December 21, 2010, - 2:55 pm

Super Sad: The Death of Stamp Collecting in America

By Debbie Schlussel

This might be a higher-tech case of “video killed the radio star.”  But, whether the Internet is to blame or not, I lament this story–if true–about the death of stamp collecting among American kids.  As a kid, my dad got me interested in stamp collecting a/k/a philately.  I still have my stamp collection, even if I damaged some of the stamps and most of them aren’t worth so much.  They were fun and beautiful to look at, and they helped my father give me a background on the historical figures, events, and cultural phenomena depicted on them.  They were a great educational tool.  And the “First Day of Issue” special envelopes were cool, too.  Plus, my father got me books on stamps and coins from Israel and enrolled the two of us in the Biblical Numismatic Society.


I’ll bet numismatics (coin collecting) is probably not as dead, due to the heightened value of many gold and silver coins.  But collecting American stamps and coins, with my father’s active encouragement, taught me a great appreciation for America, our founding fathers, our great inventors and entrepreneurs, etc.  And many of the stamps overlapped with our pop cultures loves:  Frank Sinatra, comic books, etc.  The Israeli coins and stamps depicted centuries of Jewish history and events in Israel, none of which had anything to do with the politically correct group of invaders now called, “the Palestinians.”

Stamps also helped develop my pride in being an American. You can send e-mail anywhere in the world. There are no national borders (except maybe when you send to some Muslim and communist nations, who block you). There is no nation-specific currency or postage to send e-mail messages. America had its own, unique stamps, which were emulated and collected all around the world. It was a big deal to get “stamphood,” which in my view was more prestigious than knighthood (heck, Tom Jones and Paul McCartney got that). The stamps exuded a brash, unapologetic pride in the great things, people, and happenings that are uniquely American. Maybe the death of stamp collecting correlates with the lessening of pride and patriotism in America and the rise of apologism against it, in our younger generations.

Modern day kids will lose out on all of that–on all of the stimulation of curiosity and learning that I got through stamps (and coins).  It’s yet another aspect of the dumbing down of America and its escalation with each generation . . . and each generation of technology, from dumb videos on MTV in the ’80s to obnoxious reality shows that began in the ’90s, to texting and Facebook today.  None of these will replace what I got from collecting stamps.

The advent of self-adhesive sticker stamps, mass production (neither of these are mentioned in the story, but I know they are two of the reasons), and e-mail all contributed to the aging demographic of stamp collectors and the lack of interest among younger generations.  I’d bet the dumbing down of who and what is depicted on U.S. postal stamps probably contributed, too, though that’s not mentioned in the story.  Ditto for the fact that the U.S. Postal Service allowed you to go online and make your own stamps, putting any pictures you wanted on them.  That makes it all too commonplace and devalued stamps, in my view. (So did “Forever Stamps,” but I like those.)

And with today’s premium placed on sex and violence, I guess stamp collecting is considered too geeky and unhip. You won’t be able to keep track of which sperm donor the Kardashian skankubines are sleeping with this week. It won’t clue you in on what the Jersey Shore morons are doing. And the day any of these glorified nothings are on a U.S. Postal stamp is truly a sad day . . . a day I fear might be coming soon because it’s probably the only thing that will get the interest of the young ignoramuses populating America.

The public’s growing fascination with wireless devices and sports could spell the end of stamp collecting, a hobby noted for its slow pace. . . .

“There used to be a lot more younger people,” said Fred Levantrosser, president of the Motor City Stamp Club, based in Dearborn Heights. “With sports, TV and computers, the younger people have different tastes now.”

Levantrosser, 72, said another club he belongs to, the Dearborn Stamp Club, canceled a show set for May 2011 because it lacked young, fit volunteers to put on the event. The average age of the club’s members is in the 80s.

“There weren’t enough people to do enough work to make the show viable,” Levantrosser said.

