It might have started in Great Britain, but it’s become a stamp of Americana.

Stamp collecting is practiced across the nation, and the Albuquerque Philatelist Society is the epicenter for local collectors. The organization has begun prepping for NewMexPex2010, a two-day event geared for those going postal for the square-sized postmarks.

Thomas Clinkenbeard, the society’s president, said collectors are captivated by the historical significance a stamp represents at the time it’s issued.

“For me personally, and other folks who collect, we gain knowledge of the printing process, when stamps were issued, but also what is behind that stamp — what that represents,” he said. “You know why they were issued, why this particular person or event, why they picked the pictures, why they chose it for that time.”

John DeBoo, the society’s librarian, said the exhibition will present collections categorized according to the chosen theme.

“There are certain rules to follow as far as how the material is presented and organized, and that gets to be quite anal, to me,” he said. “It’s like the whole world is there, from left to right. That’s how stamp exhibiting tends to be, as far as what people exhibit.”
Don Swartz, a member who collects stamps from across the world, said stamps reflect countries’ values and interests.

“The subjects do cross boundaries, but at the same time, it’s what’s interesting to that country,” he said. “Those based out of Russia had a lot more of the Warsaw Pact stuff during that time, so you could see the Cold War even in the stamps — the inflation rate periods. It’s just a microcosm of the world.”

For those composing thematic collections for the exhibition, stamp arrangement is a vital aspect. Clinkenbeard said his composition mirrors the passing of time.

“The postal history would tell me more about what’s on the covers, where a thematic (arrangement) is going to give me a storyline of whomever I’m showing or whatever I’m showing on that stamp,” he said. “I’m using the stamps in telling that story.”
Swartz said stamp collecting helps him escape from stress.

“For me, it’s seeing the filled page. It gives you a sense of accomplishment,” he said. “It’s a chance to get away when stress starts eating at you. The stamps are going to take you where they’re going to take you. Franklin Delano Roosevelt during World War II was working on his stamps to keep from becoming overworked.”

Printing methods have changed over time to produce stamps at a much higher rate. Nowadays, stamp collectors prefer engraved stamps.
DeBoo said older stamps are more valuable.

“The beauty of the engraving is just fascinating,” he said. “These people actually sat with tiny, intricate tools and were able to hand-engrave these things. Now most of these are done by a computer, and they look OK, but there’s something in the old ones that become, to me, pieces of art.”

Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Italian-American Association Hall
1565 Stephanie Road S.E.
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