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i am a stamp collector now

happy friday, friends. on monday i go back to work after a week off of self care and catching up on hobbies, old and new. i wanted to tell you about my newest. it all started a couple of weeks ago when a coupon insert told me i can get 200 used stamps for "–only $1.00" and i was like "hell yeah, count me in." [[MORE]]

photo of a coupon flyer for buying a stamp grabbag

the act of me actually filling out a form with my credit card info or mailing a check for $1.00 was not going to happen, but the form had a link to the mystic stamp company’s online listing so that’s how i ordered.

the mystic stamp company is a mail-order postage stamp dealer based in new york and has been around for almost 100 years – that’s older than i am! upon purchasing the grab bag, they have sent emails every single day and, to be quite honest, i will never unsubscribe. the earnestness and love and care of stamps that exude from these emails assured me that i wasn’t being scammed, that one day i’d get 200 used stamps. yesterday they arrived:

an envelope addressed to me, address "hell"

by the way, welcome to my bed this morning. i was going to wait for later in the day when i was at my table but i was so excited to see what i got that i even opened this before i made coffee.

here is the bag of 200 stamps:

me holding a little ziploc bag full of stamps

but there was more! they sent other sets of stamps for me to check out and decide if i wanted to keep them and pay, or send them back. i don’t know long they’ve been selling this way, but i’m sure it predates today’s subscription box models of “try before you buy.” truly iconic and also a way to easily debilitate me.

a few bags of stamps on a cream-colored blanket

i didn’t want to not purchase more stamps, but i also didn’t want to keep these from “real stamp collectors.” fortunately, i caught myself early on before fully entering yet another guilt and impostor syndrome spiral that we older millennials love to spin in, and decided to choose the stamp set that had harriet quimby in it and send mystic stamp company $1.00.

a form for ordering stamps

this gave me a chance to fill out the form and let them know that i like artists and bugs (they asked!). i’m wise enough to remember the day princess diana died, so i was not phased at all when i saw her name in the shortlist of stamp collecting guides.

i mailed this out later in the day and, as i’m writing this and looking at this form, i could absolutely KICK myself for checking off “i don’t think of myself as a stamp collector.” stop trivializing your strengths and interests, jenn!! also technically i do collect stamps already:

a sheet of ellsworth kelly stamps and a single shirley temple stamp

i have several sheets of these ellsworth kelly stamps (he’s one of my favorite artists) and i have this one shirley temple stamp that andy gave me when we first started dating.

after an afternoon of chores and watching the nets lose in their first bubble game, i organized my grab bag of "200″ stamps on the kitchen table – there were actually around 220 stamps!

many stamps organized on a large brown table with a black cat looking confused

i’m going to go through the categories of stamps i came up with as i sorted them. by far, most of the collection were "patriotic” and “faces of (mostly white, male) people in history.”

a two panel photo of stamps, many patriotic ones and many ones with faces

99% of these were boring. for some reason i feel like the boat named after rob*rt . l* belongs in the “faces” section.

then we have the "nature” and "science” stamps:

a two panel photo of stamps, several nature ones and several science ones

today i learned that my favorite one there, the 4 coral reefs, together make a plate block. i also like the catfish. the “atoms for peace” ones i probably should have put under “patriotic” as it was a presidential speech. unfortunately there was only one bug (butterflies, my least favorite) - good thing i listed “bugs” as an interest in the form i mailed out to them!

the next two categories are "places” and “probably december.”

a two panel photo of several geographic stamps and several christmas and snowflake stamps

i was excited about the brooklyn bridge one because i’m from brooklyn and it’s just nice to feel represented somehow. i’m indifferent to christmas, but they do stand out from the other more boring groups.

finally, here are “art” and “transportation”

a two panel photo of several art stamps and several transportation related stamps

i was super stoked to find a mary cassatt stamp. if you want to learn more about her, i wrote about her for an art + code project i did a few years ago called vart. i also liked the “stop traffic accidents” psa stamp.

okay, so that was all the sorted stamps. i put them into separate envelopes to organize and store, but not before creating a separate category envelope for “greatest hits” which include the following:

a group of 9 stamps

now that i have a “greatest hits” collection, the next thing i’m going to do is spend hours researching literally everything about each one of them. and then i’ll write about them here because everything i do is for the blog.

i hope you enjoy my new collection, and that you’ll share with me your cool collections – especially stamps, but anything cool is cool, you know?

xoxo jenn

this was published July 31, 2020 under living art stamps hobbies mail