Metro Detroit stamp collectors say they’re trying to attract younger people to their clubs. Members meet monthly to discuss their collections, including stamps and first-day covers — stamped postcards or envelopes processed where the stamp was issued. . .

“It’s really the older folks that have a passion for it,” said Henry Czerwick, 73, a former member of the Dearborn Stamp Club. “When they started stamp collecting, there wasn’t the Internet. There weren’t all the activities they have nowadays. In the old days, it was the way you learned about the world.”

Did or do you collect stamps?  What’s your favorite stamp (could be from a foreign country, doesn’t have to be from the U.S. Postal Service)?

Like I said, this development makes me sad because it’s not just the death of stamp collecting.  It’s the death of interest in learning about America, overwhelmed by the interest in “learning” about Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal.

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51 Responses

Debbie, You are 100% correct (as usual). I learned a ton through stamp collecting (I am now 62) as a child. After synagogue on Saturday mornings my friends and I would meet and swap stamps and stories about what the stamp meant; be it an historical event or bio of the subject depicted. Too, we learned a lot of geography. Days long gone, for sure.
Mike Levine,
Moraga, CA

Mike Levine on December 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Okay, I am a geek. I still collect stamps when I have the time (I recently started up my collection after years of neglect).

However, collecting is hard these days. One of the last “stamp stores” in Washington, DC stopped dealing last year. It seems no one cares about the miniature artistic masterpieces anymore.

Some of my favorite stamps are of British colonial stamps, occupied country stamps (WWII, of course), from countries that no longer exist (Tibet, for example), etc. I would love to collect early U.S. stamps, but they are way too expensive.

If any of your readers have any old stamp albums they wish to send to me, please feel free to forward them to my business address. I will be forever grateful.

Jonathan Grant on December 21, 2010 at 3:15 pm

P.S. Make sure the stamps and albums are protected from the elements if you do mail them to me. And thank you.

Jonathan Grant on December 21, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Philately is a new hobby compared to numismatics; people have collected coins for millenia, but stamps for only a hundred and fifty years or so. Interest in stamps was artificially heightened by Franklin Roosevelt’s confiscation of gold coinage and his public pushing of his own stamp collecting hobby as a substitute. Philately began to decline when gold possession was re-legalized in the 70s and the WWII/Depression-era collector base started to die out. The Postal Service then gave it the coup de grace by churning out commemorative stamps by the tens of millions, thus destroying any collector value as rarities. (By contrast, Congress limits the issue of commemorative coinage.)

Today, my packages sometimes arrive plastered with stamps from the 1950s. Their value as collectibles have fallen below their face value as stamps.

Solomon2 on December 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Hey friend,

    As an FYI for you, the earliest coins date to c.2700BCE, so that’s only between two millenia and three millenia that coins (and coin collecting) have been in existence to be exact.

    Now, I’m a coin collector, who does know how great it is to also collect stamps in general. Personally, I like collecting coins mainly ’cause they have been around very much longer than stamps. Yet, stamps always have been beautiful artworks that heavily manifest great historical commemoration, and instructional value. This is one of the things that is difficult for coins to do as well. Stamps are, of course, easier to manufacture, so they have this particular advantage.

    I now want to share with you how overproduction of certain coins relate to the decline of stamp collecting merit. Yes, postal services create way too many stamps–so many that you and everyone can almost have a stamp of practically anyone and anything and anywhere. When you can have such a near-infinite variety, the natural appreciation of stamps declines, the rare stamps are not well known and often overlooked, stamps in general fully become the label-tokens to be used at their eariest opportunity, and many of our “dumbing down” society (I believe in it too, like Debbie, as unfortunate as it is in itself.) looks for anything that can relate to the overemphasis of pop culture, stamps included. Now for coins, there is a related overproduction, particularly with those really bad and worthless commemoratives. Now, don’t get me fully wrong, some commemorative coins are nice and meaningful, but many lately (in the US and around the world) are meaningless and unworthy. Why do they make them? Yet, many collectors buy them as if they’re obtaining some collector’s jewel. This I also include in our “dumbing down” society. In the US, great US Americans were put on commemorative coins, but now, they put structures, animals, medals, and societies on them. Now, these subjects are nice in themselves, but why overemphasize them on commemorative coins? These reasons are why historical coins are no longer treated with value, and become more and more treated for their bullion value if they have them. It’s exceedingly aggravating.

