The Complete Guide To Stamp Collecting
When a tribal chief decided to send a message to another chief he called upon the strongest and swiftest male in his domain to deliver his words. The tribesman so honored accepted his high calling with all due respect. He was not only being singled out for his personal prowess but also he was given a position of great trust. Only he and the person to whom he would deliver the message would know the intentions of the chief. He would be in great danger of being captured and tortured to reveal his message. He would risk being attacked by wild animals. And to avoid these dangers he could carry only the lightest weapons for, above all, he must run swiftly.
The shortest route regardless of danger or hardship was the course he must follow. His, in truth, was "a message to Garcia" and upon his ability to carry out his assignment his very life was at stake. He might be killed by the very person to whom he delivered his message, or he might be killed upon his return by his own commander as a "security" measure. To be courageous, trustworthy and swift were the attributes required of a runner.
And there lie the roots that have nurtured to full flower our modern postal systems. There is the origin of the demand "the mails must go through," a command no longer given only by royal edict. Instead, it can now be given anonymously by the lowliest citizen. Still it remains a command that calls forth the greatest effort, the greatest sacrifice, on the part of the couriers. So deeply lie these roots that even you and I may call into instant operation a vast and costly service composed of millions of persons every one of whom will, if need be, risk, his life to deliver our message.
Stamp collecting is concerned with the medium by which we command these modern couriers to their tasks — the postage stamp — and with the history of the mails as may be revealed upon the stamps and the envelopes to which they are attached. Stamp collecting — Philately — is a Hobby. It is one of the great cultural pursuits of our nation and of several other nations, notably England, France, Germany, and Switzerland, of importance in the order named. It is of lesser importance but nevertheless with substantial numbers of followers in the Benelux nations, Italy, Spain and generally throughout Europe.
In Asia, China and Japan have long been important centers of Stamp collecting. The Straits Settlements, Thailand, Indonesia, India, all have important philatelic centers and in such remote places as Afghanistan and Ethiopia one will find stamp dealers. Many nations officially take cognizance of the hobby and newly born nations have embraced the hobby as an important means of developing the "person to person" efforts to have all peoples of the world understand and live at peace with each other.