Hobbies that calm you down: Stamp Collecting/philately

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By Heptagon (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This is one of the oldest and most well-known types of hobbies that I know of. When I say oldest I don’t mean that stamp collecting is an age old hobby that people have been practicing since the dawn of time, I mean it was one of the first hobbies I learnt about when I started to find out what hobbies were. In fact I think it was the first hobby that I had heard of. It also feels like a dying art in this digital age. While postal services still do exist across the world, I don’t think people use them as much as they used to, and since stamps pretty much come from letters well you can put two and two together.

I guess we should talk about what stamp collecting is, in case there is anyone who has never heard of it before. Well basically it is exactly as the name suggests, stamp collectors collect postage stamps and other related objects. Back in the day, before the internet became a thing, it was one of the most popular hobbies to pick up since there were so many different types of stamps from so many defferent countries, and there was pretty much a never ending supply of them.

Some stamps are extremely rare and hence insanely valuable to some collectors. According to this article from mashable.com , one of the world’s most rare and valuable stamps is the British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta stamp which sold for 9.5 million dollars at an auction (yeah, they are really serious about their stamps).

From what little research I have done there has been no scientific study done on how or why stamp collecting can help you with stress; there are however blog posts from people who say that collecting stamps helps calm them down and it will be these posts that we will be talking about in this post.

First we have this blog post from stampsofdistinction.com titled “Why Do We Collect Stamps?”. In this one the author tries to explain why people like them collect stamps. Here’s a summary of the points they cover:

  1. They do it to de-stress
  2. They do it because they are obsessive and they don’t like empty spaces in their collection
  3. They like keeping things in order
  4. They like connecting with people with similar interests
  5. They do it to occupy themselves in their free time
  6. They like it when people praise their collection
  7. They like learning new things (all stamps have a history behind them which you can look up)

Next we have a post from stamp world.com called “Why people collect stamps”. These are the reasons they list out:

  1. For the fun of it
  2. Its an affordable hobby
  3. Educational benefits (remember what I said about history of stamps)
  4. A way to connect and keep in touch with people abroad
  5. A way to make friends with shared interests
  6. Something to be passed to the next generation
  7. Sentimental value
  8. A way to celebrate special events in a countries history
  9. A way to show dedication to real life interests
  10. An investment
  11. Its easy to store and keep stamps
  12. A way to de-stress
  13. Like to keep things in order
  14. A way to occupy themselves
  15. Many famous people collect stamps

They go into a lot more detail in the original post, so you should check it out for yourself if you want to know more.

Finally the last entry on this post is a summary of the post from fwpl.org  titled “Sunnyvale Stamp Society Is Stamp Collecting for You”. These are the points they discuss:

  1. Stamps record history
  2. There are many different ways to collect them (Collect them all, specialise in particular stamps etc.)
  3. They can be really cheap or really expensive so you can pay pretty much what you want
  4. It’s a good way to socialise and find people with similar interests
  5. It’s a good way to reduce stress
  6. You can take as much time as you like

Clearly stamp collecting is an interesting hobby to take up, it may seem irrelevant in today’s digital day and age but that is not the case. Post does still exist and new stamps are still made all the time, so if you want you could start up a collection right now. Go ahead and start your own collection, sure its retro but retro isn’t bad it’s just different.


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