WDEL Blog: Eclectic Hobbies with Allan Loudell

How to make Postal History fun!

If you've read my previous columns on stamp collecting, you know I take a rather dim view of the stamp companies which offer new-issue U.S. First Day Covers by subscription, often advertising in glossy, mass-circulation, national publications like USA Weekend.

Such advertising inevitably draws neophytes to the stamp collecting hobby (Can't complain about that!). But since such First Day Covers arrive automatically (and a mass appeal stamp company, such as Fleetwood, would provide FDC albums) - requiring next to no effort by the recipient - I fear many customers burn out on those FDC's after a few years.

Worse, the recipient dies, and his loved ones try to sell those modern FDC's to a dealer, only to find that a dealer will pay pittance of what was "invested" (if at all). The survivors sour on stamp collecting.

Stamp collectors who STAY with the hobby invest - I think - more time and effort. They view stamps as miniature vistas to history, geography, and culture, not to mention art and engraving.

If a collection later yields some substantial monetary gain, great, but that's not the primary reason one collects.

(Unless a person of substantial means does the research, and shells out significant dollars for classic, "investment grade" stamps.)

I personally like to have fun with a collection, particularly when pursuing "postal history".

So what do I intend to do Monday, December 7th - Pearl Harbor Day, but also Delaware Day?

I collect some Delaware postal history, and I've decided to collect multiple cancellations from U.S. post offices up and down Delaware - on individual covers - for Delaware Day.

I guess I'm inspired to do it this year, because our current first-class postal rate - 44 cents - is the same as the denomination for the "New Sweden" U.S. airmail stamp which came out in 1988 to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the Swedish colonization of the Delaware Valley (coinciding with the visit that year of the Swedish King and Queen!). Also, two of the 1987 22-cent, Delaware stamps bring us to the current first-class rate.

So I will visit as many post offices as I can Monday - Delaware Day - seeking town cancellations on those stamps.

(I hope I don't have to wait in too many lines!)

Posted at 7:36pm on December 3, 2009 by Allan Loudell

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