Stamps on the Tube: Prologue

In mid-July 2018, I wrote about the excellent Exploring Stamps YouTube channel. It remains, hands down, the best stamp collecting vlog out there. Host Graham Beck continues to post interesting content on a regular basis. Although the Exploring Stamps series is ongoing (Season 4’s Episode 6 was posted some four months ago), most of the recent content is under the banner of #philately. It doesn’t matter what name he uses, the videos never fail to fascinate and educate. From the newbie to the professional, there is something for every level of collector. During the various worldwide lockdowns during the pandemic, his channel helped to satisfy those many collectors starving for philately, a hobby that once was considered a very “anti-social” activity.

Stamp collecting has seen a resurgence of sorts in recent years due to social media such as YouTube and other platforms. We have always had stamp shows to attend and some are still lucky enough to have a brick-and-mortar stamp dealer’s shop that they can visit. But the general public, if they ever thought of stamp collectors at all, most likely envisioned some grumpy old man sitting alone with tweezers endlessly moving stamps from one big pile to another occasionally putting some into a “stamp book”. And for most collectors, this is probably fairly accurate (perhaps not always so grumpy).

Facebook is rife with groups promoting the hobby, some are more “serious” than others and newbies asking innocent questions can sometimes need thick skin. There are a number of stamp images on Instagram and a growing number of very short philatelic video clips on TickTock. Throughout my own lockdowns in southern Thailand, I spent hours each day scrolling through my Twitter feed devouring the tremendous amount of stampy tweets. Through it all, The Digital Philatelist has attempted to keep the rest of us informed of new blogs, vlogs and the like through his ever vigilant online presence.

YouTube and, especially, Exploring Stamps made the forced social distancing of 2020 and 2021 bearable if not downright enjoyable. Graham has never been the only show in town, however, and he certainly wasn’t the first philatelist with a channel. He has inspired many others to create their own channels (and a few old-timers to “up their game” once they saw what was possible).

On several occasions over the past two or three years, I, too, have been inspired but I keep dropping the ball. I do have several YouTube channels as a result of having several Google accounts but they are mostly devoid of content. Maybe someday the Philatelic Pursuits one will get off the ground.

At the moment I am on holiday — the month-long school closure between Term One and Term Two — and I have started to devote a bit of time each afternoon to watching stamp vlogs. I have been taking notes whenever I find something interesting, either for my collecting activities or for some future content. This evening, I thought that I should make a list of all the philatelic video channels I found along with notes on the type or format of their presentations.

Originally, this was going to be one article — a simple list, perhaps with ratings — but as I thought about it, I came to the decision to feature a different channel or two in a number of separate articles. I feel that there is no end in sight for new stamp vlogs and I am discovering older ones all the time. A recent episode of #philately included a run-down of several that I had yet to come across.

Snail Mail with Smokey – Episode 18: Postcrossing Top 10 Part 2

So, let me welcome you to Stamps on the Tube, a new series profiling as many of these vlogs as I can on a semi-regular basis (once I return to work, all bets are off!). I plan to take a couple of screenshots (banner and a video example), list a few details such as how long the channel has been on YouTube and the number of videos, and try to discern what the YouTuber’s primary collecting focus is (most of those I have watched tend to have quite a variety of subject matter).

I will not attempt any kind of critical review of any of these, however, as even the most basic hold a certain charm. In my opinion, Graham has set the bar quite high on both informational content and technical prowess and at present there are few are approach that level. It is exciting to find several that are coming close.

Thanks for watching, er, reading.

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