US Stamps

How did stamp collecting fare in the 2023 Scout merit badge rankings?

Apr 9, 2024, 11 AM
The United States issued this 44¢ Boy Scouts commemorative stamp in 2010 for the centennial of the Boy Scouts of America. The stamp collecting merit badge landed in the 10 “rarest badges of 2023.”

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

For those stamp collectors with a Scouting background, it might be interesting to learn of the rankings for merit badges earned in 2023.

In February, Scouting magazine revealed the 2023 merit badge rankings, providing some insight into current areas of interest for Scouts.

The top three merit badges earned were for citizenship in society, first aid and swimming. Of more interest were the top three merit badges that are not requirements of an Eagle Scout. These merit badges were for fingerprinting, chess and archery.

There are 138 merit badges listed on the 2023 rankings, and stamp collecting was listed at No. 132 and coin collecting a little higher at 94.

As a journalist, it was disheartening that journalism ranked 136, just before drafting and bugling.

As the article on the website points out, Scouts’ interests have changed throughout the years. Some badges move up and down in the rankings each year. One of the biggest changes in the rankings from 2022 to 2023 was veterinary medicine moving up 14 spots, while mining in society and truck transportation advanced 13 spots each.

As a stamp collector when looking at the more popular items in the 2023 rankings, topical collecting might be the best avenue for collectors looking to interest future Scouts in the hobby. Scouts’ interest in the aforementioned chess, archery, swimming, mining and truck transportation would especially benefit collectors leading Scouting group events.

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