My First Stamp Album

My First Stamp Album
I found My First Stamp Album at a flea market this weekend for $2. It’s a lovely hardcover, published in 1954 by Minkus. I love the parade of clean-cut white children, marching through the streets with their giant stamp signs.
My First Stamp Album

A year later the Civil Rights movement would begin, and those signs would change:

The book was part of set called My First Stamp Outfit: The Ideal Outfit for the Beginning Stamp Collector. Along with the album, it also included a magnifying glass, hinges, flag and coat-of-arms stickers, and stamps. Everyone one would need to start collecting! Unfortunately, for the boy or girl who got this gift, stamp collecting didn’t really click. There’s a half-hearted attempt to place a few stamps, and they didn’t even put in all the flag stickers before they gave up.

In the back of the album there’s even a place to fill the Boy Scout Stamp Collecting Merit Badge:
Boy Scout Merit

Do they still have that? Or have they replaced it with an Gay Bashing merit badge yet?

Contrast My First Stamp Album with a contemporary version of the idea:

Here we see one of the reasons why there are so few new stamp collectors. For My First Stamp Album, they actually hired an artist to paint a cover that portrays stamp collecting as something that’s fun and interesting for kids. They really try to relate it to kid’s lives, tying stamp collecting into other things they might be into (dogs, Scouting, cute girls in pigtails…). The new version looks like someone just threw a bunch of random stamps onto a scanner, slapped some text on there and said “Good enough.” The only way one might suspect that this might be a fun thing to do is that it says FUN KIT on it. Seriously, who are you trying to sell to here? Who are you trying to attract?

I wonder what a modern version of My First Stamp Album might look like. My own first stamp album, given to my by my brother Jeff when I was 4, if I remember correctly, had a picture of a magic genie’s lamp, spewing a cloud of world stamps from the spout. It really captured what stamp collecting was for me back then. It was a kind of magic. Each stamp was a gateway to wonderful things and places I’d never known about: space ships, exotic animals, cathedrals, masks, distant landscapes and infinitely more. To be honest, it’s still that way to me!

It could be that way to a new generation as well, if someone tried.

2 comments to My First Stamp Album

  • Kathy Hanis

    Hi There, I found one yesterday at a Thrift Shop for 25 Cents. What do you think the stamps are worth and book? I think it is priceless and couldn’t find it on ebay.
    Thank you for your story.
    Kathy
    eplus@kc.rr.com

  • You definitely got a bargain! If you search on ebay for “My First Stamp Album” a number of hits will come up. I found several with “Buy it Now” prices ranging from $4 to $9. Not sure if any of those sell, though. The stamps and book probably aren’t going to be worth all that much, though. Philatelic Tidbits has a good explanation as to why this is. Personally, my main focus for collecting is the older stamps because although they’re not worth much, their artwork & graphic design is exquisite. Grab a magnifying glass and start going through that album and you’ll see such exquisite tradecraft. The early stamps were all hand-engraved. Every single line in them was purposefully put there by a master artist. There are few people alive today who could create such work. That’s the true value of an old stamp album!

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