Hall…
As I get older and my stamp collection stays as young as the first day I started over fifty five years ago at a friends house that just wanted to get rid of stamps he was given to him by his father. My older sisters were ending their hobby of collecting stamps with a friend and gave me an ancient Scott Stamp Book. To my amazement my friends father was in Northern Africa and Italy during World War Two, collected everything that he could get his hands on and he found many Italian stamps that I have in my collection today. But as my book filled and I grew older, I branched out to the stamps between the wars in Europe.
I take great pride in my German, Italy, France and Belgium where I frequently went to the local stamp shop and gleefully looked through the pen bin to fill in the remaining spots. Each stamp I have I can tell a little story behind each one, each chase to get that one spot filled, that one stamp to complete that group or page. I stand amazed that there are no more stamp collecting shops in my local area, but I do go the local shows to catch up on my love for stamps. I take them out on a regular basis to look at them, what I call, “my etchings” seeing I look at each stamp as just that, works of art and not bits of paper or label. I revel in my days in finding someone that collects the same as I do, and remind myself of each spot that needs my attention.
I am also a collector of Soviet Union space stamps that have come across my desk in the years, and look up interesting articles that give a story behind each one. To better my knowledge of this subject, I remind myself I lived through the times of space dogs, Yuri Gagarin, and the United States space race that put us in the moon. To collect history of something we take for granted, and remind ourselves of the triumphs many of men and woman paid dearly for.
Yes I am an, ‘Arm Chair’ historian and I can tell anyone about the history I once lived in my hobby of stamp collecting and showing others what I am so proud of. Stamp collecting teaches me history, geography and the world’s monetary system. While it all so gives me a better love for my, “family of man” and how each day I look at my collection I am reminded how I take my life, one day at time, and thank God I can see the world grow into a place to love and enjoy.