Over the years, stamp collecting has rightly earned the nickname the "King of Hobbies and the Hobby of Kings." A few famous people who were - or still are - collectors, include King George V and Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, King Farouk I of Egypt, Prince Rainier III of Monaco, President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the USA, actors Charlie Chaplin and Patrick Dempsey, musicians John Lennon and Ronnie Wood, aviatrix Amelia Earhart, and novelist Ayn Rand, among many others.
Collecting still holds tremendous fascination. It's still easy to get lost in the moment while sorting stamps or poring through catalogues; it still gives you a great feeling of satisfaction when you finally find that single first day cover that has eluded you for years; there's still a sense of pride at completing an important section of your collection. Indeed, it provides tangible relief from the tedium of constantly being connected to the electronic world.
Most collectors today are definitely older, but youth are continuing to join the hobby, with many being attracted to the area of thematic collecting. As for demographics, there is still a representation across all socio-economic classes and professions. However, while collecting in North America and Europe may be waning somewhat, there is now a corresponding spike in philatelic interest in Asia. This is because countries such as China, India, and South Korea enjoy great mobility and a rising leisure class. Asian collectors have been the primary motivators of the spike in rare stamp prices. They have also been responsible for a resurgence of interest in complete collections in their home countries. Today, Asia is estimated to be home to two thirds of the world's stamp collectors, more than half of whom are located in China. In 2012, the value of China's stamp index reached $6,911,100 — an increase of more than tenfold since 1989 (courtesy Apfelbaum, Inc. -https://www.apfelbauminc.com/library/stamp-collecting-not-dead).
Our club's membership includes people who collect only countries and people who collect themes. Some even enter competitive exhibits. Some have extensive collections; some are just starting out. As most of us have learned through experience, though, if you have been a little too enthusiastic about acquiring certain stamps, you can feel a bit overwhelmed, like our friend above. In recent years, things have changed. The Internet has added a whole new dimension to this hobby, not the least of which can help you get organized. Whether a beginner or advanced collector, everyone can benefit from the wealth of information available on the Internet.
And then again, if you want to trade with other collectors, get access to catalogues, or just hang out with a great group of enthusiastic collectors, visit us at a club meeting.
Image courtesy of Paul Dembowski and Liberty Street Software who market stamp collection management software.