Topical Stamp Collecting

There are many ways to approach beginning or organizing a stamp collection. While many collectors specialize in a particular country or time period, others choose a theme or topic and attempt to gather as many unique examples of it as possible. One of the benefits of this type of collection is that, in most cases, it presents collectors with a larger pool to draw from — the thrill of collecting is not so much the drive to complete an album or country but rather to find rare stamps that fit the theme.

Historical Background

Since the first adhesive postage stamp — the British Penny Black — was released in 1840, monarchs and heads of state have featured prominently on stamps the world over. While this presents many interesting avenues for serious collectors, it's hard to deny that royal portraiture isn't the most exciting thing in which to specialize. Topical stamps depicting an event, animal, person of note or any other specialized subject began being issued in part because of the rise of philately as a popular hobby and potentially lucrative revenue stream.

Today, almost every postal authority issues topical stamps of some kind. A wide range of subjects has been featured on stamps, from pictorial issues commemorating historic events to depictions of animals and nature. No matter where your interests lie, there is an almost unlimited number of options and opportunities for building a rare topical stamp collection.

Where to Start

The internet contains extensive resources for anyone interested in starting a collection of topical stamps. Be sure to check out the Apfelbaum, Inc. blog, as well as our online Stamp Store. Some organizations catering to topical stamp collectors include:

  • The American Philatelic Society, the oldest and largest stamp collecting organization in the U.S. The Society's website contains an extensive research library and catalogue of rare topical stamps.
  • The American Topical Association, which, as the name implies, caters specifically to topical stamp collectors. The Association counts more than 30,000 members among their ranks and hosts the annual National Topical Stamp Show in a different U.S. city each year.

Buy Topical Stamps Online

The sheer number of things that have been printed on stamps means that a topical stamp collection can include everything from the rarest to the most commonplace issues from around the world. The American Topical Association lists more than 400 potential categories, including cats, jazz musicians, ships, windmills and more. In short, as a topical stamp collector, you are limited only by your interests and your imagination.

Whether you are just beginning your collection or are looking for a rare issue to complete it, Apfelbaum, Inc. can help. Browse our current inventory by visiting our available Stamp Store in our stamp store today.