Stamp Collecting is really two different things to me.
Collecting “Ireland” drives me insane. Collecting “The World” keeps me sane.
Two entirely different things. Obsession and Fun.
I rarely have Irish stamps to trade. I dont seek out “duplicates”. Mostly, I buy two sets of “new issues”. I keep one set as mint and send the other set to myself.
And of course, I dont actually live in the Republic of Ireland and I am long retired so I no longer have access to the mail room, which supplied all my duplicates (mostly British of course) from the 1970s thru to the early 21st century.
But with a greater interest in “Ireland” than the “World”, I have struggled to get the balance right between Obsession and Fun. This has been the great difficulty since I returned to Stamp Collecting in 2012, after a break of over ten years.
Slowly, I am becoming more open to the notion of exchanging stamps. The process is helped by collectors like “B” in Canada.
I sent him 25 British and Irish duplicates and a couple of days ago, I received 50 stamps from Canada. Really good stamps issued over the last couple of years.I am really delighted about this. Thank you “B”.
Some of the stamps are shown above. Great designs. And all famous Canadians from “popularculture”. One of the most interesting features of Stamp Collecting is the way that the definition of “culture” has been broadened to feature movie stars, rock stars and TV programmes.
This is of course a good thing. For a man like myself, born in 1952 and starting collecting around 1960, stamp issues to that date would not have featured such popular culture. After all the Golden Age of Hollywood was only thirty years previously, popular music really stemmed from the Big Band Era and TV was essentially a post-World War Two invention.
And of course the stars of 20th century popular culture …Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, Elvis Presley, Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball, Jack Benny were very much alive.
In my lifetime, popular culture has become more mainstream. Culture can no longer be defined as William Shakespeare, Mozart and Michaelangelo.
I am in some ways a traditionalist. There used to be a (good) convention that no living person appear on stamps. Appearing on a postage stamp that it may or may not be devalued by the over-use of celebrity.
Arguably, there are marketing opportunities in Dr Who and Star Wars stamps (Britain), the Simpsons and Harry Potter (USA) or U2, Van Morrison and Rock Legends (Ireland)…but it seems as much to do with instant collectables, rather than actual postage. If it is an attempt to make Stamp Collecting more relevant to a younger generation, I am not entirely sure it works.
I always find “living people” on Stamps a hostage to Fortune. Just think “Royal” Weddings and Mark Phillips and Sarah Ferguson. Or think in terms of the scandal that sent much loved Australian-born entertainer to jail or the scandal that should have sent “Sir” Jimmy Savile to jail (he died before his exposure as a very nasty piece of work). Luckily neither appeared on stamps. Nor as far as I know did Oscar Pistorious appear on a South Africa stamp.
So…with drug-taking a feature at the Olympic Games, it is baffling that Britain issued so many Gold Medal winner stamps just hours after their sports people stood on the podium in 2012. As many of these careers are ongoing in 2015, I cant help feeling that it might have been a mistake,
Really the “Living Person” debate is one that I have already lost. It was a shock to me when I re-started collecting in 2012. I cant turn back the tide.
But I think the Canadian stamps are tasteful and measured. Some are national rather than international figures like Mike Myers, Martin Short and Shania Twain but there is a degree of genuine pride in these people and that has to be a good thing.