The World of Stamps & Stamp Collecting - Forward
Serious stamp collectors, or philatelists, derive a world of benefits from their hobby. They are among the world’s best educated people, especially in the fields of history and geography. Further, because countries mirror their hopes and dreams in the designs of their stamps, a philatelist can gain an understanding of sociology, politics and cultural anthropology as well. There is hardly a subject that has not been placed on a stamp.
But real philatelists don’t need justification for collecting stamps. They know that stamp collecting can accrue real financial benefits, but it matters little to them, for they have no plans to sell. Even though they may become experts on world history, the historical learning that occurs in the daily process of collecting stamps is not the reason for their philatelamania either.
Philatelists are attracted to their hobby for many different reasons, but almost all of them receive far more than they expected. For philately portends a kaleidoscopic vision of the world in which pieces are placed together to make a whole. A collection is a gigantic jigsaw puzzle for some, a crossword for others, always missing one last piece, always an obscure clue.
The authors are both lifelong collectors and unabashed lovers of stamps. This book has eschewed the hard sell, though, and has attempted to weave together the historical and the philatelic, showing readers the world of philately. It is a world that most will love and it is a world from which all can learn.
John D. Apfelbaum