    So, we all need to show people, particularly the younger generations, the meaningful beauty, value and splendor of coins and stamps–the real ones, not the worthless “anything” commemoratives.

    AMB on May 2, 2012 at 5:00 pm


    I completely agree with you about coin collection is older hobby than stamps.


    gandhi stamps on August 1, 2012 at 8:07 pm

My grandfather introduced me to stamp collecting when I was 12. I collected off an on through high school, let it lapse during college, and picked it up again in my late twenties and have continued this great hobby. I’m 40 now.

I agree with the comment above regarding the number of stamp stores closing. eBay and other online stores are great resources, but being able to search for a stamp and find it online just isn’t as fun. Part of the thrill of collecting was the hunt and the excitement of finding something I needed.

I collect primarily older US – sheets, First Day Covers. I also have a nice collection of Ryukun stamps from when my grandfather was stationed in Okinawa. My favorite stamp is US #929 – the 1945 3 cent Iwo Jima.

The self-adhesive, mass produced stamps of today have no personaility. There’s something to be said about running your finger across an old US stamp and feeling the lines of the engraving. And the artwork on today’s stamps just don’t compare with older stamps. It’s sad to see this great hobby fading away. Hopefully my boys will grow to love it as much as I do.

John Baron on December 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm

It’s been a while since I collected stamps, but I still have my collection stored away. My favorite stamp of all time came out after I stopped collecting, although I do have a first day cover of it. It’s that very cool Elvis Presley stamp from 1993.

John N on December 21, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Very sad.. for all the reasons you cited.. hopefully it’ll be one of those retro trends that pick up again. But even then it’ll be only by smug degenerate hipsters who do it to be ironic. *frownieface*

soopermexican on December 21, 2010 at 4:46 pm

I’m a middle-aged man involved in several hobbies: Pigeon Racing, beekeeping, ham radio, and others. In every hobby our clubs have the same problem: the average age is quite old, and we are not able to get young people interested. To be fair, if we had video games and the internet when I was a kid, I probably wouldn’t have gotten involved in any hobbies either!

Joe P on December 21, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I’m in my early 30s and probably among the younger stamp collectors around. My grandfather (a Holocaust survivor, now 86 years old) got me into the hobby when I was 5. He has tried to start stamp collecting programs at schools in his area, and even offered to donate tens of thousands of stamps to the Philadelphia school district for this purpose. But the district rejected his proposal. He literally cannot give his stamps away.

Very sad.

Ibn Abu on December 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm

I should also mention that I have dozens of extra stamp albums that I (and my grandfather) would be more than happy to donate if they would go to some sort of program for kids to be introduced to this hobby. If anyone has any suggestions, I’md be happy to hear them.

Ibn Abu on December 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    My grand daughter has started collecting stamps and greatly fascinated with the new hobby.I will be grateful if you can send me used worldwide stamps to get her interested in the new hobby.
    My address is
    No.6,Nathkrupa,Opp. A.T.I.
    S.T. Road,
    Mumbai 400022/India

    Please send by only registered mail as postal pilferage is rampant here.
    Thanks and regards

    S.venkatachalam on December 23, 2013 at 7:20 am

Yes, I used to collect stamps, and what you say is true. It was educational and informative, and enabled me to learn more about history and geography.

However, as I later realized, philately showed that even during World War II, the United States appeased Communism. Many people will remember the Flag Series during World War II, i.e. where a set of 13 stamps was issued, each showing the flag of an overrun nation: Poland, Czechoslovakia, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Albania, Korea, Yugoslavia, and Greece.

