World Wildlife Fund

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is one of the oldest nature conservancy groups in the world. Founded in 1961, the organization began to partner with philatelic agencies worldwide to issue government postage stamps, a portion of whose funds went to the WWF for their conservation programs. The fund has provided tens of millions of dollars for rain forest conservation and endangered species conservation worldwide.

Many stamp collectors enjoy their hobby while also providing a benefit for organizations that they feel strongly about. Since 1968, the WWF has partnered with various countries to receive part of the funds that are generated when stamp collectors buy their issues honoring the World Wildlife Fund’s work. Thousands of stamps have been issued, and collecting stamps and supporting the environment has a long history.

There is a long history of what stamp collectors called “Thematic” collecting in the hobby of philately. Up until about 1950, collectors collected mostly by country or geographic area. Thus you would have old time collectors collecting the stamps of the United States, the British Commonwealth of nations (now hundreds of stamp issuing entities), or French Colonies. Most stamp collectors probably still collect this way, but over the last fifty years, more and more younger collectors have entered the hobby as thematic collectors. Thematic collecting can be as simple as collecting “shells on stamps” where the collector just puts away stamps with pictures of shells. Or it can be as detailed as researching the orders and species of shell producing animals and collecting, mounting, and displaying the stamps to portray a cohesive evolutionary picture.

Thematic collecting can also be a way to combine an interest in stamp collecting with charitable or social interests. Most European nations issue Charity stamps (American collectors call these stamps “Semi-postals”). These Semi-postals are stamps that are valid for postage for a certain amount and have an additional amount paid that is remitted to charity—usually the Red Cross or children’s benefits—charities that have no political agenda and that pretty much anyone who isn’t Ebenezer Scrooge could support. So, whether its conservation, public health or children’s welfare, philately is a hobby that can combine your social interest with the fun of searching and collecting. We would be happy to help you in your thematic endeavors, or for more information you could contact The American Philatelic Society.

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