Friday, October 5, 2012

Its been awhile.......

Time is a funny thing. Sometimes we have more than we know what to do with other times we cannot fit everything into the time permitted.

Stamps find a way to fill the time and take over when the hobby gets really exciting. In the case of this blog the forum and various collections (old and new) have taken more time than I ever anticipated.

Our community has grown quite a bit over the last few months. Of course that means we have had some new challenges as well. New members bringing wonderful conversations and showing a lot of stamps from their various collections. There is always the occasional thread that gets a bit side tracked.

As a growing community we are learning together how to improve all the time and so far we have been quite successful in this adventure.

As always we encourage you to stop by and read the threads on and if the mood takes you register (or sign in) and join the conversations. New voices are always welcome and we look forward to hearing from you.

Over the next few weeks we are going to make some more detailed updates to the blog and we hope you will enjoy them..

As Always -



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Making Stamps Interactive.

At this point most folks know that the members and I at Stamp Bears are HUGE fans of keeping kids engaged, not only in the hobby but in the real world in general (I am not a video game fan). But how does one get (and keep) a child involved? We have written about topical collections, and even told a story through stamps. But sometime you need something a little more..

This can be a challenge, but, when the child already has creativity as a strength all you need to do is play on it. Now I don't like to brag (OK so maybe a little when it comes to my kids and grandchild) but my 7 year old is a wizard at creating games.

One day last week my wife and I were talking about one of the quize games we run on and how a few of our great members were simply winning as if there was no challenge at all. When suddenly from the back seat of the car came my child's voice "Hey, Hey why not mix the letters up in the name of the stamp and then mess with the picture and have them find it?"... I sat in silence for a moment digesting her words and thinking it out. With a flurry of excitement everyone started talking at once, my wife, my teenager, my 7 year old, and I all at once tossing ideas out to hone the plan. In the end no real changes needed to take place at all...

And so Little Monkey Bears Game was born... This thread has captivated our membership and we are considering making this a regular feature on the site. Visit here to see what the game looks like in action.

As Always,


Thursday, June 28, 2012

IGATI - I'll Get Around To IT...

One of our valued members RossTO, wrote this wonderful thread in order to provoke the community into thinking about how they approach all those wonderful stamps that don't get mediate attention.

"IGATI. The 'I'll get around to it' pile of stuff we have in our collections. We all have it, usually buried in a corner of our stamp room, desk, where ever we work on our collections. I and the other half have a few of these all over the apartment (we don't have a room yet, but it is a requirement for when we buy the house). Sometimes it is just a cigar box of stuff, other times it is a garbage bag or two (or 10) of the stuff. For John and I it is a mix of all of that. Where does it all come from... well it seems the biggest culprit is kiloware. We have almost all bought it, and we all usually end up with a quantity of stuff we just don't want to deal with right away. Then it just seem to grow like lint balls under the furniture. 

What do you do with all of those stamps. Leaving them in bags is definitely not a good idea as over time they can get moisture into them. As for the cigar boxes, they are a little more safe but still over time they are not the best choice for storage. So, why don't you go grab a box/bag of this stuff an haul it over to your workspace. 

Usually you have this all off paper at this time. So if some of your IGATI is on paper, we know what you will be doing for the balance of this article Wink

Stamp General's Warning: never deal with all your IGATI at the same time. This can lead to eyestrain, back and neck pains, a painful derriere, over caffination, and in extreme cases a overwhelming urge to throw things or find the closest source of matches".....
 This article continues in great details and humor to share one of many methods on how to deal with this accumulation HERE. We invite you to read the rest of the article and share your thoughts on this subject that affects all stamp collectors.

As Always,
Happy Stamping!!


Over Run Countries 1944

The Overrun Countries series (known to collectors as the Flag set), was produced as a tribute to the thirteen nations that had been occupied by the Axis Powers. The thirteen stamps present full color images of the national flags of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Norway, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Greece, Yugoslavia, Albania, Austria, Denmark, and Korea, with the names of the respective countries written beneath. 

To the left of each flag appears the image of the phoenix, which symbolizes the renewal of life, and to its right appears a kneeling female figure with arms raised, breaking the shackles of servitude. The stamps with flags of European countries were released at intervals from June to December 1943, while the Korea flag stamp was released in November 1944.

Here is a nice scan of the set

Our members have shown that simple collecting the set alone is not enough!! In our thread Over Run Countries Set members explore Mint, Used, Blocks, Covers, and more. While statistics suggest that this set was not as popular at the time of issue as the "Win the War" stamps, over time these have taken a significant roll in the collecting world. 

Stop by and read more on these and many other topics at Stamp Bears. Jump right on in to the conversations and share your experiences with our great community, we all look forward to hearing from you. 

And as Always, 
Happy Stamping!!!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A philatelic tool box?

Every hobby has the proverbial "tool box".. What is inside varies greatly based on the hobby. For a quick reference one would not collect stamps with a welding torch however a person who collects car parts may use such a tool.

Stamp collecting is no different! every collector has a philatelic tool box even if it is not a formal one. Such a tool box may contain a pair of tongs, a perforation gauge, and a magnifying glass. Others will have more. MUCH more!!

On April 27 2012 Bengalpaws asked the Stamp Bears community what was in there philatelic tool box. and the responses have been wonderful! So many variations, as well how one defines the term in general!

Mine? Its a work in progress but to date i have the following:

2 - pairs of tongs
1 - 20x magnifying glass
1 - perforation gauge
and stock pages near by to put items of interest in to until they find there way to albums, swap piles, or member gifts/prizes...

Well? What's in your?  Comment here or better yet stop in Stamp Bears and share with the whole community!! We hope to see you there.

As always,
Happy Stamping!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Stamp Collector Resources...

As a fairly new collector I obviously need a lot of materials to learn from. Books, catalogs, handbooks, and of course websites are all options. Now I have stated before (and will many times in the future) I am not one to spend a ton of cash on this hobby. I am not an investment collector and many of the people I interact with are not either. Rather they collect for the pure joy of the hobby.

There is a lot of joy to be found in this hobby to say the least. Art, History, Personal Stories, Political Change, and relaxation to name a very few of the many opportunities that stamp collecting can bring a person. Another is a sense of community when talking with other collectors and sharing information.

One issue I have however is that more often than not when we look for good information on the web it may have a number of issues.

 Let me list a few of them:

Free but incomplete
Free but the images are of poor quality
and my least favorite for internet and hard copy is really high cost!!

Now don't get me wrong there are some good resources out there, just not a lot, and the more specific the topic the hard it is to find quality guides.

So some of our great Members at Stamp Bears have started creating a number of great quality resources for free and readily available.

Philatelic Resources, Articles,& Stamp Collecting News Discussions is a great area on our forum that has not only a number of links to other sites with a ton of good information but we have a specific thread dedicated to the hard work that our members put into resources that are free for everyone to use.  Stamp Bears Member Made resources.. has such items as  The British KGV Downey Head Issue Hand Book.pdf and the German Album 1933 - 1945 complete.pdf listed in another post here on the blog. There are more and more free resources coming all the time!

Hobby Collectors are Not investment collectors but that does not mean that they crave knowledge any less than the investment collector. Both types of collector add to the excitement and information that this remarkable hobby has to offer the world. Stop by and share or learn with us at Stamp Bears.

As Always,


Monday, June 11, 2012

Collectors with out a club.....

It is surprising how many members have told me that they don't have access to a Stamp Club in their area. Granted it took me a year to find one and they stopped operating for the season the day I found them!

But even before that I found that some form of guidance was needed. Sure books are helpful and the internet is a place of remarkable information. But how does one know where to look? More important when you cannot locate the answer to your question independently how do you figure out what direction to take?

There have been times during my own stamp collecting growth that I was unaware of WHAT I was looking for! Simply put I had not developed my vocabulary enough to pursue an effective search.

In this digital age we, as collectors have options! A lot of them for sure. But, as I am prone to do, I have to speak to Stamp Bears Forum. A recent article by member Skilo54 concerns stamps of Lundy & Herm Island Local Issues . this thread not only has beautiful scans of the stamps in question but opens the way for further conversation on this topic.

This is just one of THOUSANDS of examples of how Forums have added to this great hobby of ours.

Stop by and see if you can contribute or learn from one of our many threads.



Monday, June 4, 2012

Buying and Going through large stamp lots

In stamp collecting larger lots are often called Kiloware. These are large lots of random stamps that typically have high duplication, perhaps some damaged stamps, and the buyer had little to no idea what is in the mix.

Why would a collector who works so hard to have a neat and organized collection buy such a lot? Often it is the thrill of the hunt. One never knows what treasures may be lurking within. But from time to time a collector will make the investment to not only find things they want but also to have material for trading or sales.

Some of our great members have started telling us about there experiences with Kiloware in a wonderful thread titled Adventures in Kiloland. After being inspired by the wonderful stories and accounts passed on in this thread I made a purchase myself and started another thread talking about scoring big when you find a great deal. Now I may not have found a treasure yet but as you read about Stamp Scores you will be able to follow my journey and see what turns up.

As Always,


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cataloging your stamp Collection....

Normally I would just throw out a little bit form one of our many great threads at Stamp Bears and invite you in to read more. However a recent write up by our member Ross TO simply was too thorough to attempt this with.

Ross TO writes

[quote]Why catalogue your collection in the first place? Well there are a few reasons, first off, if you have a catalogue of what is in your possession you are less likely to mistakenly buy duplicates of a stamp, which is unless you specifically want to. Also your insurance company may want the list for your household insurance. Some collections out there require a rider on the home owner’s policy and to get such your insurer will need an inventory of what is there. Lastly in the event of your demise (hopefully that is a long long time away) you executor is saved the hassle of dealing with that side of your estate. 

So you got all those piles of stamps we talked about in my previous posting into your albums. Great, now you can show off them to fellow collectors and friends. Well, actually you are not near done yet. Remember that catalogue you got out to help sort out those stamps? Well it shows not only the stamp in there, but sometimes it show variants to that stamp as well as grades. Right now you have all one type of stamp in your albums as well as your stock binders (I am sticking with this so please exchange book for binder if you went that route). There are, as we are aware, both mint and used stamps. However there are grades to stamps that you may have noticed in your catalogue. They are as follows

NH – Never Hinged
H – Hinged 
LH – Lightly Hinged
EF – Extremely fine
VF – Very fine
F – Fine
VG – Very good
G – Good

So maybe you should sort them by grade. Oops, how in blazes are you supposed to do that. Well grades are a relative evaluation of the front and back of a stamp. There are whole articles that are written about it and as I am nowhere near an expert, I will leave that discussion to them. Suffice to say you have sorted your collection into those classes. In a nutshell the definitions are as follows

NH – this is for mint stamps only and is the preferred way collecting mint stamps. However most older issues are difficult to find in this condition and a premium of catalogue value will be added.
H – a hinge was attached to this stamp and may have remnants still remaining on the back of this mint copy
LH – this mint stamp was hinged in the past, however the hinge mark is minimal if not almost non-existent
EF – basically a perfect stamp. This stamp is centered and free of any marks or other imperfections.
VF – almost perfectly centered. This stamp should also be free or any marks or other imperfections
F – usually off centre with one or more edges of the image almost touching the edges of the perforations or cut for those old stamps there were not perforated. Will have a minor mark or imperfection.
VG – a stamp that is definitely off centre to the point of having the image cut into by the perfs. There will be noticeable marks or imperfections 
G – definitely only a stamp you will keep for a filler. These stamps are damaged and are only used to fill in a place in your collection till you can find a better copy in better condition.

Next, come the real fun part of the hobby, the part where you get to used those cool (okay I can be a bit sarcastic occasionally), tools you got. First off there is that odonotmeter (okay I just HAD to use that term once, aka perf gauge). The edges of the stamp have perforations and as such they can be counted. The gauge helps here as it is a measurement of the number of perfs over a 2cm length. The reason we check perf on some stamps is that there are sometimes different variants of a stamp released that are perforated differently than others in the same series. When you have large number of stamps to go through this can be somewhat time consuming, fortunately only a few stamps have differing perforations and your catalogue will tell you which ones do. So you don’t have to check every stamp in your collection.

