Thursday, July 2, 2009

Stamp Collection

My Dad had an extensive stamp collection. Shortly before he and my Mom moved to Vermont we took it to a stamp dealer in an attempt to sell it. Unfortunately we were informed that the collection was not worth much more than the face value of the stamps. A few short months after settling in Vermont, my Dad broke his hip and within ten days he was gone. My Mom began to use the stamps for letters. Eighteen months later, when we lost her as well, my sister and I were sorting through her belongings and found the stamps neatly sorted into envelopes by value. We divided them and I ended up with the following denominations: $.15, .13, .10, .08, .04 and .03. I've been using them for over a year now, doing the simple math to make combinations that will fit on the envelope and meet the requirements of the USPS. At first it was $.42 and now, of course, it's $.44. I'm fascinated by the stamps, how the designs have changed over the years. The $.03 stamps seem to date from the 1950's and are one color on a white background. Do you remember when it cost only $.03 to mail a letter? The $.13 stamps date from the 1970's. By that time, stamps seem to have become much more colorful and the art work is of a more playful nature.

I'm not sure if the collection ended with the $.15 stamps, which would have been from perhaps the '80's or whether my sister has some of the higher denomination stamps. I'll have to ask her. Recently my California son and daughter-in-law mentioned how interesting it was to receive mailings with the colorful stamps. Today, as I prepared the envelope for the monthly co-op maintenance fees it occurred to me that I should be getting a pictorial record. So, I'm going to be taking photos and posting them as I use the rest of the stamps. Here's the first one:

You can see I've used two $.15 stamps, one $.10 and a $.04 for a total of $.44. The evolving style is evident I think. Click on the picture to get a close up view of each stamp.

We pay almost all of our bills electronically so we don't use the stamps very often. I'll post one whenever I use one. When I am licking the stamps (they all predate the era of self-stick postage) I think of my Dad and how much pleasure it gave him to build this collection. Somehow using the stamps makes him feel closer.

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