Welcome to The Stamps Journal!
Thank you for dropping by to my blog. Long time ago in 2009, when I assumed a more serious passion in collecting stamps from North Borneo, I didn’t have any source or information on philately at all. I didn’t know what philately means back then or that there are a plethora of philatelic societies around the world gathering many like-minded people to study stamps and postal history. Back then, I set up a blogspot called North Borneo Stamps to put in writing everything I learn and observe in this fascinating hobby.
Over the years I have come to join many great societies and they have enhanced my knowledge, understanding and appreciation on this magnificent hobby. The philatelic societies, I find, are quite secretive to non-members. Those people who are just starting to collect stamps and are not members of any philatelic society are often left with very limited resources to go by and may even be inhibited by the lack of essential information on the subject, as I have experienced myself.
The internet brings us closer to each other and not to use it would only do us a disservice. Therefore, part of the reason why this site was set up is to share the knowledge to aspiring collectors and also hopefully to inspire many more collectors to join the hidden world of philately.
Why collect stamps?
There are many perks in collecting stamps. Many people started collecting stamps because of their aesthetic beauty and design. When I started collecting stamps at the age of 10, I collected them solely because I found them to be highly attractive. At that stage, having more stamps was what mattered the most. I remember putting a list of how many stamps I have in my possession at the back of my stamp album which I would update every month. Back then there was no formal stamp club in our school but we had about 4-5 people exchanging stamps with each other. In late 1990s even without the influence of the internet, the idea of collecting stamps was already very savvy and appealing to us.
As I evolved further in this hobby, I began to learn the historical significance of collecting stamps. What started out as a competition to have the most stamps between clueless kids have now evolved into looking for the historical link and significance. Every stamp or letter bears with it a fascinating story – studying them is what the philatelists do. Understanding the story behind a stamp or a letter makes us more appreciative of history. It gives tremendous satisfaction and a humbling effect. Collecting stamps is therefore akin to collecting pieces or puzzles of history and should be encouraged at every opportunity.
Another reason to collect stamp is from the investment perspective. In general, I dislike the idea of putting up a collection solely for the purpose of investment – that is what the dealers do. However, like it or not, stamps are commodities because of their values. Research so far have shown many a times that stamps values are only ever going to appreciate against the test of time, and this is true for rare stamps of the world. Therefore, collecting stamps also mean an investment.
In 1990s, long before the advent of Facebook and many social medias, I had a number of pen pals from countries like Sweden, Austria, South Africa and exotic places such as Trinidad and Tobago and Ghana. The exotic places were chosen because I wanted stamps from their countries. Such was the obsession to finding stamps then as there was no stamp shop I could find in my hometown, at least not to my knowledge. My pen pal from Sweden, I still remember his name – David Lund – gave me a set of beautiful mint stamps from Sweden which I revered to this very day.
Fast forward, I have completed my degree in Ireland in 2011 and has been practising medicine since. The nature of my work necessitates me to move around the country many times throughout the years and certainly not a 9 to 5 job. It is demanding enough and I hope that amidst the busy days I can still put aside some time to regularly update this blog. Pardon me if I don’t. On the other hand, I find that engaging in philately is almost as therapeutic as any good medicine can be. It helps alleviates the stressful work and makes a person whole again.