Next comes that UV light you grabbed. You may have already used it and seen some highlighted areas on your stamps. Stamps are coated with phosphorescence to help the sorting/cancellation machines work their way through the millions of letters a day the post office deals with. However, sometimes there are errors with all those phosphor bands (called tags). Tagging errors are one of the reason you have that lovely little black light. Others are differing paper types. Some stamps can come on multiple different papers as well as tags. One series that was released in Canada has 4 differing papers and 4 or 5 tagging types as well as 2 or 3 perf variants. You will be able to see most of this with that UV light and perf gauge. 

Another tool that you may have in your philatelic toolbox is a watermark detector. This tool is used to check for watermarks on the backs of some stamps. Fortunately that catalogue you have will tell you if the stamps you have are watermarked or not. Lastly comes the magnifying glass or loupe that you purchased. I am not going to go into errors on stamps which are one of the main reasons you have this. Suffice to say over time you will need this more and more as you investigate your stamps for errors or printing differences. Printing differences sometimes require you to check out the stamp with your magnifying glass and there are usually notations in your reference materials that will tell you what to look for. 

Having done all this, what now? Well this is where cataloguing your collection comes into play. You can use software that is designed specifically for cataloguing collections. There are a few out there and I will not recommend one over the other. If you are an ambitious person you can write a database program that will help you store information on your collection or you can use a spreadsheet program. I personally use a software package that includes not only information on my stamp, but when and from who I purchased it from and images of the stamp in question. Warning, stamp inventory software can be pricy. If you get a copy of a software package that includes the images of the stamps you will have a VERY large program. One that I sampled included over 100,000 images and was almost 2gb in size. Took quite a while to download. I find the images useful LOL in another package that I finally bought. 

Back to those stock binders. So you now have them all sorted in a logical order by catalogue number (including variants) and quality. Now you are getting somewhere. One last thing I do is create tags in an excel spreadsheet that includes all the pertinent information about that particular stamp. Information that is printed on the tag is as follows

Catalogue Number (eventually both Scott and Stanley Gibbons)
Die lot or other information

This gives me enough information per section of my stock books to be able to accurately sort out everything so that I have a complete idea of what belongs where. I will include some scans of the pages in question so that you can have an idea of what the final product will look like. Mind you, you will have to give me some time here as I am still going through everything to label my collection correctly.

So, now you have your collection organized and catalogued... go on out and buy some more stamps Wink[/quote]

Now this conversation may develop further and then again it may not. But either way our Beginners Corner is growing with more great information every week, and there is always room for questions!! 

Stop by and talk about your experience with the great members at Stamp Bears. 

As Always Happy Stamping!! 


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Stamp Inspired Learning..

Now most collectors would agree that stamp collecting is a great tool for learning a number of topics. Geography, Politics, General History, and Social Movements all come to mind immediately when this conversation comes up. But what about more specific topics? Instead of taking a set of Stamps or an over all theme let us look at one stamp in particular.

One of our members started a thread What Can You Learn From One Stamp? - Blues Master Robert Johnson that demonstrates the amazing amount of information that can be uncovered once a particular stamp is investigated further.

In another thread our members have been learning about the Pony Express. As most collectors fro the US can tell you if you have anything to do with US postage this topic is the basis for mail delivery here.

Feel free to stop by and read more on these and many other topics at Stamp Bears.

And as always HAPPY STAMPING!!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Stamps, A Kids Tale

A few months ago my son went over to the bookcase, removed his starter stamp kit and went to the table. He began looking through the pages and getting a few stamps from the glassine envelope they were in. As I entered the room my jaw hit the floor and my heart fluttered a bit as he said “Hey Dad let's work on stamps.” I could not get my album and supplies fast enough.

You see, I have collected stamps off and on since I was a teenager. He has watched me ply my hobby numerous times and frequently I have encouraged and asked him to join in. But never with much success. I took him to the stamp shop, bought him stamps, taught him some about postal history and stamp making and ultimately bought him a starter kit that supplied a small album, stamps, hinges and a magnifier. We have dusted it off more than once. Unfortunately he just never really got motivated to collect. In some ways I blame myself because I may have tried to get him going on it a little young. The mint sheet of Yoda stamps with one single cut out (with scissors) is proof. Be that as it may, I always kept trying and hoped he would take a liking to it.

