Richard Philatelist is a stamp collector and influencer. You can watch his videos on the Richard Philatelist YouTube channel, where he talks about stamps and postal history. APS interviewed Richard to learn more about his philatelic background and his plans for the future of his channel.
Read the interview below:
Q: How did you become involved in philately or stamp collecting?
A: We have to go back to almost 20 years ago. I was born and raised in China, so I finished primary school there. This was back in 2003, and there was a thing called Thursday club in my school that helped us to develop some hobbies. Clubs had activities or research during the afternoon, and there was a stamp collecting club. I actually wasn't a member of that club, but three of my good friends were, and they shared their experiences in that club and showed their stock books to me. I just thought it was so cool, so I decided to build my own stamp collection. And it was not hard for me to start, because my dad was working in an ocean shipping crew and one of my aunts lives in Japan. And in the 1990s and early 2000s letters were still the dominant form of communication. So I got a lot of used worldwide stamps, and especially from Japan. At that period, I just collected stamps, but didn't study the postal history or stories behind the stamps. I was just a young boy who loved some cool little pieces of paper. As fewer and fewer people wrote letters, my interest in stamps also faded. But I still bought stamps and sent myself some postcards while traveling. In 2012, I came to the UK, but I didn't even know what a Penny Black was. And then the story comes to the end of 2020. I was on the Royal Mail website to look up some information about shipping a package, and I accidentally went to the stamp selling page. I was attracted by the stamps that they sold and started to learn some postal history and some stories behind them. And then I got completely caught up in the hobby, especially during the COVID lockdown since I had a lot of time at home.
Q: Who inspired you to collect stamps?
A: You got the answer from the last section, my primary school classmates, my dad and my aunt. And I talked a lot about stamps and swapped a lot of stamps with my three good friends. Unfortunately, I don't have their contact details now. Some other classmates also gave me some used envelopes and used stamps. I still remember a boy's mum worked in the UK and he gave me some Machins. One girl's uncle worked in Israel, and she gave me a stamp from Israel. I still have the contact information of the girl. So maybe I will send a message to her later to ask something like how are you? How is your uncle?
Q: What are some of your favorite stamps that you have collected?
A: My favorite stamps are the marathon stamps issued by China in 2019. And here they are. I got the blocks of the stamps and I love them, especially the first one. I am an amateur marathon runner so I like marathon and other running themed stamps. These two stamps are China's first and only stamps about marathons. It is a coincidence that the posture of the runner on the first stamp is similar to a photo of me in 2019 running a marathon. My logo was inspired by this stamp. On the two stamps there are also some details worth paying attention to. I will discuss them in a future video. The stamps are also gifts from my girlfriend before we started our relationship and before I became serious in philately, so the stamps are ready special to me, definitely my favorites.
Q: What inspired you to start a YouTube channel?
A: A short answer is Graham Beck from Exploring Stamps. I started to watch his videos in late 2020, but I didn't think about starting my own YouTube channel. I started from an Instagram account. I use that account to share some of my collection and follow other philatelic related accounts. And I'm crazy about the idea of #xtremephilately, we take stamps into our real life and take some good photos. And it's not hard for me to do because I live in London, and there are a lot of stamps about the London landmarks. My first attempt was at the Thames barrier, but not long after we entered another round of national lockdown, and had to stay at home. It looked like I couldn't continue my adventure of extreme philately, but then I found a tube map stamp. So I just picked up one of my pocket maps, taped it on a wall and took a photo. And then I thought, why not to make a short video about this story. So I made a video and uploaded it on Instagram, it was just a one minute short video because that's the longest you can do on Instagram. And fortunately that we do was quite popular, and caught the attention of Graham Beck. And he encouraged me to start a YouTube channel.
Q: Talk about your experience at the 2021 Autumn Stampex.
A: It was my first stamp show, which was an amazing experience. It was a really big building and everything inside was about stamps. It's so easy to spend all day inside, I couldn't get out. I enjoyed the exhibitions since I learned a lot from other people's collections, and I was always excited to say something I was familiar with. I enjoyed talking to the dealers and getting something new for my collection. The auctions and talks were also great. More importantly, I met some friends from the online philatelic community. I'm looking forward to my next stamp show.
Q: Any advice for other collectors or stamp YouTubers that are just starting out?
A: If you want to start a YouTube channel, just do it. It's not hard to start. The scope of philately is so wide that nobody can be an expert in everything, so we need to learn from each other. Also, you will never run out of topics to discuss. Any random stamp may contain a lot of information, just go through your collection and talk to the camera. Editing a video can be time consuming, but the joy of completion is overwhelming. To the new collectors, I want to say just collect anything you like, there's no rule in stamp collecting. I really like what another YouTuber Bob Collects Stamps said. And let me quote here: "Remember, don't follow anybody else's rules except have fun, take care of yourself and your stamps."
Q: Who are some YouTubers that you have worked with or want to work with in the future?
A: I have worked with Lisa from Stamp Cat Stamps. Actually, I decided to work with her after I saw her interview on the APS website. We did a swap and research challenge where we traded some stamps and did some research on the mystery stamps from each other and released the videos simultaneously. If you have watched one video, you will probably want to watch the other one. I'm happy to say that Ted Talks Stamps and Bob Collects Stamps also did this challenge. At Stampex last year, I asked Graham to have a short talk in my video, which is also a kind of collaboration. In the future. I'd like to do more collaborations with people like Graham and Lisa. And I also hope to work with Bob and Ted and other YouTubers like Lawrence from the Stories Behind the Stamps, and James from The Digital Philatelist. We can do more swap and research challenges in the future if they want, and I will also think about other ways to collaborate.
Q: How do you see your channel evolving in the future?
A: I will be doing more videos and making some playlists about the topics that I'm interested in, such as countries like China, the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, and some themes like sports and transportation. I'm also thinking about how to attract some non-stamp collectors to my channel. Not everyone is interested in stamps, but everyone loves stories. I hope I can inspire more people to collect stamps, or inspire philatelists to collect other topics. I'm also planning to learn some advanced video editing skills to improve my future videos. All my previous videos were edited on my phone.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: I'm going to the London 2022 International Stamp Exhibition. Maybe I will make a video about it, and I will definitely share my experiences on other platforms. Finally, thank you to the APS for doing this interview, I really enjoyed thinking about these questions. See you on my channel!