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Meet a Top Junior Collector

She started collecting stamps when she was 6 or 7 years old, and a decade later, the hobby gave her a free trip to the U.S.

"I didn't believe it," 17-year-old Sofia Karlsson told the Virtual Stamp Club at the Nordia/Aripex/AmeriStamp combined stamp show in Tucson. "It was amazing."

"I think she'll be a long-time stamp collector," said Nordia 2001 president Gordon C. Morison. Nordia and the Scandinavian Collectors Club sponsored the trip for Sofia, a top youth exhibitor in her native Sweden.

"I collect fairy tales and toys," she said.

In the Nordia youth competition, she won a Large Vermeil for "From the Bookshelves of My Childhood" and a Vermeil for "Children's World -- Toys and Games."

"Sofia won the youth award last year in Sweden, at a summer Nordia-type exhibition," said Morison, and that's what prompted the invitation.

She traveled to the U.S. via Chicago and Seattle with a Swedish couple, and stayed in Tucson with a Swedish-speaking couple and their 15-year-old daughter.

"She's been all around the floor here looking at the various stamp dealers, and buying a few items for her collection," said Morison. In fact, that's where VSC interviewed her.

However, she and her 15-year-old friend could also be found at the Old Tucson Studios dinner event and the Arizona Philatelic Rangers banquet.

"(Stamp collecting is) fun and you learn a lot of things, and I really like it," she said. "You can do a lot of fun things with the stamps."

Morison said it's likely that Sofia will stop collecting soon as she goes to college and starts a career, but he doesn't think philately has heard the last of Sofia Karlsson.

"What often happens to kids who start at that age, they continue after they get out of college," he told VSC "I think you'll see her back, and she'll probably be an international exhibitor on the advanced level."

"I would like to" work in stamps after school, Sofia said, "but I don't know if I will do that."

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