By Barry Floyd
There was a time when collecting stamps was a favourite and enjoyable hobby for youngsters, while quite a few adults continued with their collecting long after they had left school. The pastime was encouraged, both by parents and teachers, since there was a strong educational dimension to these little pieces of coloured paper, reflecting as they did geographical, historical and cultured aspects of the issuing countries, Scenes of e.g., landscape, birds, wild animals, flora, sporting events, famous people and different ethnic groups, all aided an understanding and appreciation of the world beyond one’s own home and country.
Sadly stamp collecting is a much rarer activity today, with many children spending an inordinate amount of time (with or without parental approval) in front of their personal computer screens, eagerly pursuing deadly monsters and evil villains.
We would like to see a revival of interest in stamps among the younger generation and thankfully we are not alone in this respect. The British RoyalMail is making a strong effort to promote the hobby by sponsoring a Stamp Bug Club and engaging in an active educational programme which sends material to thousands of schools on a regular basis. Recent GB commemorative issues such as the Changing of the Guard and sets featuring motorcycles will appeal to children, while contemporary Commonwealth stamps from countries such as Australia, Canada, Jamaica and Malaysia bear highly attractive illustrations of the environment and important events in those countries.
Any child who would like a free starter pack of used stamps from countries around the world may contact Rye’s Own editor, who will carry a stock provided by the writer of this short piece.
Dr. Barry Floyd, a geographer, has recently retired to Rye after many years abroad. He has collections of British and Malaysian stamps, also topical and
thematic collections focusing on tropical agriculture:,rivers and coastlines; and famous people such as Captain James Cook. He has published various articles on philately (the official name of the hobby) and is the author of The Millennium Stamps of Great Britain: 1999 – 2000 (copies for sale at the Martello Bookshop, High Streety, Rye).
“Rye’s Own” September 2005
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