- Topical stamp collecting
Topical or thematic
stamp collectingis the practice of collecting postage stamps relating to a particular subject or concept. Topics may include almost anything, from birds on stamps, to famous physicians, to the history of southwest England.
While the earliest stamps simply depicted busts of reigning monarchs, important figures, or coats of arms, the continuing need for new types of stamps, plus the desire to inject some variety, prompted postal administrations to develop new designs that drew upon their nations' cultures, as well as nature.
Bears appeared on provisional stamps of St. Louis in 1845, while the beaverwas featured on the earliest stamps of Canada. More than 150 years later, the variety of designs on stamps is simply staggering, amounting to at least 100,00 distinct designs, and giving topical collectors plenty to do.
In fact, there are now so many types that traditional topics for collecting, such as "ships" or "birds", have become nearly impossible to complete, and topical collectors may specialize further, such as by looking for only square-rigged sailing ships, or only flightless birds.
Since most types of stamp designs are commonly available and inexpensive, acquiring them is mostly a matter of poring over the
stamp cataloglooking for relevant types, and learning enough about the topic to recognize subtle connections. The American Topical Associationand others have published lists of larger topics.
Topical collections are a recognized category for competitive exhibition.
*People on stamps
Maps on stamps
Birds on stamps
Insects on stamps
*Ships on stamps
Stamps on stamps
Chess on stamps
Textiles on stamps
Rugby on stamps
** Cats and/or Wild Felines
* Black history
* Conchology: seashell stamps
* Certain sports; Olympic games
* Ecology, National Parks
* Geology, geologists
* Marilyn Monroe
* Sailing, ships
* Science, scientists
* Richard McP. Cabeen, "Standard Handbook of Stamp Collecting" (Harper & Row, 1979), pp. 83-88
* [http://www.americantopicalassn.org/ American Topical Association]
* [http://www.catstamps.org Catstmps.org - The Feline Philately Homepage]
* [http://www.rugbystamps.com Rugby]
* [http://www.stampsonstamps.org/ SOSCC, Stamps on Stamps Collectors Club]
* [http://www.caratexstamps.com Textiles]
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