All well and good, but they forgot a few countries, i.e. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. It didn’t count if countries were overrun by the Communists, because FDR appeased the Communists his entire term in office. Even the 13 country set was a cynical campaign maneuver to appeal to the ethnic vote in 1944. FDR didn’t lift a finger to help Poland, for example.

Nevertheless, the Flag Set is a stirring series, and one that I remember from my stamp collecting days.

I remember Israeli stamps as well. The stamps honoring the United Nations in the early days were beautiful, at a time when it was still possible to honor the United Nations, even with its flaws.

Little Al on December 21, 2010 at 5:44 pm

Yup! I remember my days collecting stamps. I started with a World Album. Those aluminum stamps from Togo and those astronaut stamps from “Sharjaa and Dependencies” made me thing how backward some were. My Iraqi stamps still have Saddam’s face.

I then started to specialize in US stamps, US plate-blocks, and my favorite: Israel. I bought the White Ace Albums for Israel. These stamps really do tell a wonderful story!

Joe on December 21, 2010 at 6:19 pm

I know you guys heard of “”, right right? You can order stamps from that website so you no longer have to wait on a long line at the post office (which can be a pain in the ass at times).

“A nation is identified by it’s borders, language & culture!”

Sean R. on December 21, 2010 at 7:28 pm

You are correct. I have may grandfathers stamp collection. He was born in 1890 and started collecting stamps in 1900. My father added to it and my father gave it to me about 20 years ago. My own children were fascinated by stamps and learned about geography and history. A great home schooling activity.

diane on December 21, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I used to collect stamps a long time ago…after several moves and reaching adult-hood I sort of lost interest and now I do not even know where my stamp collection is. My dad got me interested in collecting them. It was fun and interesting at the time. I don’t even recall the types of stamps I collected, but most were probably US stamps. My dad had a collection of stamps and coins. I’ll have to ask him if he still has them. It is sad the things that get lost to technology but most things evolve and come back. Hopefully stamp collecting will make a comeback but those who stamp collect now are the ones who have to share the hobby with future generations or it will surely be lost.

freedom4usa on December 21, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Actually, for anyone who merely just likes looking at the artwork and isn’t really interested in the whole “where it came from” angle, the internet has made life extremely easy. Merely typing the words “Postage Stamps” into a Google image search will pretty much keep you entertained forever.

In the early 90s, people were similarly lamenting the end of lp cover artwork…And once again, the internet came to the rescue, with tons of websites devoted to nothing but full-sized (12×12) reproductions of album jackets from the late 40s to the late 80s.

Irving on December 21, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Somewhere at my mom’s place is a stamp collection that I started when I was in grade 4. It wasn’t too spectacular – it was just a book with mounts of carefully peeled-off stamps – but each stamp was a miniature portrait of events and personages of days gone by.

I always got a kick out of stamps from the Soviet Block since the artists managed to cram so much propaganda into such a little piece of paper. Each stamp appeared to have a statement to make: we are better than you – bow to our great works and the New Socialist Man©. Of course I was intrigued by the Communist system back then, sadly not realising the great social engineering disaster it truly was.

Looking back, there was some sort of narcotic ritual in removing the stamp, mounting it and admiring its colours, construction and watermarks (the Italian stamps have the strongest ones – big honking stars). Sadly, the march of time have diminished their relevance. We pay bills electronically, use debit and credit cards in place of cash, download digitalized reproductions of audio and visuals and reduced the art of conversation and socializing to random strings of sound-bites, slogans and emoticons.

We can’t turn back time, but we can still collect these relics of a past filled with wonder and hope. The kids should realize where we have evolved to understand where they’re going. So save them stamps, and those special coloured pieces of paper and shiny pieces of stamped metals: they’ll come in handy soon enough.

The Reverend Jacques on December 22, 2010 at 3:53 am

So sad that today most kids don’t even know what the word “hobby” means. Me and my siblings were into so many things, from model railroading, to magic, to model rocketry, to salt water aquariums.

