The stamp collection continued to be a weekend project. The collection started to grow, slowly at first, but with the purchase of the 500 bags, the collecting started to pick up speed.
The 500 bags were plastic bags crammed with about 500 stamps from all over the world. These stamps had been used to send mail and were still attached to the remnants of the envelopes they had been on. These potential purchases still exist…. in even larger and more varied quantities. I have seen these in stamp magazines and on various websites. They seem tempting…..but I am not ready for that yet. I am not sure I ever will be.
The bag advertised itself as “all different”, conjuring up ideas of exotic stamps and interesting pictures. There were lots of interesting stamps, but the “all different” just wasn’t true. I found lots of duplicates in the sorting phase.
Still, for a young boy who had not traveled much and hadn’t yet studied history in school, these stamps were amazing. I poured over them. I devised complex sorting schemes and sub schemes. I spent a lot of time making piles of different countries and different denominations.
The “soaking” phase was also interesting. Peeling off those envelope shards was quite gratifying. Seeing those stamps retain their shape and colour was a huge relief to that young boy. Waiting patiently for them to dry so they could go in the book was very difficult indeed.
Once dry, those stamps had to be put somewhere. We affixed them to the album with hinges. This was such an unusual procedure that I didn’t know what to make of it. I had never seen anything like it. The book filled up quickly and much to my chagrin, most of the stamps had no corresponding picture. Without a catalogue, it made things difficult.
One day at school, I mentioned to my friend that I had started a stamp collection. He informed me that he too had a stamp collection and invited me over to see it. His collection was different from mine in that he had his stamps in hardcover books that I now recognize as stockbooks. This seemed rather better than what I had. Sensing my jealousy or perhaps just being nice, he gave me a small stockbook that he felt he no longer needed.
I took this to my Opa and did some rearranging of our stamps. He had purchased another bag of 500 so we had our weekend project set for us. I guess he liked the idea of the stockbook because when I next visited he had a completely different system for the stamps.
I don’t exactly know why or when, but the stamp collection ceased being mine. (I think I had moved on to comic books and the world of superheroes) My Opa took it over completely and soon had numerous binders filled with Vario pages. He had that elusive catalogue and several magnifiers. He joined a stamp club and was soon spending a lot of solitary time with the stamps. He still referred to it as my collection, but he didn’t show it to me as much.
Not long after this, he and my Oma had a falling out and he moved out of the house and took the stamps with him. He fell into the clutches of some shady characters and did some things that earned him quite a bit of distance from our family.
Though not the most important point of the history, but the most relevant to this blog, I never saw the stamps again. That phase of my stamp collecting ended right there.
I hope he was able to sell them or give them to someone who enjoyed them.