World Stamps

Navigating the International Society of World Wide Stamp Collectors website

Jan 19, 2017, 2 PM

By William F. Sharpe

I first mentioned the International Society of World Wide Stamp Collectors website in a 1997 column in Linn’s

The group has been an affiliate of the American Philatelic Society since 1986. Its home page is well organized and easy to navigate. The stamp illustration near the top right of the home page changes every few seconds.

The site offers a lot of free information for collectors, and also includes links to member-only benefits. 

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Displayed across the top of the home page are links to other pages at the site. 

A worldwide stamp identifier provides more than 3,000 entries alphabetically, as well as by Cyrillic and Greek characters. There’s also a listing of bogus stamp issues.

A link from the Resources page takes you to Bill Steiner’s worldwide album pages, and to direct downloads of several blank header pages. 

Also found on the Resources page is information about free stamps for youngsters. The society offers to send free stamp packets to any child under age 17. Requests should be accompanied by an addressed, stamped envelope for addresses in the United States or international reply coupons for foreign addresses. 

Another resource offered is a 25-chapter handbook of stamp collecting basics that can be read online. 

Tom Fortunato’s extensive introduction to exhibiting stamps also can be read online. This compilation of several articles appeared in the Junior Philatelists of America’s publication, the Philatelic Observer, from 1994 to 1997.

The International Society of World Wide Stamp Collectors publishes a newsletter, The Circuit, six times per year. A sample copy is available to read or download. 

Members who accept email delivery of the newsletter receive a full-color version. If a member prefers a print copy, the newsletter is black-and-white. 

In addition to a subscription to The Circuit, membership benefits include active mail-bid sales and swap circuits. 

APS logoAPS seeks new shows manager: The American Philatelic Society’s manager of shows and exhibitions, Megan Orient, is leaving her position after APS Ameristamp Expo.

Details of the mail-bid sales appear in the newsletter, and also can be viewed online, as can results of previous sales.

Swap circuits are one-for-one exchanges not concerned with catalog value. 

Collectors submit their names to the manager who creates the swap circuits. An assortment of 100 worldwide stamps is sent to the first person on the swap list. That person takes out stamps he or she needs and replaces them good quality duplicates to bring the contents back to the number received. 

The packet is then mailed to the next name on the list. Every member of a circuit is to maintain the quality of stamps sent. 

The site map shown at the top right of the home page provides access to every page at the site. I suggest reading the member services PDF (Portable Document File) found under downloadable content on the site map. This document details all the member and youth services, and it includes contact information for each.

Membership is $15 per year. Members are expected to donate 250 worldwide commemorative stamps or $5 for the society’s youth program each year. Multi-year memberships are offered at a discount. 

You can complete and submit an online application or download and print an application to mail in.

As noted in the society’s name, the site is devoted to worldwide collectors. Fortunato compared such collectors to specialists in his article in the Baltimore Philatelist in 1995: “Finally, think of all stamp collectors as attendees to a great sit down dinner. We all have a seat at the table, but the specialists can never seem to get past the first course. Worldwiders have a chance to sample a little of everything from soup to nuts, and can always go back for seconds without getting full!”