Stamp collecting

Well I thought it would be appropriate to start with a blog that outlines a bit about the history of stamp collecting as this hobby has been the driver for me to create Kiwi Stamp Art Limited…

Stamp collecting has been one of the world's most popular hobbies since the late nineteenth century with the rapid growth of the postal service, as a never-ending stream of new stamps was produced by countries that sought to advertise their distinctiveness through their stamps.

Stamp collecting is generally accepted as one of the areas that make up the wider subject of philately, which is the study of stamps. Many casual stamp collectors accumulate stamps for sheer enjoyment and relaxation without worrying about the tiny details. The creation of a large or comprehensive collection, however, generally requires some philatelic knowledge and will usually contain areas of philatelic studies.

A Bit of History

Postage stamp collecting began at the same time that stamps were first issued, and by 1860 thousands of collectors and stamp dealers were appearing around the world as this new study and hobby spread across Europe, European colonies, the United States and other parts of the world.

The first postage stamp, the Penny Black, was issued by Britain in May 1840 and pictured a young Queen Victoria. It was produced without perforations (imperforate) and consequently had to be cut from the sheet with scissors in order to be used. While unused examples of the Penny Black are quite scarce, used examples are quite common, and may be purchased for around $100 to $200, depending upon condition.

People started to collect stamps almost immediately as the first stamp issues were created. As the hobby and study of stamps began to grow, stamp albums and stamp related literature began to surface, and by the early 1880s publishers like Stanley Gibbons made a business out of this element.

Children and teenagers were early collectors of stamps in the 1860s and 1870s. Many adults dismissed it as a childish pursuit but later many of those same collectors, as adults, began to systematically study the available postage stamps and publish books about them. Some stamps, such as the triangular issues of the Cape of Good Hope, have become legendary.

By the early 2000's stamp collecting was seen to be in decline as the digital world surpassed traditional hobbies. Despite this decline, in 2013 The Wall Street Journal estimated the global number of stamp collectors to still be around 60 million!

Collecting Specialties

A worldwide collection would now be enormous, running to thousands of volumes, and would be incredibly expensive to acquire. Many collectors therefore limit their collecting to particular countries, certain time periods, or particular "topical" subjects.

The options for topical stamp collecting are almost endless with popular topical themes including areas such as animals, dogs, cats, butterflies, birds, flowers, art, sports, Olympics, maps, Disney, scouting, space, ships, famous people, and many others.

My personal specialty is all New Zealand stamps which I aim to showcase examples of through my unique artworks!

Starting a Collection

Want to know more about stamp collecting? There are plenty of great sites on the web to get information on this hobby, or you could also join a local club or society to help you get started. Below are a couple of useful links with more information for NZ based collectors:

NZ Post – About Stamp Collecting:

NZ Philatelic Federation: