Stamp Collecting is one of the world’s most popular hobbies, with an estimated 60 million collectors around the world. Our postal system can be dated back centuries to the reign of Henry I who appointed messengers to carry government letters. Henry VIII established the Royal Mail in 1516 and the first postage stamp Penny Black was launched over 175 years ago and pictures a young Queen Victoria.
It is hard to pinpoint exactly when the hobby started as people have always shown appreciation for collecting these historical artefacts. However, it wasn’t until the nineteenth century that the hobby of collecting stamps surged in popularity. This was a time when there were a lot of new stamp collections being launched into the market and there was a marked increase in young collectors buying new issues rather than investing in the old.
Stamp collectors are driven by a passion for the hobby. In the UK it is a close network of people that come together to help drive that passion. The Philatelic Traders’ Society LTD (PTS) is a group of philatelic traders who act for the greater good of the hobby. The PTS includes companies from Spink and Sons, Stanley Gibbons to Royal Mail and Mark Bloxham Stamps Ltd. They also host a bi-annual event called Stampex.
Stampex, is the UK’s largest philatelic show, exhibiting a masterful presentation of collected stamps from philatelic dealers and specialists. It is organised by The Philatelic Traders’ Society Limited and is sponsored by Stanley Gibbons. The Autumn 2017 show will return to The Business Design Centre (BDC) in Islington from 13th – 16th September 2017.
For children at Stampex
Make friends with the dealers, they are a friendly bunch and can give you sound tips and advice. Head to a show or exhibition, for instance Stampex, traders always welcome questions and offer tips and advice as do exhibitors.
Pick up a stamp magazine or talk to friend. If you are investing think about how much you want to invest and what you want to achieve. If it’s for a hobby then select what interests you, do some research, start out small and grow your library slowly and steadily - have fun. .
When you are buying - try and buy pieces that are in the very best condition and don’t forget to ask how to store your stamps to retain their value. .
There will be a wonderful children’s area run by the charity Stamp Active Network. Throughout the week there will be activities including a free photo booth and a selfie stand. This year the theme is “Children's Literature”. As well as understanding more about stamps and the hobby, the team will also host a live stamp auction for children to take part in on Saturday.
For non-collectors at Stampex
‘Stamps in the Attic’ is an excellent opportunity to speak to the pre-registered Stampex stand holders about stamps and find out more about what’s in your past collection; then either start collecting again or perhaps sell it and start over! There may also be an opportunity to sell your collection at the show.
Unlike most other London based shows, entry to Stampex is free and all who visit may purchase a show-specific Limited Edition Smilers Sheet and a free show guide and postcard; all of which make lovely keepsakes and souvenirs and are highly collectable pieces.
General information about Stampex
Entrance: free entry and families welcome
Dates: 13th – 16th September 2017
Venue: The Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 0QH.
Nearest Tube Station: Angel (Northern Line)
Mention Saga at the Information Desk and the first 100 people will get a free goodie bag including a Stampex notepad, pen and chocolate bar!