Monday, January 03, 2011

The future of our hobby ?

Over the two festive weekends I had the opportunity to think a lot about our hobby and to worry about its future. All this thinking was triggered by a xmas gift. Not one I received but one I gave.

A couple of friends have had a baby, a cute little girl, a bit more than six months ago. I had the opportunity to share the xmas meal with them, and I decided to offer to the little girl (among other things) the book of the 2010 stamps issued by the French postal administration.

This is a book that contains a copy of all stamps issued during the year, together with a lot of information around the subject of the stamps. I don't know if the litle girl will be one day interested in stamps, but if she is, I am sure she will be happy to have the stamps issued on the year of her birth. A long time investment you see ;-) I was very interested by the reaction of the parents. They were very surprised by the huge number of stamps issued in the year. And they were also surprised because they had not seen any of these stamps before. It confirmed me the idea that, nowadays, the French post is issuing stamps that are known and used only by the philatelists. Then I thought: when is the last time you received a letter franked with a stamp (even a definitive one) and not coming from a philatelist? The answer frightened me!

Then I even thought that may be, in ten years from now, when this little girl is old enough to understand what a stamp is, then may be stamps will not exist anymore! It reminded me the time when a colleague from Romania looked extremely surprised when I explained to her that I needed her help to translate the legend of a stamp of ny collection: there are still people collecting stamps? Was the question she asked!

When you think about all this you start to worry about the future of stamps and the future of our hobby. Because this is not specific to France. You can read everywhere philatelists from all over world, complaining about the increasing number of stamp issues, the decreasing quality of these issues, the fact that they are more and more issued only for collectors, the fact that their postal administration do not encourage people using stamps on their mail, the fact that some postal clerks are destroying nice stamps by cancelling them with a pen... I'm sure it rings a bell in your head,

So as the start of a new year is also the opportunity to build a list of good resolutions I decided to build my list of philatelic good resolutions:
- I will not frank my mail with something else than a nice stamp, if possible engraved and recess-printed (I must admit that sometimes I used labels (ATM) instead of stamps… this will not happen anymore)
- I will do all I can to promote philately by participating actively to youth programs organized by the association I belong to
- I will sort out the mess at home among my stamps accumulated over the years in order to use them to trigger interests of other people on philately
- I will update this blog as often as possible (at least three times a week would be great, daily would be a dream)
- I will do whatever is possible to share my passion about stamps and I will show that I’m proud to be a stamp collector
This is a small stone in the big edifice, I know…


VABookworm87 said...

I recently signed up on, which is a site where you send/receive postcards from all over the world. I receive postcards on almost a daily basis and they all have stamps on them. It's really cool! I've gotten some really interesting ones! :D

Cernjul Viviana said...

What a great list. I congratulate you.
I will send letters and post office young are amazed and ask what is that? where I buy stamps? And those working in the Persian Argentine mail, do not know that it is a stamp.
It is also a problem that only we can buy stamps at the main post office and not at all post offices.

I share your great hobby and it's a shame they are not released more cards with stamps. Here in Argentina increased the value twice in 2010, is more expensive. Not given the opportunity to send letters to people.

Best Regards Viviana.

euroswiss said...

Waow great post !

I totally agree on 100% of what your wrote !

What is frightening is, as you said, that the postal administrations themselves gave up the promotion of stamps.

They use only ATM stamps or badly printed in huge quantities sticker stamps.

Philately will again very populare the day everybody uses nice stamps on their covers and when the person receiving it notice the nice stamp, which isn't the case each time...

Ahmed said...

Absolutely correct.

If I want to talk about India Post -- the number of issues keep on increasing, ever increasing personality issues instead of projecting the culture, heritage of the country, pre-mature issues etc etc. Its increasingly becoming not affordable for young to collect newly released stamps. What you said about postal department is 200% true for India. They are just looking at the money they make from the philatelists. Recently India post decided that, they will use pre-printed markings instead of stamps to save on paper and printing cost -- its the rock bottom.

We should try to encourage philately in any way possible for us. Especially we should try to encourage the young ones in whatever way we can, as you did it.

Thanks for the nice post. I will point it from my blog.


Gem from Calgary said...

Just a great post. All collectors should read it . I will refer to it when I update my blog, next time.Congrats on writing what many of us just think or feel.
Happy New Year to you.

Far de la Banya said...

Here in Catalonia, the spanish post administration generally don't use the traditional stamps, and it's difficult to keep them also in the autorized tobacco shops.

Well, congratulations for tis post and your blog. I think that the book with french stamps it's a great present for the girl.