US Stamps

Jay Bigalke

Exhibits and albums help us as we organize our collections

February 02, 2018 01:02 PM

  • The set of five United States 44¢ Simpsons stamps issued in 2009.
  • Two British Commonwealth stamps issued during the reign of King George VI: from the Bahamas (Scott 106) and Bermuda (123).

Philatelic Foreword — By Jay Bigalke

Acquiring what we want for our collections can be fairly simple. To start a collection, you can buy a large mixture for pennies. If you spend a little more, you can be more selective about the quality of what you purchase.

But acquiring stamps and covers is not the same as building a collection. The key items you acquire need to be organized, and the challenge for every collector is bringing order to the collection.

In the years that I’ve been involved in the stamp hobby, I have put together the occasional stamp exhibit. In large part I did so to organize my collections and not for the medals or awards I might receive.

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For some modern stamp issues I discovered that it is important to collect the objects in the now, meaning making a plan before the stamp is issued and then finding those objects that will complete the collection.

I have assembled a few specialized collections of modern United States stamps this way, including the 2009 44¢ Simpsons stamps (Scott 4399-4403) and the matching 28¢ Simpsons picture postal cards (UX557-UX561).

The exhibit is eight frames and filled with covers and other material related to the long-running animated television show. It has been displayed at a number of stamp shows around the country and largely appeals to a nonphilatelic audience. When it is not on display, the exhibit resides in multiple binders that are easily shown to friends. If it also works as a gateway to get someone interested in the stamp hobby, I’m glad I invested the time to create it.

The Bear Bryant article by George Amick in this issue can be used a guide if you want to do something similar for your collection.

I also have a collection of mint British Commonwealth stamps that I enjoy. It’s organized in a hingeless album, kind of the Rolls-Royce of my collection. To keep track of what I have and what I need, I keep a catalog handy and take it with me to stamp shows. I use a pencil to circle the listings for the stamps I have already added to the album.

I enjoy taking the stamp album off the shelf and escaping to foreign lands. Many stamps in this collection are engraved and have stunning designs.

If only there were more hours in the day to get organized, just imagine what we all could accomplish with our collections.