I encourage my children to engage in endeavors that challenge their thinking and creativity. I taught my 10 year old how to solder a few weeks back and he successfully built a blinking LED kit by himself, and was so proud- I could almost hear the gears turning in his head as he dreamed of all the things he could build or work on now…

I will teach them how to use various hand tools and power tools, properly and safely. They are all already fully aware of things like safety around dangerous equipment INCLUDING guns. MY kids will not only NOT be swinging chainsaws at their friends, but they won’t be firing guns into crowds. They will be experimenting and inventing, exercising and building their innate creativity so as to come up with ideas that could very well make all of our lives better.

Observing Shabbos (Sabbath) properly is certainly an expedient in this process- on a day where they cannot watch TV, play with electric/electronic games and toys, or go “hang” at the mall, the kids are playing board games, Chess, and doing lots of reading and thinking….

Doda McCheesle on December 22, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Debbie, this is true. My mother collected stamps, and it is one of the activities we shared in the 70’s. Thanks for reminding me of this.

colt13 on December 22, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Debbie, their is both good and bad news about stamp collecting. The bad news is that ebay almost single handedly destroyed the stamp/coin stores. Sellers no longer have to worry about rent, they just post on ebay. That eliminates the lazy saturday afternoon hanging around the store looking for that special stamp you want. The good news is that with the economy the way it is, stamp collecting is on the upswing. For XXX dollars a pound you can have at it and keep occupied for hours. Most stamps printed after the war are not too expensive, that is where I would start a younger collector today. Also I have noticed prices of stamps going up at my local auction house. I try to collect from countries that have changed names and Canal Zone stamps. I hope to teach my son geography by collecting of stamps and identifying where they are from. : ) Jim

Spearheadsgt on December 23, 2010 at 4:26 pm

When I was a kid, I was really into stamps. I collected them with a passion. I started to become disenchanted with them when the United States Post Office became the US Postal Service and they started issuing stamps just for the sake of collectors and raising revenue, they were no longer true commemorative stamps. Even though that was 40 years ago, I still have most of my stamps, though most of the 1960’s and 70’s stamps I had are now being used as postage. It’s funny sending out a letter with 8 stamps on it to make up the 44 cents postage!

BruceC on July 10, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Thank you for your recollections and your perceptive take on things. I suspect that stamp shops had largely gone long before ebay came on the scene (indeed I think ebay has, along with the internet in general) given the hobby something of a shot in the arm). If it wasn’t for ebay I wouldn’t have taken up collecting again after a 30 year sabbatical. I think the big problem for stamps is that in most first world countries there is no real desire on the part of postal administrations that real stamps be used for their original purpose. To send many things via the post these days it is virtually impossible to do so using conventional postage stamps, prepaid envelopes or labels being the norm – and add to that the eradication of what used to be the bread and butter items in the post (postcards, bank statements, etc etc) that are now sent electronically and it is quite likely anyone under about 20 may have only very rarely seen a letter arrive at their house with a stamp affixed (unlike when I was a kid and letters and packages from relatives and friends of my parents would arrive regularly from the four corners of the globe festooned with colorful stamps and mysterious transit markings. Even now when I buy things on ebay from professional stamp dealers it would be less than 50% of the time that the sending has stamps on it for postage. I bought a large album from a guy in Chicago and was looking forward to all the nice hi-value commemoratives used on it – only to get a white postal label. Unless a conscious decision is made by governments or postal authorities to encourage the positive use again of stamps (and this can easily be justified by recognizing that stamps are some of the best advertisements for a country around and they cost almost nothing – compared to the gazillions spent on flash advertising campaigns) then I fear that it will only be certain Asian and European countries that will still be using them for actual postage in a decades time.

Richard Quinn on November 29, 2011 at 7:42 am

What I’d like to know is how do stamp collectors collect the present-day sticker-stamps? Do stamp collectors cut them out with their liner and place them in an album, or do they peel them off their liner and stick them in an album? I’d like to know please. Also, are the present-day sticker-stamps even worth collecting today? An answer from anyone would help me, but I’d like to hear one from Debbie too please.

