Thursday, 28 July 2011

Simply Stamps!

I don't know about you but I, like many others I'm sure, got bitten by the collecting bug many years ago when I was a child and it all began with stamps! Postage stamps, that is

It was a hobby my mother helped me to enjoy. We would go into the city centre together and visit one of the local stamp dealers, and every Christmas and birthday she would buy me a commemorative set or two as well as the annual Christmas stamps

It was something I genuinely loved but over the years my interest in stamp collecting started to take second place to a number of other interests all of which involve collecting things, namely wargaming and, more recently, toy soldiers, militaria and airsofting

The other day, however, and I really don't know how or why it happened, I found myself thinking once again about my stamp collection. It's very modest, and not large by any stretch of the imagination and, although I haven't added to it for literally years, I've always stored it somewhere where I can get to it easily should the urge to add to it ever come upon me again

I took the two 16 leaf stock books out of the Ikea storage box they are packed in, dusted them off, [metaphorically speaking] and began looking through them, in so doing rekindling my interest in the hobby

I've spent the last few days reacquainting myself with an old Stanley Gibbons GB catalogue, and reworking my wants list, as well as looking up local dealers on the internet

The two dealers I used to frequent as a boy in the centre of Birmingham have long since gone, and they haven't been replaced. It didn't take me all that long, however, to find the details of a dealer over in Stratford. We communicated via email and mobile phone and earlier today I travelled over there to meet him in person

Phill has an extensive selection of stamps from all over the world, not just GB
Travelling as a family, myself, the wife and two young children, we arrived in Stratford not long after 11.30 in the morning. A pleasant walk by the river, followed by lunch consisting of a pasty from a local pasty shop and a coffee and cake from Holdens Patisserie, and then on to the stamp shop

The shop is actually a unit within the Stratford Antiques and Interiors Centre and from the moment I saw the photo on the dealer's website I decided it was just the sort of place I wanted to go and take a closer look at. Here is the address of the antiques centre, followed by the website photo and three more that I took on my i-phone during the visit earlier today

Dodwell Trading Estate
Evesham Road
CV37 9SY

Stepping into the shop was like taking a step back in time, entirely appropriate when the items being sold are stamps and various other items relating to postal history, and history more generally as a matter of fact. I simply loved it, so much so that I completely lost track of time and finished up spending the best part of two hours in there, most of it sat at the desk shown in the last photograph, poring over volumes of stamps and talking with the owner about the direction I wanted to take my collection in

And that's part of the reason why I decided to post about my visit this evening. Phill [and yes that really is his name] talked me through a whole load of stuff and gave me a lot to chew over and I'm very grateful for the time he spent with me. I've decided to continue with my collection of GB stamps, limited to Christmas sets, commemorative issues with a military related theme, and definitives from various reigns, and I've also decided to embark on a new collection of Third Reich stamps

So, all in all, I've had a very enjoyable, educational and thought provoking day. If anyone asks me "Have you called Phill lately?" I will answer honestly, "Yes, and I'll be doing so again very, very soon"

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