Can't Buy Me Stamps
The collection was purchased from a subsidiary of Stanley Gibbons, for a net price, not at an auction, NPM spokeswoman Allison Gallaway tells The Virtual Stamp Club.
"Smithsonian policy is that the institution does not release value or prices paid for objects," she said. However, Linn's Stamp News reported in May that Gibbons was seeking pound;29,950 or about US$53,000 for the album.
The National Postal Museum plans to begin displaying the album in October 2005 to coincide with the 65th anniversary of Lennon's birth and National Stamp Collecting Month.
"We're tremendously excited at the prospect of exhibiting John Lennon's boyhood stamp album," curator of philately Wilson Hulme said. "I hope it will inspire new collectors."
"It's so exciting," said Gallaway, who calls herself a big Beatles fan and has seen the album. "I know there are a lot of people out there who think stamp collecting isn't a really cool hobby, and the truth is, can you get any cooler than John Lennon?"
Gallaway says the Smithsonian believes Lennon did have an interest in collecting himself, because after he was given this album, he continued to add to the collection. He had a particular interest in New Zealand stamps, because his Aunt Mimi had relatives there from whom she received mail.
"We think he probably drew the facial hair, but we don't want to say that if it's not the case, so we're trying to confirm if anyone has any recollection," she said.
The National Postal Museum is devoted to presenting the colorful and engaging history of the nation's mail service and showcasing the largest and most comprehensive collection of stamps and philatelic material in the world. It is located at 2 Massachusetts Ave. N.E., in the Old City Post Office Building across from Union Station. The museum is open daily, except Dec. 25, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, visit the museum's Web site at www.postal.si.edu.