AMB on March 5, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I started collecting stamps fifty years ago. Today I continue to show new exhibits every two years. I have collections on postal history, thematic and traditional. My daughter is also collecting and exhibiting on national and international levels.
For good items the prices goes up to many thousands of dollars. For cheap items E-bay is a perfect choice.
Take a look at exhibitions. They are full of visitors.The hobby goes on.

Hedy Faibel on July 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm


Your blog post is mentioned in Gandhi Stamps Club blog.

gandhi stamps on August 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Hey Everyone!

Are you a stamp collector, who is having difficulty collecting the present-day sticker stamps, yet you like some of these sticker stamps, and want to collect them?

You may await mail to come to you with these sticker stamps you like, but take a lot of time soaking/steaming the stamps off, especially since the adhesive on these new sticker stamps is very strong now.

So, you may surely instead like to take at least one of these sticker stamps from the booklet that you buy from the post office, and add it to your collection, but there is that problem.

Unlike the stamps of the past, which were free-floating, until you licked the back, prior to placing on the cover, these stamps have their stickiness all ready and there.

Okay, so you may permanently place these new sticker stamps in an album, but you can never move them, or take them out to examine them closely, without brining the whole album closer to your face.

Okay, so you may place these sticker stamps on paper, and then cut out the paper, but we all know that that almost always doesn’t look good. Stamps in general look better when they are fully free-floating without extra attachments.

So, you want to collect the new sticker stamps, but ensure that it doesn’t take so much time and effort to collect, and still be able to move around as you please, and still have no attachments, making them fully free-floating as well?

What can everyone do?

Look no further, for here is the answer!

Place the new and unused sticker stamp on a piece of soft facial tissue or bathroom tissue. These kinds of tissues are very soft and very tearable and very thin. After your stamp is placed, press on the stamp for a while, so that the adhesives bond with the tissue well. Then, start tearing the tissue all around from the stamp. You’ll see how easy it is to do this. When done, your sticker stamp will be free-floating, and appear to have no extra attachements. And you’re done. Place your newly collected sticker stamp into your album with all the rest. It will totally look like it belongs there.

This nice new way of collecting the present-day sticker stamps will at least add to the collectibility of meaningful stamps, without extra difficulty nor unsightliness; and perhaps it may encourage stamp collecting to rise again.

AMB on September 14, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Stamp collecting is not dead and the Internet is used to revive it. You’re welcome to see stamp collectors and their collections on our online community website –

Amir on May 25, 2013 at 4:22 pm

One of my fondest memories as a child was going to Gimbels Department store and go to the stamp counter and pick out Israel Stamps and US stamps that I liked.My highlight of being a kid was when I saved enough money to graduate from an HE Harris album to a Minkus Master Global Stamp Album. Now as a coin dealer full time I miss collecting stamps it taught me a lot about the world.

Raymond Bennett on October 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Nice article, Debbie. I enjoyed reading it. I have been a collector, specializing in U. S. stamps since 1943. My collection is on Minuteman album pages. It is rare that Minuteman shows new issues in any other format than singles.

If you go to most post offices to purchase stamps you probably come away being very frustrated. The U. S. Postal Service sells most new issues in booklets of 10, 18, or 20 stamps, and they will NOT break a booklet to sell a single. This fact alone puts stamp collecting for a lot of the 2 million or so collectors in the U. S. out of financial reach.

Since the purchase of a stamp constitutes a contract with the government that they will deliver a letter when a stamp adorns the envelope. Collectors don’t care about this contract. That means the government gets something for nothing. They don’t have to fulfill their part of the contract.

One would think that the U.S.P.S. would know this and make it easier to buy singles.

One last thought, Why does the U.S.P.S. print millions of the same stamp? Because of this the only U.S. stamps that have any value are the errors found in the printing process, and the U.S.P.S. does their best to not make errors and when found they are destroyed.