So you can imagine a father's joy when he, of his own free will, got his stamps out and was interested in working on them. So I dusted the starter kit off one last time and spent the first of numerous sessions collecting stamps with my son.

I have asked myself a few times why it seemed to take so long for him to jump in with me. Because my son wants to do just about everything else I do (except chores of course). From gaming to TV watching; movies, books, pretty much whatever. His Grandfather used to say he was like gum on my shoe. So it just baffled me why stamps would be different. Then it kind of dawned on me one day that just understanding the concept of mail and delivery, postage and stamp values can be things that children just don't hook up with at times. If it doesn't affect them or if they don't have a need for it, they have little attention for it. Sure he enjoyed being with me when I stamped. But actually doing it was something else. So what brought him to us was maturity and age. I had to let him decide he liked it. Not me. In his way he had to do it. I am so glad he did.

I am also glad that I tried as hard as I did because when he was ready he had the knowledge and tools at his fingertips to succeed. I didn't give up on him either. That I am thankful for. With this world of instant media, it is important for me and my children to have something that gets us out from behind a screen. If there is some frustration out there with kids who seem disinterested, I want to share some of the things I did to keep him on the outer ring of the hobby until he decided to come in.

  1. I invited him and always let him know he was welcome to join me – Just knowing that is important to kids. Keep the door open so they can walk through.
  2. Take them to the stamp store – The first couple of times I made it a “Hey let's go to the stamp store” event. But when he started turning a nose up to that I made it a “Hey since we are out, I need to go to the stamp store” event. That way I was not really forcing him to go and after some time he actually stops and looks at the merchandise. I know the day will come when he asks me to go and I can't wait.
  3. I have quite a few book marks to stamp resources on my computer. Off handed I have made sure he knows where they are and where the best ones go. As he has aged his computer usage has grown as well. Now he uses them regularly.
  4. Give them something to hold onto – In the beginning I gave my son a few stamps that I could careless what happens to them. Those floated around his room for a very long time. Sometimes on the floor, bed or toy box. But I knew he was messing and playing with them. When he got a little older a starter kit that you can get for under twenty bucks was in order. The rest of the story you know.

I love this hobby and I am sure the passion in many runs deeper than mine. It almost broke my heart that my son wasn't interested in it. But with a hefty amount of patience and understanding I have help him grow a real interest in stamps. There no guarantee that he will stay with it. But I think he will. I know all kids will not take up philately. But if there is a chance, this story shows that it can and will happen.

-submitted by Stamp Bears member (and upcoming author here),

thank you for reading and as always HAPPY STAMPING!!! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Story's through stamps...

Many collectors love to look up the story behind the stamps they so carefully collect. I am no exception to this general practice as, like most, I find the history behind the stamp intriguing. As with most collectors i also find myself exploring well beyond my starting point and traveling through the mist to another era. Wandering the halls of grand buildings and perhaps living in the midst of some of the worlds key moments. 

Ahhh, but what if i could be the creator of the time and place? Sure I have played with the idea of Cinderella stamp making (even tried a few), but i mean really tell a story with the stamps. What if there was no such limitations on the story as time, space, or even reality for that matter? 

OK before I continue i must state clearly here, I WILL NEVER GROW UP!!! I have a time and place to be the responsible adult and parent etc. but when it comes to stories weather I am reading them, playing them, watching them, or participating in writing them I WILL NEVER GROW UP! 

With this statement firmly in my mind I brought to the boards the suggestion that we attempt a Stamp Story. 

Bear wrote: 
"This idea is a bit odd but i think we may find some enjoyment and perhaps even learn a little more as we go along... 
simply put post an image of a stamp and start a bit of a story that appears to be related to this stamp. the next person to post will post another stamp and continue the story. and the next will post another and continue and so on until either we are unable to continue or folks lose interest LOL.. there is no real point to the story and each person who contributes can take the story to any where, any time, or any other turn they feel inspired to take. "

And so the adventure has begun. This story has only started but already a few members are adding there unique twists to the story. I am very interested to see how such a story will go since we have such a wide international community. Obviously each writer will bring with them their own preferences, experiences, and culture. so when we blend them what happens?

