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If somebody calls you a philatelist, it doesn’t imply you’ve carried out something illegal or are a medical practitioner. A philatelist is one who critically collects postage stamps. It’s a very obsessive interest, with many small rabbit holes to go down—for example, accumulating on plate blocks or sheets of stamps, first-day covers (envelopes mailed on the date of situation with a cancellation as proof). There are those that solely gather mint or virgin stamps. Some home them in albums. Others have extra elaborate set-ups.

Philately is taken very critically by the USA Postal Service. For many years the establishment has impaneled consultants from many fields—well-known and unknown—to pick out the themes and themes worthy of commemoration on a stamp.

A long time in the past, Bradbury Thompson, who served a long term as design marketing consultant to USPS and proudly designed just a few of his personal stamps, nominated me, and I served for a short interval on the committee. It was a captivating and demanding position that required a nostril for what would promote, who and what’s deserving, passing judgement on artist and designer choices and extra.

Titled the Citizen’s Committee, the physique of consultants determines what the USPS points utilizing many standards. Some argue that that is the golden age of postage design since we’re now not restricted by printing applied sciences—something from embossing to shape-shifting is feasible. Others look again wistfully to when stamps have been much less elaborate, printed in a restricted variety of colours and really particular (they nonetheless are particular—however in another way).

David Cobb Craig has simply printed First Class: America’s Marvelous Midcentury Stamps (Schiffer Publishing), that includes a lot of these stamps from the Fifties and ’60s and ’70s, when postage was a fraction of the associated fee it’s right this moment. And the designs have been simply as often summary as literal. Overlook the self-adhesive, too—these stamps have been finger-licking good.

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