Charles MacCrone on November 12, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Hi Folks! I’m 61 and started collecting U.S. plate blocks with my father’s encouragement at the tender age of 6. I still have many of them, but stopped collecting summarily when the postage rates hit 39 cents. I should have stopped in the early 80s when the USPS transitioned to a new plate number system that concealed all but one or two digits of the entire plate number.

For me, there was nothing like a matched set of regular issue plate blocks. That meant four blocks bearing the same plate number in all 4 positions: upper and lower left, and upper and lower right. It was considerably more difficult to find a matched set for a regular issue as opposed to a commemorative, simply because regular issues generally bore many more plate numbers [i.e. survived for years through dozens of printings] than commems.

There is a catalogue known as Durland’s which identifies common and rare plate numbers [and their positions] and values them as such. I have often found that collecting plate blocks was a bit of a cross between both stamp and coin collecting, at least in my opinion. After finding your prize 9-cent Alamo PB [Scott #1043], or better yet, a $5 Hamilton block [Scott #1053], now it was time to see if that particular number and position was worth more relative to the common ones for that issue.

For me, that was similar to the excitement of trading rolls of pennies at the bank, and cracking one open to find a 1914D. Talk about a bygone era! Trying searching for a 1914D penny today in circulation, or watch the looks of folks in the post office if you were to mail an envelope franked with a 1930s Presidential plate block or a 1950s Liberty Series block!

Joe DiLaurenzio on January 15, 2014 at 10:41 pm

I think the USPS and the various other postal services around the world have done the most to frustrate would-be stamp collectors. The problem is that they’ve done their best to exploit the collector without giving much of any value in return. There are just too many new stamps coming out and they’re random, always chasing after the latest fad to generate new sales. That may be fine as a short term strategy but it doesn’t encourage youngsters to develop stamp collecting as a long term hobby.

Pete on March 24, 2014 at 12:42 am

You’re right stamp collecting is dead. After collecting used stamps I now collect mint stamps. It’s expensive but you can easily get them.
This month of June 19, 20, 21, 2014, I will have my solo exihibit of mint stamps in souviner sheets, mini sheets, FDC, documented letters etc. I will have it in a big mall in our city Cagayan de Oro City – Philippines. During the exhibition schools are invited to view the stamps. Then I will organize a stamp club in our place

Rene R. Abella on May 29, 2014 at 3:26 am

hi can anyone help me i need to sell all my stamp and coins tnx

katherine olive enerio on November 9, 2014 at 12:25 am

Stamps to me were the same as stereoviews were to much earlier generations. I learned history, geography, and so much more while growing up a bit isolated between Bangkok & Cambodia in the early 1960’s. My favourite stamp is a mint example of the first stamp issued by the Thai government when it was still Siam. It was given to me by a gracious friend of the family who received it and others from a rural farmer who used them, at face value, to pay his first electric bill (ca. Dec. 1960). I have no one in the family interested in my collection other than what it will bring on the net so I am going through it and making it ready for sale while they still have some sort of value and I can still enjoy the proceeds. Like a previous entry, I too am using some of the mint ones for letters & packages. The upsetting thing is that the same companies that sold us hinges for years are the same ones penalizing up for having used them. Too arbitrary and artificial for me anymore……

Ira Medcalf on May 11, 2015 at 2:00 am

Stamp and postcard collecting is alive and well at This site has many younger people all over the world collecting both as a hobby.

Brennie on November 28, 2015 at 7:07 pm

I’m 43 in Canada and I recently picked up my barely filled in stamp binder (the kind with sheets of paper with b&w prints of the stamps, so a catalog and a place to put your collection) from 1988, and I’m getting back into it. The ‘collecting’ as in trading and such doesn’t interest me much, but I look at many stamps as tiny works of art. And to be honest, when I can spend $20-30 on ebay to buy the entire 1988 issue, I’m tempted to buy a year a month. They are also a good way to reflect on the country’s history.

