Stamp collecting renaissance after lockdown sees Yorkshire auction house's seal of approval

It Is a hobby that has delighted generations for over a century.

Trevor Chinery, the head of stamps and postcards at the Ripon-based auction house, Elstob and Elstob, inspects a collection.

And stamp collecting, which has long suffered something of a reputation as a staid past-time, has seen a renaissance over the past 18 months.

For many people, the enforced shutdown of society last year led them back to seeking pleasure in the smaller things in life.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

And stamp collecting – or philately, to give it its formal name – has seen a particular resurgence among the young, a North Yorkshire based expert has said.

Trevor Chinery, the head of stamps and postcards at the Ripon-based auction house, Elstob and Elstob, said: “People have inherited various collections and they don’t know what to do with them.

“Gone are the days when stamp collecting was a byword for boring.

“Philately is not only the world’s most popular collectible but it is also fast gaining followers among the younger generations who can easily share their passion via social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter.

“There are also many emerging markets like China where there are millions of stamp collectors investing time and money in the hobby.

Stamp collecting became even more popular during lockdown, which provided people with the perfect opportunity to start a collection, and both stamps and postcards make a great choice of something to collect.”

He explained that the profile of the average collector has changed dramatically as more and more people look to the hobby as a peaceful past-time.

He added: “It also fits in with our notions of nostalgia and escapism and provides a physical link with the past.

“Each stamp or postcard tells a unique story of where it has been and who has read it, which is what makes it so fascinating.

“For many people, the worlds of stamps and postcards offer a means of distraction and possibly even a means of escape.

“They are miniature gateways to different worlds."

The auction house has now launched a drive for people to have their collections valued ahead of its first auction of stamps and postcards in December.

Stamps already valued by Mr Chinery include a rare 1861-62 Washington 25c brown-lilac, SG.66a mounted mint, which may fetch up to £3,250 at auction.

He said he is particularly fond of stamps which have errors, as their rarity makes them more desirable to collectors, adding: “I know it sounds a bit funny, but if it’s got a problem with it, it’s worth more money than a stamp that hasn’t.”

The auction comes as the contribution of one Yorkshire stamp collection group receives national recognition for its work in furthering philately in Leeds, as well as for its perseverance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Richard Smith, the secretary of the Leeds Philatelic Society, will accept the award from the ABPS Great Britain Philatelic Congress on Saturday evening.

He said he has also noticed a rise in interest in stamp collection over the past 18 months.

He added: “Our society get a few phone calls each month from people who have inherited or discovered a stamp collection.

“Over the pandemic that number increased, because people were having clear-outs and they found their old hobby.

“When we come out of the pandemic, we will end up with more members than we had, and we’ve had people attending our meetings from all over Britain and some international members too.”