John Simper started Philatelovely, and like many of us, has a real passion for stamp collecting. He enjoys learning about each and every stamp, an individual piece of history, as well as a physical snapshot of a specific time and place. John wants to promote the world of stamp collecting and share it with his followers. Click here to follow Philatelovely on all social media and other websites.
APS interviewed John to discuss his background in the hobby and his plans for the future.
Q: How did you become involved in Philately?
A: I started collecting stamps when I was young, around 10 years old or so. My father split his collection up between me and my brother. I was instantly hooked, I loved seeing all the variations of stamps, designs and colours. I found it especially interesting to discover stamps from countries I hadn't heard of before. We used to go to the local library to borrow the Stanley Gibbons catalogues. It was, and still is, great fun researching stamps, and putting them into some sort of order. I enjoy researching everything about each stamp. From the designer, engraver and print company to the subject matter and history.
Q: Who inspired you to collect stamps?
A: The credit for this definitely has to go to my father. He was the person that ignited my philatelic flame. More recently, I find inspiration from the many online personalities and resources. Being able to share our hobby instantly with philatelists around the world is very inspiring, and provides us all with the opportunity to learn so much.
Q: What are some of your favorite stamps that you have collected?
A: This is quite a tough question to answer, as there are so many beautiful stamps that I have collected over the years. If I have to give an answer, I would say that I am particularly proud of my King Edward VII commonwealth stamp collection. I find it almost an addiction when adding more of them to my albums, and I'm always looking for more of those stamps. There is something very special about the classic designs of stamps from this era. I'm also a huge fan of early South American stamps, again, since the designs are so special.
Q: What inspired you to create an Etsy Store?
Etsy is a superb platform to sell stamps from, and I feel it is an underutilised outlet. When you think of buying or selling stamps, Etsy probably isn't the first place you would think of looking, and I have to admit I had never considered it a place for me to sell stamps. However, there are so many fantastic stores on there like ArtStamped
, and Tonia Jillings
that inspired me to give it a go. I now thoroughly enjoy selling on Etsy. I see it as another place to be able to promote our hobby, and encourage more future philatelists. The more areas we can promote our hobby the better.
Q: How did you come up with the idea to write about stamps on Twitter for each letter of the alphabet?
I created Philatelovely in February of 2020, while I was recovering from cancer treatments. My stamp collection gave me something to focus on, and the renewed interest in my collection took me online. I looked on YouTube to begin with, and was immediately presented with the amazing videos of Exploring Stamps
, by Graham Beck. It sounds almost unbelievable but I hadn't thought of looking on social media for fellow philatelists before this moment, which is ridiculous. On watching Graham's videos I noticed he had a Twitter page, so I decided to start my own. In the beginning I was just doing a "Stamp of the Day", but after a few months I started my daily A-Z challenge too. I figured if I ran a feature where people could go through their albums and collections, and share their stamps all centered around a specific theme/topic it would gain more interest, and ultimately get more people dusting off their albums to try and find stamps to share. I love seeing everyone's stamps every day, and being able to share this is just fabulous.
Q: What plans do you have for your YouTube channel? Are you interested in doing extreme philately like Exploring Stamps?
I definitely need to put more time and effort into my YouTube channel, and I would like to create more videos. It is on my list of things to do in 2022, and I'm already in the process of planning a few videos. Graham's channel is superb, and there are also some equally great channels out there on YouTube, including Mallard Stamps
, Ted Talks Stamps
, Richard Philatelist
and Gramps' Stamps
to name just a few. I really enjoy the Extreme Philately side of things, and I will be trying my hand at it very soon.
Q: Are there any YouTubers or other philatelists you would want to work with or plan to work with?
A: I am always looking for opportunities to work with other philatelists, and would welcome anyone that would like to work with me. I would love to do something with Graham Beck at some point, either on YouTube, or away from it. He is a very inspiring, knowledgeable person, and working with him is definitely on my to-do list.
Q: Any advice for people who are just starting out in the world of Philately?
My advice would be to get involved! Obviously, I would say join as many stamp collecting social media, blogs and channels as you can, introduce yourself and don't be afraid to take part. There are so many people that would be more than happy to help a new philatelist, including me. Also visit sites like the APS
and find out as much information as you can. I would direct any new collector to The Digital Philatelist
website, this is without doubt the best resource online for finding all sorts of Philatelic information. I would recommend joining a local stamp collecting club if you have one. At a collecting level, I would say collect what you want to, there are no rules that say you should collect a certain type of stamp. It's entirely up to you. It doesn't matter if you want to collect stamps from a specific country, theme or era. Whatever you're interested in, collect it and most importantly enjoy collecting stamps, and have fun doing it.
Q: What inspired you to start a Patreon? Are you planning to add more tiers or any future changes?
A: I always wanted to develop an online stamp collecting community, and provide a monthly subscription box type service, where I send out monthly packs of stamps/covers etc for an affordable price. Patreon provided me with the perfect opportunity for me to do this. When I first started my Patreon, I was expecting maybe 20 people to join, but 18 months on, I now have 117 members from 36 different countries worldwide. This continues to blow my mind, and it's an absolute pleasure running it. Being able to set up the different tier levels and the interactive dashboard are a great way to build the community, and I always encourage my members to help me develop the Patreon experience as a whole.
I am always looking for ways to improve my Patreon, and make it more interactive and fun for my members.I currently have six different tiers of membership, five of which provide members with a monthly pack of goodies delivered direct to their door. I don't have any immediate plans to add any new tiers, but I am always looking into it.
If you are interested in sharing your stamp story, contact the APS Media Team by emailing MediaTeam@stamps.org