We are all social creatures. We do not just enjoy socialization, we require it to stay sane and grounded. Communication is the lifeblood of social interaction. Although experts say that the majority of our in-person communication is non-verbal, we have a growing number of people in our lives that we wish to maintain a connection with, who live far from us, and with whom communication must be verbal. This has always been true throughout human history.
Today, we are spoiled for options to stay connected with people at the most distant corners of the globe, and to be able to communicate with them easily and instantly, with no delay. We take it for granted now. But not so long ago, the postal system was the only affordable means of maintaining that connection through letters sent back and forth between people. Stamps are one of the few elements of that communication system that survives, long after the communication has faded into memory.
When stamps were first issued, they were utilitarian in their design, as their only purpose was to facilitate mail delivery by showing that the postage fees were paid. However, as humans we are consumed by a desire for creativity and self expression. So, it wasn't long before stamps began to feature intricate designs. Soon, all of our hopes, our fears, our dreams, the people we did not want to forget, everything we thought was worth preserving and everything we thought was cool and neat began to appear on stamps. Thus, stamps became a living time capsule of the culture of the country that issued them. They truly reflect the attitudes and prejudices that were dominant when they were issued. Therefore to study, collect and appreciate stamps is to study, appreciate and understand humanity itself.
There is no other hobby that I know of which has the amount of crossover appeal that stamp collecting has. No matter what your interest is - whether it is reading, gardening, wine, food, travel, golf, spirituality, the military or anything else, you can find it on at least one stamp, issued somewhere, some time. I guarantee that you would be hard pressed to think of another hobby for which this is true.
Many people today misunderstand what the hobby is because of how they have been exposed to it as youngsters, and think that it is a stuffy hobby overrun by people who take it way too seriously. While most collectors are passionate, and this passion is not immediately understandable to everyone, you do not need to be extremely technical or wealthy to collect and enjoy stamp collecting. There really is nothing like the serenity that comes from an hour or two spent quietly working on your stamps. It allows you a way to stay connected to humanity, while still providing you with the downtime that many of us need so much in this day and age.
There are an almost infinite number of ways that you can collect stamps, and there is no "right" way to do it. If you visit the section titled "What Type of Collector Are You?", you will see what I mean by this. You can collect for the pure pleasure of admiring the pictures on the stamps, or you can collect a single country or group of countries to completion. You can collect purely for investment, and you can collect because you enjoy studying history. The reasons are as varied as humanity itself.
As you get further into the hobby, you may become consumed by a desire to tell the deeper story behind the design, production and distribution of your favourite stamps, as well as the workings of the postal system itself. The international postal system around the world, administered in Berne, Switzerland, by the Universal Postal Union is a case study in the triumph of human ingenuity over the natural logistical, linguistic and cultural obstacles involved in keeping an entire planet of human beings connected. It is when the desire to tell the deeper story of the workings of this complex system takes hold, that the highly technical aspects of the hobby can become both relevant and interesting.
But even if you never experience that desire, you can obtain a lifetime of enjoyment and pleasure from our fine hobby. Our mission at Brixton-Chrome is to help you do exactly that.