Appreciation of Printing: Stamps, an Inherited Love
Although Funk's collecting tailed off during his college years, he kept the rare treasures, which included full, mint sheets of stamps from now-defunct countries such as White Russia. His collection includes full sheets of Christmas stamps. He also enjoys collecting the "America the Beautiful" state quarters gift sets, which also include state stamps.
Funk enjoys the historical value offered by stamps and likes that they also commemorate the beauty of nature, which has long been reflected by print. And, as someone who has spend many years in the printing industry, Funk appreciates the care necessary to preserve stamps such as the White Russian issues for posterity.
"It's the interactive nature of taking care of something that is 99 percent water," he says. "It's just paper fiber and ink, and it can be damaged easily, destroyed by heat and humidity."
In the Beginning...
The first "official" government-authorized adhesive stamp is largely credited to the United Kingdom's release of the Penny Black in May of 1840 (some official and unofficial attempts had been made for nearly 200 years prior). The Penny Black is a profile image of Queen Victoria that was produced on a Perkins D cylinder press. A staggering 68.8 million of these stamps were churned out, and many of them have survived through the years (one can acquire a decent copy for just a few hundred dollars).
Why is the postage stamp so amazing? Given its utilitarian roots, the stamp is a veritable painter's canvas, sometimes smaller than 1x1˝, yet can evoke emotions and stir the imagination. And, while the Internet has proven to be a treasure trove of information and an instant source for research, printed stamps have provided young collectors with bare-bones info on obscure/unheralded people, places and events, along with the most noteworthy topics in the history of mankind.