To read along as we develop Visit A Stamp Story if you want to participate in this or any of our great threads on Stamp Bears register and please join in the conversation.

As always,
Happy Stamping!!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Stamp Collecting by Topics

Often referred to as Topical collecting is just that select a subject and collect stamps on that topic. 

Bear writes - "When I started into the world of stamps I was actually a little against topical collecting to be 100% honest about it.. Now, however, after attempting to do the Ships on stamps collection (for fun mind you) I am a believer .. I had no idea how easy it was to gather materials and since you dont have to have a strict format its super flexible.... 

I now have enough of them that the temporary storage simply will not do for much longer, and I will need either stock pages or a stock book to accommodate them before long...

I can not stress enough how much I love this hobby and all of the directions it can take you .."

(read more HERE)

As is typical of a good conversation that particular thread has taken on a life all its own and will hopefully continue to do so. I would like to expand on the idea that a collector can (and in my opinion, should) have multiple collections going at once. 

As any one collection grows and you look for ways to display the collection you are almost guaranteed to look up the stamps. This is not for the faint of heart!!! This will sprout curiosity, and investigation.. Dare I suggest a greater understanding of our world?!?!?

Hmmm "an understanding of our world"... This seemingly simple statement brings to mind another thread that expands on the idea of Stamp Collecting & Social understanding and tolerance . Now I know that this thread is fairly new but the author instigates us to look at how we process the information gathered in our collections. 

Follow along on these two seemingly unrelated journeys and see where we go. Better still join in the conversations and see if you can spark our curiosity and imaginations with your experience. 

As always -

Happy Stamping!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Not all Beginners are Beginners

An interesting event happened on Stamp Bears the other day. One of our members opened up a thread in the Beginners Corner about Australia - starting a country collection from scratch. Normally one would consider this  the type of post from someone just starting out in stamp collecting. In reality, however, this member has an extensive history collecting US stamps only! 

Not only did this open my eyes to the fact that ANYONE can be a "beginner" but more importantly it helps me understand this hobby better. I know that statement seems a bit off, so let us explore this a little further. 

In any hobby, life venture, or career interest is perpetuated by the desire to gain more. In some cases more physical material, more money, and often most important - more knowledge. For a person to take a risk into a new area of collecting is a huge step, and for someone with a great deal of familiarity in one area this step really brings that person back to the starting point in collecting. 

In this great example the collector needs to learn not only about the country from a Philatelic view but also needs to understand the changes in currency, politics, and the social views of a nation not yet explored by the collector.

Now admittedly I am still considered by many (myself included) a beginner but this idea, that you can always be a beginner, is great in my eyes. Now I, as a beginner, can not only share my limited knowledge, but I can learn more by participating in the conversation as this member learns along the way. Who knows perhaps a question or topic will come up that I had not considered before and this would increase my knowledge by proxy.. 

Yet another reason I love being part of Stamp Bears, and participating in this wonderful adventure of stamp collecting!!!

Happy Stamping!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mail Art

What is Mail Art? This seemingly simple question takes on a life of its own in the right circles. Some would say simply that labels, artistamps (also knows as Cinderella's), and stickers are the only forms of Mail Art. Others would argue that a specially designed cover (envelope for the uninitiated) would be the "true" form of Mail Art, and yet others still would classify Mail Art as any object, postcard, hand craft, or unusual object you can get the postal service to put through is Mail Art (I have seen very well decorated paper plates used!!)..

These are all correct. Yep, I said it! I refuse to take a stand on this one. These are all examples of some of the creativity that can be send via the postal service around the world as Mail Art. From time to time I will set up a great swap with some one or send a gift out and have been know to use a custom design on my covers and even from time to time used a Cinderella that either I have designed, or has been designed for Stamp Bears. I would even go one step further and classify a great cover with a unique set of stamps to be Mail Art. I try to select a theme and make all the stamps work together. At times I have even had the image go along with the stamps to tie the whole package into one great piece of Mail Art.

