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The International Society of
World Wide Stamp Collectors

Why Collect Worldwide Stamps?

by Tom Fortunato,
International Society of Worldwide Stamp Collectors Past President

The following are excerpts from an article in the May, 1995 issue of The Baltimore Philatelist.

How many times have you heard that collecting the world simply isn't done anymore? Many people believe that this is the age of specialization. While I doubt that there is a single collector out there who does not specialize in some facet of our hobby, sweeping aside the general collector as an "endangered species" is wrong as well. Just because we worldwide collectors haven't been vocal about our interests doesn't mean that we don't exist!

This typical scenario may describe you. How many of you started off collecting as a youngster?

After a while, you may have become bored filling up all the spaces in your beginner's album with common stamps of your country, needing another challenge. Perhaps a postcard from a vacationing relative with an unusual foreign stamp on it started you on the road to a worldwide collection. If you were very lucky, a relative helped you along or there was a neighbor or area school club keeping the fire alive. Growing up often meant leaving your collection aside for other pursuits. How often has the fire been rekindled after rediscovering that long forgotten dust-filled album years or decades later?

A generalist has many advantages over those who specialize. Worldwide collecting provides a rock-solid foundation for what used to be called social studies. It teaches foreign language, culture, geography and history, broadening one's perspective from "me" to "we" in a truly global sense. From a philatelic angle, it provides the very stepping stone to specialize. After all, how many collectors know what they want to collect from the get-go?

After years of neglect and ridicule, worldwide collecting is finally gaining the respect it deserves. Supply companies and dealers are recognizing the potential we offer. Scott's has begun issuing its Classics Catalogue, catering to those who collect the first 100 years of worldwide issues. Two new album makers have just published works for the classic and modern issue collector alike. Dealers love worldwide collectors like us, as we always have something to buy and unlike specialists, can stay within a budget. No one is forcing us to buy all those expensive stamps. We buy what we like and leave empty spaces whenever we have to without feeling guilty about it.

Finally, think of all stamp collectors as attendees to a great sit down dinner. We all have a seat at the table, but the specialists can never seem to get past the first course. Worldwiders have a chance to sample a little of everything from soup to nuts, and can always go back for seconds without getting full!

Take a few minutes and check out the ISWSC, its services and programs. I'm sure you will be convinced that joining us is a bargain, and will allow you to enjoy collecting even more!