Collector’s Memories

Like most collectors, different stamps take me back to different times in my life. In the 1960’s my parents sent me to overnight camp and the stamp they sent me with to post my letters home was the 1963 Food For Peace stamp. Every time I see this stamp in a collection I have memories of loneliness and joy at writing home and the connection which that stamp gave me to people I loved and missed. The stamp illustrated at the top triggers a different memory. In the 1970’s I was traveling in Italy with my new wife. We were driving in the Italian Alps on a toll road and I came to a stop to pay a toll. Italy was experiencing a change shortage at this time and, rather than give change, drivers received postage stamps to round out their toll payments to the nearest 5000 Lire. I received this 1000 lire Parcel Post stamp as change from the toll taker. Being a stamp collector I immediately knew that this stamp came with two watermarks-the short lived and very valuable “wing and double circle” worth about $3000 and the very common” star” worth about 30 cents. My wife says she realized then what she was in for, as I went zooming down the exit ramp holding the stamp against the wind shield trying to see the watermark, risking our lives on the chance of finding a rare variety. It was the cheap one of course. No doubt the toll taker was a philatelist too.

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