Stamp Collecting-The Beginnings

Aug 3, 2012 by

The Penny Black

Image Source: flickr/kevinzim

Image Source: flickr/kevinzim



History of Stamp Collecting

Stamp collecting traces its beginnings from the time the first postage stamp was issued by Britain in 1840.  It showed the profile of a young Queen Victoria and is known in the philatelic world as the Penny Black.  Since it did not come with perforations like the present stamps, each had to be cut manually by scissors in order to be used. Used samples of this stamp are quite common but the unused ones are quite scarce and therefore command high value.

Stamps were introduced by Great Britain in relation to the proposed standardization of postal rates in the country.  The postage provided a means for prepaying mail delivery which was becoming a problem at that time.  From the success of the use of the first adhesive postage stamp issued in May 6, 1840, more than 70 countries were using the prepaid postage stamp system by 1860.  It was during this time that the so-called “stamp madness” occurred as thousands of people became avid collectors of stamps.  The hobby of collecting stamps became very popular.

It was not surprising therefore that businesses that catered to stamp collectors began to flourish.  Stanley Gibbons, Ltd. which is located in London, England holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously existing business involved in the sale of postage stamps and related supplies. The first stamp albums came out in the early 1880s.

Stamp Collecting and Philately

It has to be noted that stamp collecting and philately is not one and the same.  While the former is about collecting the stamps, philately is concerned about the study of such stamps.  It is true that most collections start out based on fun and relaxation but there will be a need at some point to organize them as a collection gets bigger.  Collectors will soon find the need to study what they have to enable them to create comprehensive and orderly presentations of their prized stamps.

The young, composed of children and teenagers were the original known stamp collectors.  The interest began as they saw a fun way of collecting through their parents’ mail.  This is the reason why stamp collecting was dismissed before by adults as a childish endeavor.  Eventually, adults recognized the unlimited opportunity presented by collecting and studying stamps.  Today, there are many collections of considerable value.  The personal collection of Philipp Von Ferrary is considered the most complete ever formed in the entire history of stamp collecting.  It was just unfortunate that the collection had to be broken up and sold by the French government as part of payment of war time reparations since Ferrary was Austrian.  Today, the hobby of collecting stamps continue to produce exceptional collections.

My Say

Stamp collecting is a wonderful world to discover. It is not for everyone but for those who have discovered it, unlimited opportunities for personal entertainment and satisfaction can be had. For some, stamp collecting has become a lucrative business endeavor.

singapore post, black penny

The Penny Black as featured during the “Art of Corporate Giving” Event sponsored by Singapore Post Ltd. at the Mandarin Oriental Singapore, July 20, 2012


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A freelance researcher-writer who has continuously been in such field for 8 years. Previous to that, her work experiences are in the banking, advertising, and cooperative industries. More of her work in Google+


  1. I collect stamps for fun and I actually have a blog for it. :)

  2. Hi Teresa,

    I am very happy to have found your blog! Please visit my philatelic blog at Did you know that the Spanish Philippines issued the first postage stamps in Asia in 1854? This is a fact that Filipinos should be most proud of. You may find several examples of the Philippines first issues of 1854 on my blog. Thank you!

  3. I got more interested on collecting stamps by reading this.

  4. I am a stamp collector and I also use Stanley Gibbons products. Most of my stamps came from Great Britain and France.

  5. Sorry Teresa, this is not my kind of stuff. Ewan ko ba, parang boring sa akin. But envy those who knock collecting stamps. siguro, mas gugustuhin ko pa mangolekta ng girls. LOl Kidding aside I am now collecting bull caps.

    • Well, to each his own. We have our own interests which can make us happy and there’s nothing wrong with that. Good luck to your bull cap collection!

  6. My brother-in-law collects stamps and corkscrews and I thought it’s pretty amazing how their collection become a good business venture. I bought my BIL a $20 corkscrew on Ebay and it turned out it’s worth $2,500. I wouldn’t be surprise if it would the same with stamps :)

  7. I used to collect stamps when I was in elementary. Now, it would have been a perfect chance to do the same but I find it hard to have a luxury of time to still write snail mail to all my loved ones and friends around the world because of technology.

