Friday, March 6, 2009


I am a philatelist – well meaning, but not a very good one!
by Charlie Leck

When I married Anne so many years ago, I discovered she possessed an extraordinary stamp collection that went all the way back to the first stamp ever issued in the United States – a 5 cent Benjamin Franklin issued in 1847. I volunteered to maintain the collection and to keep it current. And, I have to this day.

I lost a lot of my heart and enthusiasm for the hobby when self-adhesive stamps came along – and more heart when double-sided sheets made cataloguing and storing even more difficult.

But, that’s all the negative part of the hobby. Let me mention – just very quickly – the extremely positive part of stamping. I’ve learned an awful lot. Collecting stamps is like a constant and quite meaningful course in American History.

Have you seen the new Lincoln Issue that was released in February – that is the President Abraham Lincoln first-class postage stamps? They give you an extraordinary look at the evolving Abe, with images depicting him at the beginning of his political career on through his final year on Earth.

Another recent issue is the Civil Rights Pioneers that includes six different 42 cent stamps. Buy a sheet. They’re very attractive (I’ve included a reduced-size photograph.) Flip the sheet over and take about five minutes to read about the one dozen civil rights pioneers the sheet honors. Voila! It’s an instant American History lesson.

Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954)

Mary White Ovington (1865-1951)

J.R. Clifford (1848-1933)

Joel Elias Spingarn (1875-1939)

Oswald Garrison Villard (1872-1949)

Daisy Gatson Bates (1914-1999)

Charles Hamilton Houston (1895-1950)

Walter White (1893-1995)

Medgar Evers (1925-1963)

Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977)

Ella Baker (1903-1986)

Ruby Hurley (1909-1980)

There will be a quiz at our next session. You’ll be asked to explain the significant contribution of a few of these “pioneers.” Please come prepared.

1 comment:

  1. Not just self-adhesive issue made collectors life "hard", existed many "speculative" and other kind of "items" that made philately "impossible to complete".

    I have some bad sample from other countries - like personalized stamp, or many variation in between regular set and lux block or booklet where is talking about same issue but in different "wrapping".

    best regards to all