It’s been dubbed the world’s most beloved and popular pastime. Philately (better known as stamp collecting) can be traced back to the appearance of the first prepaid postage stamp, the Penny Black, in 1840. Since then, it has attracted young and old fans alike, from countries across the globe – including some very well-known and perhaps surprising names indeed.
The Royal connection
Not only do Royals feature on postage stamps, it appears they enjoy collecting them too. Indeed, King George V privately expressed a desire to have the “best collection…in England.” His dedication to the hobby (which earned him the nickname of the ‘Collector King’) is matched by that of Queen Elizabeth II, herself a keen philatelist.
Pioneer of the skies
Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, soon recognised the potential of philately to create publicity and drum up support. She had the foresight to keep mail from her travels as souvenirs, before exhibiting and selling her collection – a handy income stream that she used to partly fund future expeditions.
Designed to show the President relaxing during a time of national crisis, the White House issued several photographs of Franklin D Roosevelt studying his stamp collection. The images, widely circulated in the 1930s, created something of a stir in the United States and certainly did much to raise the profile of the hobby among Americans.
Star-powered stamp collecting
Star of stage and screen Charlie Chaplin enjoyed stamp collecting when he wasn’t making world-famous films including The Kid, The Gold Rush and The Great Dictator. Chaplin was also clearly an inspiring muse for future stamp designers too – the iconic image of the slapstick comedian was later to be found on postage stamps around the world.
Encouraged by his elder cousin, John Lennon took up stamp collecting as a child, apparently continuing for many years. No doubt the youngster would have been surprised to learn that his legacy in stamp form continues to this day. In 2007, Royal Mail issued a Beatles-themed special collection, charting the history of the group from fresh-faced youngsters to musical megastars.
Stamp collecting for you
The team at Tony Lester Auctions has years of experience in valuing stamp collections and are proud members of The Philatelic Traders’ Society.