My Family in Philately

I never knew my grandfather was a stamp collector.

Ok, so maybe that isn’t totally accurate. I vaguely remember him giving me a bunch of stamps and some tongs as a young kid…but I had no interest. I was too busy playing DOOM and playing around with Windows 95. Stamps were far from anything I was interested in.

It wasn’t until I had to clean out his cottage at an “active adult community” that I found a stamp album, that apparently his grandfather had started. I thought it must be worth at least a few bucks, right? I didn’t know anything about stamps other than the fact that I thought “stamp collecting” was basically shorthand for “boring.”

George Ralph Wolfgang — My great-grandfather — was a member of the APS

I found my great-grandfather’s APS card — how cool is that? But even then I didn’t think it was super interesting. It was only when I started to try to figure out what I had that I became interested.

Stamps have reinforced my belief that when you get to a sufficiently granular level — anything can be interesting. Once I started learning about perforations, watermarks, and printing types — things I still have a lot to learn about — I quickly realized that there was a lot more to this hobby than I had ever imagined. Philately — a word that for most of my life was synonymous with “boring” — took on a whole new meaning for me. What began as learning the bare minimum it would take to sell a collection for a few dollars became an obsession. (I still haven’t sold a thing in the collection my grandfather passed down, in fact I plan on keeping it separate from the rest of my material going forward.)


Leave a Reply