  8. My mother used to collect stamps neatly arranged in an album. My sister tried to rearrange the stamps and collected more. Unfortunately it was misplaced during our house renovation.

  9. ems

    I used to collect stamps back in high school, but since people seldom use mails because of internet, I only have 4 or 5 of them. Now, I collect Hello Kitty stuffs for my kid.

  10. Hubby have a few collection of very old stamps, he discontinued doing it though when he joined the service.

    • The one thing I like about collecting is that I can start and stop anytime I want and the collections will still be there if I want to resume.

  11. Collecting stamps are indeed expensive that’s why I am very impressed for someone who is collecting stamps and make this a hobby. You must love collecting stamps to post how this hobby began. This would inform also people who love stamps.

    • Actually it was my husband who got me started on this. We have a special interest in collecting things that have a sense of history and collecting stamps is just one.

  12. che

    I wish I can also collect such but I know myself and I’m not an organized person so I think I will not be successful on this. This is a very informative post. Thanks for sharing. :)

  13. I used to have a collection way back high school but lost it during college :(

  14. collecting stamps is a very good hobby. i remember my boyfriend used to own 2 album of stamps when we were still in college. it is quite addicting at the same time expensive too. =)

  15. I collected stamps when I was little but not anymore right now. I had really fun during those days

  16. i used to love collect stamps but i stopped due to less resources. i went to collecting stationeries instead.

  17. when i was still in high school, i used to collect stamps. at that time, i was also into penpal writing so that’s how i accumulated a lot of stamps. now, people are not into snail mail anymore because of the internet.

  18. i have always love collecting stamps as well as postcards. it would be a delight if we can have a swap too.

  19. A good hobby is collecting rare stamp ,cause each rare Stamp tells you about history

  20. At a bestie’s wedding rehearsal the processional music is heavenly!

    • teresay

      Music sets the tone for the occasion, those who have access to good options are fortunate.

  21. marri

    STAMP collecting is an EPIC hobby ever since
    but I’ve never been an enthusiast. I really look
    up to those stamp collectors because they honor
    valuable piece of paper unfolding an equally remarkable
    personality, place, event or thing that are highly preserved.

    • teresay

      Stamp collecting is not for everyone but nothing should stop non-collectors from appreciating stamps because many are simply works of art.

  22. I have been collecting toys and action figures that have influenced me in my childhood, I love the fact that collecting has so many forms. I am slowly and beginning to start in collecting old Philippine Money. I admire stamp collections because they reflect heritage of a certain country. Hope you continue and enjoy your hobby.

    • teresay

      You have an interesting collection of your own, something that has particular significance for you personally. That is always a good sign that you will persevere in your collection. Wish you more toys and action figures to come, and oh, old Philippine money as well.

  23. Cai

    I used to collect stamps, my dad got me into it. I eventually lost interest…boring e! I collected Hello Kitty / sanrio stuff instead hehehe!

    • teresay

      Well , we all do eventually find what we really want to collect so let’s just enjoy it.

  24. Wow! I admire this site.. really informative! I used to collect stamps… not knowing its history and how it come about.. good research!

    • teresay

      Thanks for thinking so. I hope I can provide more informative posts here.

  25. Collecting Stamps is a nice hobby but sometimes, expensive. I saw many people who loves collecting stamps… The old stamp you have, the more it expensive.

    • teresay

      Yes, collecting stamps can be expensive but one need not follow the path of others who see it as an investment and rather go for the fun and enjoyment.

  26. When I was in high school I used to collect stamps but it was stop and have changed it to collecting coins from different countries.

    • teresay

      That’s the beauty about collecting, we can do it at our own phase or turn to other interests for a time. I’m sure however, that you will eventually find ways to collect both if you have genuine interest in stamps.

