a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Stamps

Monday, November 27, 2017


SUMMARY: A hobby for the whole family.

My dad started collecting stamps as a kid. I vaguely recall that his dad started him on it, but that memory is unclear.

Dad was an enthusiastic-- although not "serious"-- collector of stamps from around the world. He loved the "5 million unsoaked unsorted" stamp deals, but did keep current with US mint stamps of normal values (not high values). He collected first-day covers for a long time, too, and all sorts of random things. He had dozens and dozens of small boxes and albums to hold his collection.

He got me my first stamp album when I was in kindergarten. I've done only US stamps and got serious--heh-- briefly for several years in the '70s and tried to keep up with *all* current US mint stamps. Used to stand in line for ages at the special post office window they used to have in the Willow Glen area just for collectors. Ordered everything available for each current year from the US postal service (which included things like hunting license stamps). Although I haven't put anything in an album in probably 30 years, I still buy extras and stick them in an envelope for "later". Hard habit to break.

My dad started using his stamps as postage after hoping for decades that they'd eventually be worth something, and I wonder how many people noticed the wayyyy old mint stamps that he used on envelopes to them?

Just before he died he sent off what was left of about 10 large cartons of albums and stamps to a dealer, for which we were paid a pittance. (Oddly enough, stamp collecting is no longer of interest to as many people, according to the few dealers who are left--used to be able to find stamp/coin dealers in little shops all over the place.  Here's an interesting read on how many collectors there are.)

When going through parents' stuff after Mom's death, I found a small camera with a card still in it, so I loaded it up. It included a few photos that dad had taken of some of his stamp things as he packed them up to ship. So, here they are. I have no other photos related to dad and his stamps, despite all the many times that he worked on his collection on the dining table.

Glassine envelopes with extra stamps or first-day covers or what-not:

A carton being packed up to go.

Magnifying "glasses", magnifying glass in box, more glassine envelopes, special envelopes...

 The open shelf all the way across is random stamp things and albums--

More cartons as he packed them up.


  1. Wow. I think what makes this even more poignant is that he took these photos himself as he was packing away something he loved. I never collected anything, though I have a lot of stuff. Husband collected coins for years, as his dad did before him. We have boxes of those somewhere. They too probably aren't worth what they should be.

    1. Yeah, he had his dad's coin collection, too, and found that dealers would offer less than face value--of money! bad enough with mint stamps!--because the market just isn't there except for the truly exceptional items.