It's hard to believe that nearly two hundred years ago stamps were first created and today we have an entire month dedicated to celebrating them. Throughout October, philatelists (the original term given to stamp collectors) celebrate National Stamp Collecting month. While some chase stamps monetary values, many choose to chase the stories behind their collection and honor the history of stamps.
We even learned new facts about stamps this month! Did you know Great Britain was the first country to issue stamps in 1840 and remains the only country not required to list their name on their stamps?? Such fun history behind these discreet little guys. And there is more than just one simple stamp. There are actually four different types of stamps
Definitive - is issued year after year, and the quantity produced is not capped.
Forever - costs the same as a standard first-class definitive stamp; however, it may be used forever as first-class postage on standard envelopes weighing one ounce or less.
Meaning the customer will never have to cover the differential in postage price from year to year with this stamp.
Commemorative - a USPS issued first class forever stamps to commemorate or celebrate persons, and anniversaries.
Semipostal - issued and sold by the Postal Service, at a premium, in order to help provide funding for a cause.
At Paper and Grace we love to celebrate the value stamps have beyond their collector value or printed value and what they can convey. Have you ever heard of stamps being placed upside down? Possible accident or possible communication attempt as "...many individuals developed elaborate codes to convey messages that could be transmitted by seeing the outside of the envelope and thus not requiring payment for the receipt of the letter. According to The American Philatelist, February 1985, p. 154 the following codes were used:
- Stamp crosswise in the left corner - My heart is another's
- Stamp straight up and down in the left corner - Goodbye sweetheart
- Stamp upside down in the right corner - Write no more!
- Stamp in the middle at the top - Yes!
- Stamp in the middle at the bottom - No!
- Stamp diagonally across the right-hand corner - Do you love me?
- Stamp diagonally across the left-hand corner - I hate you
- Stamp in the top corner at the right - I wish your friendship" (1)
There is so much more than meets the eye to stamps.
If you are looking to start your own collection the American Philatelic Society even has great ideas for starting your collection on a budget. Though we always direct our customers to talk to your local postage workers or reach out to the few local local merchants that we know of. But the possibly easiest way to start a collection is simply logging onto Etsy and pressing 'purchase!'
We hope next time you mail your favorite greeting card, you think of all the history and stories behind that sticky little stamp.