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The study of mail
The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries.
It's something of a hot specialty in stamp collecting these days.
"Postal history is the study of the operation of the post office, how mail is moved.
It means collecting covers — pieces of mail — showing the evidence of how the post
office handles and processes and delivers mail."
David Straight is co-chair of the annual Postal History Symposium. He says once,
stamp collecting was pretty much restricted to, well, collecting stamps. In postal
history, the ENTIRE piece of mail is collected.
"I think that postal history moves beyond merely the collecting of covers, but to
the understanding of covers, to the learning to read the markings, to understand what
the stamps, the rates and the markings tell about the way in which that piece of mail
was handled by the post office."
Straight says there are different specialties within postal history.
"Some people would want the postal history of a particular country, city, some
geographic region. Some people might want postal history of a certain kind of mail
service, maybe trans-Atlantic, a lot of people collect air mail."
Or special delivery, postage due, advertising mail, and so on. And postal history
doesn't have to be expensive.
"It's like anything else. If you're going to collect the very old, the classic stuff,
yes, it's going to cost you a few dollars more, but there's a lot of contemporary
postal history that can be fished out of the wastebaskets."
I'm Lloyd de Vries of The Virtual Stamp Club. For more on stamps and stamp collecting,
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