Saturday, November 27, 2010
Topical But Not Typical: Thematic Stamp Collecting
Topical stamp collecting has been a past time for decades. Topicals are stamps with a consistent theme like trains, birds, sea life, etc. Though I do not partake in this type of collecting I respect its existence and its hard-won pursuit.
Beginners need to pay heed to the fact that such collecting is difficult because are you automatically limiting yourself to the field (or theme) in question. I've know topical collectors spending 6 months to get 1 stamp of a certain theme.
Intellectually it's not hard to appreciate the excitement of searching for a particular sub-set of stamps out there in the world and placing them in your ever-growing collection. I praise these collectors for their patience if not persistence in obtaining their objects of desire.
Topicals are often the most beautiful, artistic, colorful and valuable of stamps produced by countries around the world. Some countries create them solely for profit on the open collecting marketplace. Some purists mock their presence as somehow "reducing" the quality of collecting as a whole but this opinion is more stamp purist nonsense. Stamps are stamps. Collect what you will and learn what limitations or liabilties along the way.