“Forever” in Love with Stamps

This breathtaking image of Mt. Rainier by photographer Matt Dieterich is part of a series of new U.S. “Forever” postage stamps commemorating the national parks. It’ll be released at a June 2 ceremony at the World Stamp Show in New York City.

Are you one of those folks who always asks to see the selection at the Post Office counter when you buy stamps? My recent favorites are the Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin stamps; at the moment I’m using the lovely “Botanical Art” series on my outgoing mail. Someone told me once that if you’re going to send business correspondence by snail mail, using unusual stamps is a sure way to get noticed.

I had forgotten how much I loved stamps as a kid, when I ran across parts of my old stamp collection cleaning out my parents’ house.

From maybe 4th to 9th grades, I was a stamp fanatic. I sent away precious allowance dollars for those inexpensive “Bags O’ Stamps” in comic-book ads and spent hours sorting them. The myriad colors and exotic designs fueled daydreams of where each stamp might have traveled before landing in my little albums.

As I hit my teen years, I guess real-life adventures transplanted imaginary ones. But getting reacquainted with “my stamps” again has been an unexpectedly poignant experience.

And who knew so many other people also were hooked by philately? From May 28 to June 4, 250,000 are expected to attend the World Stamp Show.

The lineup includes stamp dealers from more than 20 nations, 112 stamp-collecting organizations and societies, auctions of rare stamps and 4,500 “frames” – large display panels under glass – to peruse. In short: This is Stamp Heaven. Even better – admission is free!

The World Stamp Show is held only once per decade in the United States, and if I hadn’t already made other plans for that week, you can bet I would mail myself there in a heartbeat. The next one will be in Boston – in 2026.