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    Stamp Collecting with George Mackay Brown

    George Mackay Brown Letters from Hamnavoe Gordon Wright 1975Hi and welcome back !

    While chatting with my dear friend Mairiuna about stamp collecting, a topic we love to share upon as we are both fans of those miniature work of art, she mentioned George Mackay Brown’s interest in collecting stamps.

    By all means! Having travelled through many of his books I was surprised that I never got hinted to his stamp collecting hobby!

    M: Let me research where I read about this…
    J:  On standby…

    Lo and behold the following day, Mairiuna sends me this cue:

    M: It’s in Volume 4 of the Chronicles written for The Orcadian! It was a rough search but so happy to have found it.

    J:  Thank you so much Mairiuna! Let’s start with an excerpt of the chronicle:

    STAMP COLLECTING – 24 September 1992

    (…) “Orkney collectors were favoured in respect of colonial stamps, because so many Orcadians were settled in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and they kept writing letters home. So we plagued folk with second cousins in those distant places splashed red on the map, “Have you got any foreign stamps?’ (‘Foreign was, to us, anywhere overseas.)

    Well, in no time we got ourselves albums, and to begin with we made the horrible mistake of pasting the stamps flush on the album with ‘Gloy’ paste…Quite soon it was pointed to us that a serious stamp-collector never did that, he mounted them carefully on adhesive hinges.

    young stamp collector

    And God knows the majority of us, postage stamp lovers, did that mistake!

    We also learned that the best way to protect unused stamps was to affix them in the album by using glassine strips with gum on one side, or stamp mounts, clear plastic sleeves.

    Stamps can be displayed according to the collector’s wishes, by country, topic, or even by size, which can create a display pleasing to the eye. There are no rules and it is entirely a matter for the individual collector to decide. Albums can be commercially purchased, downloaded or created using acid free paper provides better long-term stamp protection.

    So there we sat, in houses all over Hamnavoe, under the paraffin lamp on the kitchen table, sorting out little heaps of stamps (…) We had read about all the rare stamps – the ‘penny blacks’, the first true postage stamps of the 1840s, and a very rare stamp from place in the Caribbean that was worth thousands! “What? we asked ourselves: “A fortune for one little scrap of paper?’ … but we never found a penny black in the assortments we were sent.

    We can recognize here George Mackay Brown’s sense of humour!

    Stamp collecting is really fun and those colourful stamps found on enveloppes, (most likely a rare sight nowadays) have a lot depicted in them, from famous people, architecture, cities, sports to animals, maps and yes, also unicorns.

    Since 1840, collecting stamps is a popular anti-stress hobby among people of all ages interested in history, geography, art, world cultures and more!

    They are miniature gateways to the world and collecting them does not necessitate expensive sneakers or rackets to enjoy it! Look-alike stamps frequently turn stamp collectors into Sherlock Holmes!

    Sherlock Holmes On Stamps Nicaragua Scott C812 1972

    GB Mythical Creatures Unicorns on postage stamps

    GB Stamps-flag-thistle

    I’ve been collecting stamps since the age of 12 and lately chose to niche my interests down to mainly seven thematic subjects: Photography, Candles & Light, Lighthouses, Unicorns, Famous Women, Books & Literature and everything Scottish related. 😊

    I’ll see how I could mount some of my collections on a web page in order for you to browse them up.

    Stay tuned!

    Until next, happy stamping.

    Stampy Collecting Stamps Logo



    Janice | Proud Member of Scotiana’s team.

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