Philatelic Pursuits: November 2014

germanpostagestampdayI always find myself working on my stamp collections more during the last part of the year than at any other time.  2014 has continued that trend.  I don’t know if it’s because I look forward to seeing new Christmas stamps (one of my thematic collecting interests) or if it’s because I always feel relieved once I pay for my annual visa extension and work permit renewal and want to buy something special for myself.  Whatever it is, my mind has been philatelicly filled to such a degree recently that I feel the time is right to launch a new blog series summarizing my current collecting activities.  Welcome to the first installment of “Philatelic Pursuits.”

Back in July 2013 I wrote about a stamp album I’d discovered that had a space for only one stamp from each stamp-issuing entity, past and present.  While I didn’t purchase that album (the $75 shipping cost gave me pause), I liked the idea enough that I began my “Stamp(s) From Every Country” collection.  I now have almost 40 nations represented; for some I couldn’t decide on just one representative stamp but it’s my collection and I can do what I want with it.

Those stamps are currently stored in a nice stockbook I found here in Phuket (philatelic supplies being extremely rare).  Eventually. I’d like to design custom pages on which to display them.  I was inspired to do this by an excellent thread on “Creating Custom Digital Stamp Albums” on the Stamp Bears online forum.  If I can find proper archival card stock I’ll purchase a laser printer and get to work, saving oodles in stamp album and shipping costs. 

1985-12-26-TH027-05-Scott#2211aI have also recently bought a few stamps to add to my collections of Thailand and Pitcairn Islands.  For the former, I’m starting to prepare for the 10th anniversary of the Boxing Day tsunami.  I’ve purchased a few sheets of the 2005 charity stamps in order to use on memorial covers that I’ll (try to) get postmarked in Phuket on December 26th.  I’ve also made a couple of designs for the Muang Phuket Local Post which I’ll release on that day for use on these covers.  These artistamps feature paintings by a couple of local students.  Look for a full announcement soon.

Another activity that has lain dormant for more than a few months has been my postcard exchanges through Postcrossing.  In fact, the only cards I’ve received since the spring were a pair from my sister’s journeys in Italy and Greece (and I seem to have misplaced one of those!).  That’s set to change as I’m preparing to send four cards this week.  With addressees in Germany, Finland, China, and upstate New York (a few miles from snowbound Buffalo), the combined distance involved is some 34,211 kilometers!

TH2014-1055COI’ll visit the main Phuket Town post office sometime this week in order to buy stamps for postcards.  While there, I’ll stop by the shop in the neighboring philatelic museum to take a look at recent issues.  In the past couple of months, Thailand Post has issued stamps marking World Post Day (which coincides with National Letter Writing Week), the (Western) New Year, and a beautiful set and souvenir sheet portraying ships of the Royal Thai Navy.  There are only three more issues left in the 2014 release schedule.

In doing research for my worldwide collection, I stumbled upon two truly awesome blogs – Big Blue 1840-1940 and Dead Country Stamps And Banknotes.  You don’t have to be a philatelist to enjoy the wealth of history featured so check them out if you’re interested in learning about countries you’ve never heard of or never knew where they were.  From time to time, I’ll mention a few of my other favorite stamp blogs; I’m always envious of the writing contained thereon and many have given me ideas for further philatelic pursuits.

Screenshot_2013-12-10-00-28-23~01~01Lastly, I may have waited too long before making my second annual Christmas Card Appeal.  I began collecting holiday-themed stamps in order to ward off the blues brought upon the lack of Yuletide spirit while living in a predominately Buddhist and Muslim area.  I also love receiving mail and have often used cards received from far-off lands as teaching tools in my classrooms.  Last year, I combined my two interests and asked for my readers to send Christmas cards.  I think I received only one from a non-family member (and only one from somebody in my family).  For the 2014 holiday season, I’m planning to be a bit more aggressive and am considering offering an exchange (perhaps one of my Tsunami Anniversary covers).  Look for my appeal blog very soon…

My active collections:

  • “Stamp(s) From Every Country”
  • Thailand – 1883-present (mint and used)
  • Thailand – first day covers, 2004-present
  • Pitcairn Islands – 1940-present (mint and used)
  • Postal History of the Falklands (Malvinas) Conflict of 1982
  • Indian Ocean Tsunami on Stamps (topical – mint, used, covers)
  • Christmas on Stamps (topical – mint, used, covers)
  • Ocean Liners on Stamps (including Paquebot covers)
  • Local Posts

Areas I have an interest in collecting:

  • Barbados (classic period)
  • Falkland Islands and Dependencies (classic period)
  • Confederate States of America (including postal history)
  • Cambodia (all eras)
  • Education on Stamps (teachers, schools, students, etc.)
  • Sherlock Holmes on Stamps
  • Other Literature on Stamps (esp. Charles Dickens and Mark Twain)

Former Collections (abandoned when I moved to Thailand; I may revisit these at some point):

  • United Kingdom – 1840-1952
  • United States – 1847-1997
  • Postal History of New Mexico Territory
  • Åland Islands {mint, first day covers, postal history)
  • Faroe Islands (mint)

In future blogs, I plan to write about each of my current collections.  Once I purchase a new scanner (the old one finally died recently following nearly a decade of faithful service), I hope to feature various stamps that I own.  From time to time, I may feature stamps that I would like to own someday.  There are a lot more of the latter than the former!

Until next time…

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