  27. Oh this makes me sad.. I have a stamp collection for almost 10yrs already but I lost all of ‘em when typhoon Ondoy hit manila a few yrs ago…

    • teresay

      That is indeed sad. I hope you haven’t given up on stamp collecting. Although it always pains us to lose something we have worked on for years, we have no choice but to start all over just like what we do when we are faced with extraordinary challenges such as natural calamities and disasters.

  28. all my life i never collected anything that i think I’m really interested but just recently i tried doing this ADMIT ONE ticket thing to put all the movie concert ticket or other ticket that will be a very remembrance for me haha xx

    • teresay

      That ought to be a unique collection. Our personal collections anyway represent what is important to us so carry on and have fun.

  29. My hubby is collecting coins and I am thinking of stamp collecting .I got a handful already ,lol. but anyway ,cookbook is my old time collections

    • teresay

      Cookbooks are nice to collect and so I presume you are fond of cooking? Good luck to your planned stamp collection.

  30. Collecting stamps or anything for that matter needs heavy dedication… Perhaps, the very reason why I don’t collect things… boo-hoo!! :D

    • teresay

      Who knows , you might just find something to collect that will be of great interest to you which will make you change your mind about collecting.

  31. I used to collect stamps when I was a kid, but only used stamps from my dad’s mail. However, I only had local stamps and my interest has waned when I learned that philately is such an expensive hobby.

    • teresay

      Stamp collecting can be an expensive hobby especially if you are targeting those that are rare, in mint condition, or stamps having special historical significance. One possible option for you to continue being a stamp collector without shelling out much is to stick to a particular theme or topic and then limit your purchases based on it to avoid buying everything that catches your attention. Most of the low-priced personally treasured stamps I have now came from purchases made from other stamp collectors while I was actively attending stamp club meetings.

  32. My wife is a Philatelist. I will show this great article of yours. She started collecting since she was elementary so how cool was that!

    • teresay

      Your wife’s early start in stamp collecting is indeed cool. It gives her considerable head-start from people like us who didn’t start as early. Anyway, stamp collecting is a hobby that is in no hurry and allows us to develop our own collection at our own pace.

  33. im just wondering until when will stamp collection be possible since now we are more on emails and SMS…

    • teresay

      My husband who is a more serious stamp collector than me often wonder about the same thing. We are just counting on the possibility that stamps will retain its use even with the recent developments in communication. Snail mail is usually impractical at the present time because we are always in a hurry but it is my personal belief that every stamp is an art form which weaves its own story and history when actually used by humans.

  34. I used to be an avid stamp collector when I was 12 years old. That’s ages ago! It’s interesting how philately (I just love using that word. lol) has evolved over the years.

    • teresay

      Philately has indeed evolved over time, raising the level of stamp collecting from merely a source of fun and entertainment to possible valuable investments.

  35. My sister have a stamp collections while I have a coin collection. I haven’t thought about how much its worth now.

    • teresay

      You can try finding out just for curiosity’s sake. Even without a clearly defined value though, your collection will have its worth to you.

  36. hahaha i remember collecting stamps in my teens.. they are enough to cover bedside table for a decoupage… :)

    • teresay

      It’s nice to remember those times when we exert all effort even for the simplest endeavor such as stamp collecting for fun.

  37. I used to collect stamps as a child. I remember family members and relatives will collect them for me from their travels and all and before they give it to me they will tell me the story behind the stamp and where it has been. Sadly I dont know anymore where my box stamp collection is.:(

    • teresay

      It’s unfortunate that you lost your stamp collection but you can always start another one. It’s never too late.

  38. I’ve never tried to collecting stuff, though I have a lot of friends who collect things like, headset, stamps (too), caps, mugs, shoes, watches and shades. By the way, this post is very informative. :)

    • teresay

      Thanks Robi. You should try collecting something that is of genuine interest to you. You may just find it enjoyable.

  39. I used to collect coins until someone got interested and it just got lost…it’s really nice having something that reminds us of certain time/generations…

    • teresay

      I have a small collection of stamps about “Mother and Child” although I am not able to attend to it much lately because of other concerns but it still gives me joy when I look at it.


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