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History of Stamp Collecting Part 1 – The First Collectors

In the late 1970s a fascinating series of articles written by Mr. K. Kouwenberg about the history of Stamp Collecting, appeared in the Dutch magazine Philatelie. This series has been the source of inspiration for Rob Smit to rewrite the history of stamp collecting in instalments. This is Part 1: The First Collectors.
To collect anything, generally there must be a variety of things to choose from. For collecting to become a craze there must be more people looking to collect the same items. This helps to create a  swap market. For it to become widespread, you must be able to collect items from different geographical locations.

Postage stamps were an ideal thing to collect.  Being so light in weight they were easy to carry and they could spark the imagination of the owner with visions of the distant lands they might originate from. This was also the case for coin collectors, who were busy with their particular hobby long before the first stamp appeared.

The first, or rather first two, stamps appeared in Great Britain in 1840. Within ten years, many other countries had issued stamps. So, by the 1850s, it would already have been possible to build a collection of dozens of different stamps. And, with the increasing use of the postage stamp by countries around the globe, for the collector the search for these stamps could, of course, become exciting. So the craze for stamp collecting was in its infancy in the 1850s – beginning mainly with schoolboys, but gradually becoming more popular as a hobby for adults.

The first recorded reference to a collector is found in the London Times of August 13th, 1841. A woman had placed a strange advertisement in the newspaper asking people to send stamps to her. Not so strange in itself, but the reason she wanted the stamps was to use them as wallpaper in her bedroom!

To collect stamps was certainly challenging in the beginning. Nobody knew for sure what stamps existed. The only way to gain some insight was to compare collections. In 1860, in the British journal ‘Notes and Queries’, an article by schoolteacher SF Creswell appeared, concerning the stamp collection of one of his students.

For the first time it is clearly indicated here that a collection of more than 300 stamps existed. I was thrilled to read that the boy in question had apparently had contact with none other than Sir Rowland Hill himself, who indicated that there were probably only around 500 stamp varieties at that time. From that remark one might conclude that Sir Rowland Hill was also a collector or had some insight into the total number of stamps issued.

Furthermore the letter to the editor indicates that there are already quite a few enthusiasts, that collecting is instructive and a stamp collection is actually a portable museum. The article also requests that someone should compile a catalogue, write about stamps in the media and additionally calls for a shop where stamps are sold. I think Mr Cresswell’s article is unique in predicting what would become common in today’s philatelic world before it existed!

His wishes would soon come true. In 1857 the Brussels bookseller J.B. Moens was already busy buying and selling stamps – and the first catalogue was not long in coming.



FIP president meets IFSDA president in Holland

On may 12th, Bernard Beston, president of the FIP (Fédération Internationale Philatélie) visited Holland and met IFSDA president Rob Smit.

Of course there was a lot of talking on philately, but also some time to see some typical dutch villages and landscape.

Profile New IFSDA President

At the IFSDA AGM in Prague, Rob Smit has been elected as new IFSDA president. Here an introduction of Rob in his own words:
'First of all I want to thank Richard for his presidency over the past 6 years. I think you all know and agree he did a marvelous job, 
especially with bringing in the PTS, but also with mediation between members and with keeping things running. 
I am happy to take over this task and go for it with full energy.
I will say a few words about myself.
As you might know, I am a dutch stampdealer. My current age is 57 and I am in the stamp business for over 40 years with my self-builded company
Until recently I ran three stamp shops in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Haarlem. I combined them to one large shop in Haarlem. 
However my major sales come from the internet with my own webshop. Aprox. 20 people are working in my company.
I am a board member in the dutch dealers ass. NVPH for over 12 years now. I like to say that the NVPH was one the founding organisations for the IFSDA which was founded in Utrecht in the Netherlands in 1952.
English is not my native language, so my english will be somewhat more directly and less elastic, poetic and joyfull as you used to hear from Richard, besided that I can understand and speak a few words in German and French.
People who know me are aware of the fact that I am always looking for how to improve or change things to get better results. That's my nature.
This does not mean that I want to start tomorrow with changing all kind of things immediately, 
but I am very open-minded for changes and want to have them well thought over before implementation.
You know that we live in a fast changing world. This also applies the philatelic market.
I dream of an IFSDA that brings better together all dealers from over the world, giving them great opportunities to raise their trade, which will make them proud to be an IFSDA member through their national organisation. That's my goal.
I feel happy that there are so many experienced board members to work with. Ingomar who was just choses as treasurer, Lars-Olow as vice president and of course Paul, vice president as well and our UPU contact person.
As well as all other board members.'

Second Green Star for PostNL's Parcel Division

PostNL’s parcels division has been awarded its second Lean & Green star, in recognition of its achievement in reducing its CO2 emissions by more than 30% compared to 2010. PostNL has realised this reduction by deploying electric vehicles, installing solar panels and optimising logistic movements. The Lean & Green star was presented by Henk Krougman, Supply Chain Development Manager von Cargill und Botschafter von Lean & Green Europe, to Leendert-Jan Plaisier, Director of Operations at PostNL’s parcels division. The presentation took place during the Sustainable Mobility Festival in Amersfoort.

Source: AIJP News

UPU names Swiss Post the best in the world

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) has named Swiss Post as the world’s best postal organization. In the comparison of 173 countries, Swiss Post took first place ahead of its counterparts in the Netherlands and Japan. For the second time in a row, Switzerland is ranked first out of all the postal organizations evaluated by the UPU in the Postal Development Index.
“Credit for this award goes to all of our employees for their tireless efforts on behalf of Swiss Post every day,” said delighted CEO Susanne Ruoff. “Swiss Post is very proud of another outstanding ranking in an increasingly challenging economic climate. This result gives us both a duty and an incentive to continue meeting these high standards in a rapidly changing environment,” remarked Ruoff.
The UPU awarded Swiss Post the top scores in its press release. Among all the dimensions evaluated, Swiss Post achieved the maximum score of 100 points for relevance and resilience. The average score for industrialized nations in these categories was 64.3 points (resilience) and 39.9 points (relevance). In terms of financial services and its national importance, it was equalled only by Japan’s postal organization, which, like Swiss Post, achieved the maximum score of 100 points for relevance. 
The UPU study evaluates reliability (efficiency, speed, and quality of delivery and services), reach (international networks and commitment), relevance (demand for the products and services, and how important they are to the country) and resilience (how innovative Swiss Post is, how diversified its sources of revenue are and how sustainable developments are implemented).
The study indicates that increasing digitization is posing unprecedented challenges for the sector worldwide, mainly due to the growing demand for delivery capacity in online retail. However, it also reveals that digitization is opening up new opportunities for companies which are agile, quick to react and proactive. In addition, the report suggests that an increase in investments and the creation of a level competitive playing field would boost postal organizations as a critical element of national infrastructure, offering a benefit to governments, regulatory authorities and market participants.

Source: AIJP News