The 1840 Boundary

Philatelists have a great knowledge of more recent history and geography. I am the crossword puzzle go to guy in my home for clues relating to when and where. But we fade back to normal if historical knowledge is needed before 1840 when the Penny Black was first issued.  Imagine if stamps had been first issued during the Roman Empire. Then, we philatelists would be expert in two thousand years of world history. And imagine the wonderful stamps and covers there would be. Fall of Rome last day covers. Renaissance forerunners. French and English Royal Mistress definitives. The American Revolutionary War would be more avidly collected than the Civil War. For philatelists the history of the period we collect is easily learned almost by osmosis as we collect the stamps we love. What makes philately most interesting is that collectors learn not just history but geography, sociology, political science-indeed most of the social sciences -when we collect our stamps. For those of us who like our history wet not dry this is a great way to learn about the past. Too many history books are just a recitation of facts and dates with little connection between what happened in the time period being written about and how that relates to before and after and the rest of the world. Philately makes history interconnected, easier to learn, and makes historical knowledge more applicable to current life.

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