Stamp collecting blog: Thematics and the 'open' approach

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07 August 2014
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imports_CCGB_gbconcordestamp_80230.jpg GB Concorde stamp
A 2014 talk on Concorde-related material was both fun and informative, writes Matt Hill in his latest blog on collecting stamps by theme, and it wasn’t just the stamps that kept the audience entertained ...

It was a pleasure to present three special lectures at Stampex 2014, including a talk on Concorde-related material, presented by Brian Asquith.

Before the talk Brian told me how he had been very pleasantly surprised by the award of a Gold medal for his display relating to Britain’s 1969 ‘First Flight of Concorde‘ stamp issue. Since the stamps are relatively modern  – they might be forty years old but in stamp terms this is recent – Brian had not expected to do so well. His talk on Concorde was also very well received, deservedly so, and I was impressed by Brian’s level of knowledge and obvious passion for the subject.

The comprehensive collection included many stamps – a collection of Cinderellas from the Anti-Concorde Project were particularly intriguing – stamp artwork, essays, and covers flown on board the famous aircraft, but the inclusion of non-philatelic material also brought the subject to life.

Brian showed us menus from special flights, magazine and newspaper clippings, official flight programmes, and photographs of members of the Concorde crew, many of whom Brian had befriended over his years of collecting. Another Concorde specialist at the talk later explained that, in addition to the stamps, he collects relevant documents from air traffic control and even parts of the aircraft itself!

Perhaps Concorde lends itself to this ‘open’ approach, since the fascinating subject has so many stories to tell, but there are bound to be many non-philatelic items to add to your themed collection, if you so wish.

I have mentioned the growing interest in the ‘open class’ of competitive philately before, but it’s certainly worth mentioning again. In short, the open class allows non-philatelic material too, in order to tell the story. Of course, your collection can include as much non-philatelic material as you wish, whether or not you choose to display it, but it’s nice to know that the philatelic authorities also support this approach.

The entertaining talk also reminded me of the depth and scope of our hobby, which can tell so many wonderful stories. Sadly, the supersonic airliner is now just another closed chapter in the history of flight, but thanks to passionate collectors such as Brian, Concorde’s incredible story lives on.

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