I would love to have others add to these thoughts on Stamp Bears.

Hope to see you there!!

Happy Stamping!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Beginners Corner at Stamp Bears

So why do we have a beginners corner at Stamp Bears?  I try to take my personal experience as a new collector in the digital age and generate what I find useful in the hopes that others will too. There are many resources out there for collectors, search engines to help you find millions of sites with similar topics and great information. HOWEVER how many sites are inclusive with various types of information that will not only help the investment collector but the really new guy as well? Do not miss understand my point there are a lot of sites that cater to one or the other but very few (some, just not a lot) that cater to both. Even fewer are the sites that cater to the "collector" (investor new or old) and the "hobbyist" ( collecting for collecting sake and fun not as hung up on values - new or old).

Stamp Bears was created with all of this in mind. Our first members (aside from my wife and myself that is) are all like minded people who have made HUGE contributions to our site and the hobby in general in my opinion.
I would like to take a moment here and thank all of these dedicated members that started with us just about a year ago. Even if some have not been able to contribute lately for any number of reasons, our community thanks you greatly for your posts, effort, time, and energy. Saying "thank you" is not quite strong enough to convey our gratitude.

I would do our readers and members a disservice my attempting to generate a list here by join date, post count, or some other criteria that could never reflect the true contributions made. I would like to highlight a few of the many who helped get us going.. In no particular order;


and many many more to include our newest members that keep making this a great site..

All of your contributions are appreciated even if we forget o mention it from time to time.

In recent months we have been working really hard to bring in more collectors from both sides of the collecting spectrum and everywhere in between. Not to make small or take away from all of the contributions of our great members, but rather to add to them and continue growth.

When I get asked where to go by a person who is interested in starting out in the world of stamp collecting. Naturally I directed him to the stamp collecting beginners corner at Stamp Bears. We have topics covering everything from Essential Tools to Cancellations.. But we are always looking to add to this area.

We do hope that this area not only meets the needs of the new collector and hobbyist but will continue to grow and meet the needs of every collector.
Do you have a question not answered? do you have information you wish to share? Stop in and register i am sure our great community will be eager to hear from you..

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Stamps of WWII Germany Collection

A quote from Bear Sat 13 Aug 2011
"i have started to re-entertain the idea of doing a WWII era collection.. now i have the over run countries set from the US and i think this is a good place to start from.. as i have 2 sets of these i was considering the following...

one binder with stock pages each section would be dedicated to Germany, each of the over run countries, and all of the Allies with stamps from that era .. now the complication (aside from acquisition LOL) there are also some stamps that have been issued shortly after that pay tribute.. i struggle with if these should be included or not..

what are your thoughts? i know its my decision in the end but i like to bounce things off people..."

From this Thread on WWII stamps over the course of the next few months (and even up until now) I have been working on this collection and the album from time to time. Keep in mind that this collection is not a promotional tool but rather a historical reminder of a darker time in history.

With the guidance of members I became inspired to create my own album pages here is an example of one of them -

After the creation of the basic album I posted it in PDF format on my wife's site for free download. Here is the link to that page stampsfrommoonstra . we also added a page (in the right column) for you to access free stamp album pages here!!

I find that as time passes and more information is learned I will need to add more pages and also expand into the study of postmarks from this era.

My hope is that our community, old members and new, can breath some new life into this discussion. If you would like to add your comments and suggestions to the thread feel free to join us at Stamp Bears to do so.