Chris on January 30, 2016 at 2:53 pm

United Nations and Canal Zone stamps were my fancy back in the day. With that said, I have gotten my seven year old Granddaughter involved in collecting (US only). She has taken to it and I don’t push, and even though I love the older stamps with deciphering perforations and water marks and am filling her book with those, I save all the newer, more in sync to her imagination stamps with great color, Dinosaurs, birds, animals, sea creatures and flowers for her to find and hinge to the book. I know I have precious short time with her as the world tugs at her for attention, but I hope to leave an impression and a collection she may reminisce over when Pappy and Nana have left this mortal coil.

Joe on June 20, 2016 at 11:49 am

My dad’s dad collected some stamps casually. My dad went at it whole hog as a young man, collecting stamps from anywhere in the world that didn’t cost too much (one could fill volumes of albums without spending a lot, mostly used stamps). He gave me my first small stamp album when I was about 1st grade, a U.S.-only one,, and we worked on it together from time to time for maybe a decade. He kept at it until he died in his 80s recently. He used to pore over stamp catalogs, figuring out the possible value of his collection. By the 1990s, he was already taking his small collection of mint stamps and using them for postage, since he knew that they had much more value there. When he tried to sell his collection just before he died, he found only one dealer who would buy it all (I think dad packed up 8 boxes of albums and sorted stamps), and he offered a pittance. I stuck with U.S. stamps only and really got into it in the late ’70s through the early ’90s, buying mint stamps left and right, both old and new, trying to fill out every slot in each new year’s album pages. Somewhere along the line I stopped putting them into albums, although I kept buying them, and they sit in my closet in glassine envelopes. Still, I’ve bought fewer and fewer each year specifically for the collection, until very recently, when I just don’t bothere. Until maybe 10 years ago one of our local USPS branches had a collector’s window that was open for a few hours once or twice a week, and the employee who was a collector herself would spend as much time with each customer waiting in line (and there was always a line) to make sure that they got exactly the stamp or stamps that they wanted from the sheet(s), like being fussy over how well centered the images were or whatever. Like everyone else, I loved the stamps themselves and reading about them and seeing them in their neat covers filling in the album pages. Sad that this is a dying hobby–there also used to be coin/stamp stores all over the place around here, but now there are none. Thanks for the article and the memories.

Ellen Finch on December 27, 2016 at 11:53 am

The article was sad to read, given I am still continuing the US Plate Block collection I started with my dad back when I was 13 (every plate block dating back to 1918).

What saddens me is that it costs more to ship a 2016 Harris Plate Block Supplement from a stamp dealer than the actual cost of the Supplement itself. I would think the stamp dealers would be a little more user-friendly in keeping the new and old philatelist’s wanting to stay active with the hobby.

Ed Anhalt on February 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Oh the good old days, when apple pies sat on every window ledge, and all the kids prayed at school and collected stamps. Yah right. Like all conservatives, youre wrong about everything. While retail stamp shops have gone away, online stamp collecting and collector shows have exploded. There are Millions of ebay stamp auctions every week, thousands and thousands of online stores, robust collector groups and prices keep rising. Will the sticker stamps sold by the PO today be valuable someday, probably not, but Philately is a educational, cerebral hobby. Fox news watching morons wont grasp its nuances, the same way they are wrong about every single issue in todays society. You cant be a science denier and racist thug like the repooplinutters and enjoy stamps.

Tony on April 23, 2017 at 9:45 am

Just like rock and roll, stamp collecting isn’t dead. It’s alive and well even among a lot of younger people in the U.S. Join some stamp groups on Facebook and see for yourself. Look at all of the photos of stamps being posted on Instagram and Pinterest. The hobby isn’t dying at all! It’s just changing with the times. Yeah, many of the in-person clubs are dying but people are now meeting in other, more non-traditional ways. I invite you to see for yourself and write a revised column accordingly.

KP on April 29, 2017 at 8:48 am

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