Stamp Collecting As a Pastime



Edward J. Nankivell


Originally published in 1902

Postage Stamps

Many people are at a loss to understand the fascination that surrounds the pursuit of stamp collecting. They are surprised at the clannishness of stamp collectors, and their lifelong devotion to their hobby. They are thunderstruck at the enormous prices paid for rare stamps, and at the fortunes that are spent and made in stamp collecting.

The following pages will afford a peep behind the scenes, and explain how it is that, after nearly half a century of existence, stamp collecting has never been more popular than it is to-day.

And perchance many a tired worker in search of a hobby may be persuaded that of all the relaxations that are open to him none is more attractive or more satisfying than stamp collecting.

Its literature is more abundant than that devoted to any other hobby. Its votaries are to be found in every city and town of the civilised world. Governments and statesmen recognize, unsolicited, the claims of stamp collecting—the power, the influence, and the wealth that it commands. From a mere schoolboy pastime it has steadily developed into an engrossing hobby for the leisured and the busy of all classes and all ranks of life, from the monarch on his throne to the errand boy in the merchant’s office.

In the competition of modern life it is recognized that those who must work must also play. The physician assures us that the man who allows himself no relaxation, no recreation, loses his energy, and ages earlier than the man who judiciously alternates work and play.

As stamp collecting may be indulged in by all ages, and at all seasons, it is becoming more and more the favorite indoor relaxation with brain-workers. It may be taken up or laid down at any time, and at any stage. Its cost may be limited to shillings or pounds, and it may be made a pleasant pursuit or an engrossing study, or it may even be diverted into money-making purposes.

So absorbing is the hobby that in stamp circles there is a saying, “Once a stamp collector, always a stamp collector.”



Stamp Collecting as a Pastime


The Charm of Stamp Collecting


Its Permanence


Its Internationality


Its Geographical Interest




Stamps With a History


Great Rarities


The Romance of Stamp Collecting


Philatelic Societies and their Work


The Literature of Stamps


Stamps as Works of Art


Stamp Collecting as an Investment


What to Collect and How to Collect


Great Collections


[Editor’s note: This work from 1902 is republished here solely for its historical interest.  It’s fascinating reading, but it is from 1902; thus, readers are cautioned to consider that the advice offered by Mr. Nankivell – financial and otherwise – is outdated.  One should check current sources before taking any action.]


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