When a stamp collector speaks about their collection, everything is a hyperbole. They have the oldest, best, most expensive stamps. They also have the most stamps, in thousands and hundreds of thousands. I don’t know how many stamp collectors periodically look at their collections realistically. I know, instead, I like to do that from time to time. It doesn’t kill the fun of stamp collecting, not in the least. It gives you instead the possibility to assess your collection, to look closer at gaps, and last but not least to be more thankful for your collection.

So my collection is not huge. It also doesn’t include all the stamps of the world. Some of them are indeed very expensive, and then some of them are not so much. What is true of my collection: it includes only mint stamps, and they are in good condition. Keeping your stamps in good condition is really a daily task for the stamp collector.

The composition of my stamp collection in major categories of products.

Since I live in Europe, of course most of my stamps are European. But my collection includes stamps from 291 countries and former territories, which naturally means I have a fair share of stamps from all over the world.

Here is the geographical distribution of the stamps from my collection.

This is already helpful. I would have reckoned that indeed, I have a lot of European stamps, but not that more than half of my collection is made up from stamps from Europe. I also wouldn’t have singled Asia as #2 – more like the Americas. This doesn’t mean that non-European countries are not in the top of countries as well. Some of them range high in the top – so here below you will see my top #1-50.

Top #01-10
Top #21-30

Top #41-50

Top #11-20
Top #31-40

As you can see, there are countries from which I have thousands of stamps, and countries from which I have mere hundreds.

Many non-European countries pop up in my top #1-50.

.The reason behind? I don’t have country collections. I only collect ‘some’ topics. Any stamp can pertain to one or more topics, but I don’t usually get doubles just to fill out my books. Depending on the mood, a stamp may even change collections completely. Major topics I collect stamps from are:

But that’s not just it. Not any stamp with a personality on it will please me. In general, for a stamp to land in my collection it has to: be in tip top shape, it has to be beautiful (a concept so relative I find it difficult to even start describing), to match one of my collections (or sub-collections) and last but not least to be something inspiring, something I can see a story around.

The list of topics I collect stamps from is large. I have some 300+ topical collections. Some are very orthodox, and some are not. The situation is quite uncomfortable. Imagine collector A, who asks me: “Which topics are of interest to you?”. And here’s the answer.

Another thing that’s of interest to me is the relevance of my collection. Has it stopped? Does it become outdated? Do stamps issued on topics of interest for me stop popping up and giving more substance to my topical collections? So I also looked at the decades from which the stamps in my collection come from.

Luckily. the recent decades, the 2000‘s and 2010‘s are quite well represented in my collection. That is not without a reason. First of all, because in these decades, the topical varieties have soared and there’s no stop to it. Basically everything is stamp-worthy these days. Second of all, these decades correspond to the time I was most active philatelically and I bought the most stamps or I entered the most stamp swaps with people across the globe. Often I look at collections which are up for sale here and there on the internet, and I am but disappointed. It’s rare a collection even makes it to the 1990‘s (and that’s considered recent). Let’s be honest. Keeping your collection up to date is the best thing you can do. Of course, you can go on and fill out the gaps of your collection (like I do – digging up stamps from the 1960‘s – because the design of many of them is simply fa-bu-lous), but continue buying and swapping recent stamps. Of course, recent stamps are more expensive most of the times (talking now about a collection of average value) and you need to pay ready money from your pocket. But they also are very scarce, so it’s really less likely that you will find them in a couple of years.

Based on figures from 2019-03-31