Thanks for reading and Happy Stamping!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

United States Album Pages

Yesterday I began to turn my thoughts back to my US stamp collection. Now my personal collection is set up to start in or around 1900 and go until 1960. In my opinion these are some of the most beautiful stamps that are affordable to the average hobby collector (recall I am a hobby collector not an investment collector).  Over the last year I have worked toward collecting this era and have a stock book full of material laid out in order by date of issue.
Looking back at some of our older thread to gain idea on album pages i ran across a thread titled On line album pages and the very first link we put up was from a member named philatelius who runs a great site with a TON of free album pages at philosateleia. No this man (Kevin Blackston) has an incredible site over all and the pages he generates are simply stunning. If you are a collector of US stamps this is a must visit site not just for the pages (send the man a donation for all his hard work) but for the wealth of information that Kevin has to share with the world.
After obtaining the desired pages for my collection, I laid out a plan with my wife and kids (oh yeah, they collect also and love to help big Bear work on his stuff from time to time). My wife put the pages back in the order they should be in (sooner or later I will figure out how to set up my printer!!) and my oldest girl at home found the perfect binder, while the little one decided on how to work on making the mounts (we make our own and will post a detailed how-to soon).
Now i just need to wait for the page protectors to get stocked (must be acid free archival only!) and we will begin construction of the actual album.. I am so excited.

Interesting thought - I wonder what peoples favorite set of stamps are? Perhaps a topic for a new thread at Stamp Bears?

Mine? You want to know what my favorite set of stamps is? Oh that is easy mine is the "Gingerbread" set of 1901-1907. They are listed as Scott numbers 300-319 (only 300-311 shown)

Scott # 300
Scott # 301
Scott # 302
Scott # 303
Scott # 304
Scott # 305
Scott # 306
Scott # 307
Scott # 308
Scott # 309
Scott # 310
Scott # 311

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ahhh time just keeps on moving!! In this age of digital out reach even a hobby which appears to be so anti - tech needs to keep up. With this in mind we continue to develop and promote from new avenues... We recently updated our Facebook page, updated our Twitter, started this blog and this week we are looking to update our video library!!
Personally I find it amazing that there are so many tools out there to not only help spread the word of any topic one can think of, but also to learn from and gather information. I guess in order to appreciate this statement one should take into account who I am... Granted I am still young (37), but i do recall that no one ever thought a cell phone could be smaller than a brick or that computers were for anyone other than the extremely wealthy (of which I have never been nor do i ever intend to be). I found stamp collecting on a whim actually a little over a year ago and have steam rolled right on in. Please allow me to elaborate....
I have had many hobbies and passions over the years (tattooing, fishing, fish keeping, playing electric bass guitar, and poker to name a few) but I find that in order to keep my mind occupied and be able to afford the hobby I need something inexpensive and fun. So thinking back to my youth I recalled someone having sent me some mint stamps and telling me not to use them.. Hmmm, perhaps they were on to something and considering my love of history i would look into the idea of stamp collecting further.
After a search I found a stamp collecting forum (having been a member of forums before I was familiar with the idea) and joined right up. Unfortunately the experience was not the most comfortable and the tone was a bit .... shall we just say that one day you are family the next an out cast if you shared a different view... Not my kind of place to say the least. so me being me I joined 4 more and decided to start my own... Oh i should mention that at this point i had only been collecting for 1-2 months.. Yeah I am that guy.
Now almost a full year later my Family and I continue to grow as collectors and true hobbyists. That's right not the investment type of collector at all. We have met with some of the greatest people in the hobby form the casual collector to the die hard investment type and I have to say we love them all. Everyone we encounter is eager to share their knowledge and offer tips while respecting other peoples points of view on the subject. I find peace in the idea that there are still real people out there who can talk about a subject and not become defensive when speaking from varying sides.

Stranger still is how this wonderful hobby has brought some common ground to my family and opened communication in our household even more.

Thanks for reading and happy stamping,

Friday, March 30, 2012

A new era begins for Stamp Bears

This blog will be about a wonderful site called Stamp Bears... We are a stamp collecting community online that talks about all aspects of stamp collecting (and before you ask - NO not only bear stamps!!). We welcome all level of collector form the new person just starting out (young old does not really matter) to the investment collector who really wants to share all the information they have gained over the years.

From time to time we may post about a particularly interesting thread on the discussion forum, or about a particular stamp, country, or collection.... We may even just ramble on about how exciting a members sales are on a bidding site.. who knows at this point?

We welcome feed back and encourage collectors or other interested parties to join us at Stamp Bears.. Well its official Stamp Bears is on most Major social networks!!!

Happy Stamping -