Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Barry White. I currently reside in Southern California, but I hail from Adelaide, South Australia (please don’t hold this against me). Most people don’t know where Adelaide is, but I bet you do, thanks to this wonderful hobby of ours. Stamp collectors tend to be geographically astute.
My philatelic history is typical. I began collecting as a young lad, back in the 1960s, and stayed with it until cars and girls took over. Then, in my twilight-ish years, I returned to the hobby. I'm pretty sure it’s illegal, at my age, not to have a hobby, and so I am simply abiding.
As a youngster, I collected the world, which I marked off assiduously in my Stanley Gibbons Simplified World Catalog, circa 1965. I had a Seven Seas “Southern Cross”stamp album that housed my stamps, all of which were dutifully attached using scotch tape!
Fast forward to 2005, at which point I had a pretty good Australian collection (sans scotch tape), housed in a Scott Specialty album. I also had a somewhat impressive sprinkling of 19th century British Empire (upon which the sun never sets), mounted on printed pages from Stamp Albums Web. It was around this time that I joined the Orange County Philatelic Society (OCPS), headquartered in Villa Park, California. We meet once a month, usually the afternoon of the second Sunday. Our main activity is a robust auction, with spirited bidding from about 25-30 attendees.
At the time I joined the OCPS I was amazed to discover how many worldwide collectors we had in our membership. Sure, when we were kids we all collected the world, but I had assumed that in the 21st century, it would be an impossible task. But no. There they were, a whole bunch of what I now call “Worldies,” hard at it tackling the entire planet!
For a few years I marveled at this. I did not understand how anyone could take on such a daunting task, and when I tentatively asked a few, their replies were somewhat vague and a little unsatisfying. Eventually, I had no choice but to sate my curiosity by joining them. The date? March 25th, 2009.
I became a Worldie.
Some of the more erudite members of the OCPS expressed displeasure at my choice to collect the world in favor of specializing. I explained to them that I am on a pretty strict budget these days. I can spend $500 a month buying one stamp for my Australian collection (which is only missing some elusive high value Kangaroos, a few nasty postage dues, and miscellaneous funky watermarks), or buying a ton of worldwide stamps. And here's the kicker: I get just as much pleasure putting a minimum value stamp into my collection as I do an expensive one, and the thrill of the chase is comparable.
I wonder how many of you out there are candidates to become Worldies? Here's a few “teaser” questions for your consideration:
Are you fascinated by other people’s collections?
Do you enjoy “just looking at stamps,” even though they are not in your field of specialty?
Do you like having lots of stamps, or would you prefer lots and lots of stamps?
Are you on a strict budget, and can no longer afford those expensive stamps missing from your collections?
Are you feeling “philatelically restless?”
Are you up for a huge challenge?
Answer “yes” to any/all of these, and you could be ready to join me!
In my upcoming columns I plan to take on the lighter side of philately, laced with gentle philosophy and a sprinkling of humor. I am, after all, a “true blue” (Aussie slang for “real”) Worldie!