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Survey reports uptick in stamp collecting interest

According to dealers, London's Fall Stampex witnessed an increase in attendees and sales: all indicators that stamp collecting popularity is on the rise.

LONDON – A marked surge in footfall at Stampex International exhibition, held in September and sponsored by Stanley Gibbons, has led to much excitement surrounding the hobby of stamp collecting. A record number of attendees reported dealers, alongside an increase in sales and consumer spending. With the hobby boasting famous enthusiasts including Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Stuart Weitzman and HM Queen Elizabeth II, there are many reasons stamp collecting is a talking point in key circles; particularly among gentlemen over 50 years old, who lead busy working lives and are looking to secure a hobby that will help them manage stress and anxiety.

The certified Penny Mulready

The certified Penny Mulready, with Bright Violet Maltese Cross of Market Street, valued at £30,000 ($38,939) recently sold at Stampex.Photo courtesy The Philatelic Traders’ Society.

Recent research at Stampex International found that 81% of people who attended the show would return again in February. The findings also revealed 51% of the people visiting Stampex spend under £1,000 ($1,297) each at the show. But big deals are also done with trader Mark Bloxham delighted to sell the much sought-after Penny Mulready with Bright Violet Maltese Cross of Market Street worth £30,000 ($38,939) at Stampex. This is the finest example of four known pieces. It also holds a certificate from the BPA [], which confirms its authenticity.

So what makes stamp collecting the latest hobby to take up? Here are a few pointers on why one of the oldest hobbies is rising again in popularity.

Relaxing with stamp collecting

It is perhaps one of the most relaxing activities you can take interest in. One in four people suffer from a mental health issue each year, with reports showing that being more mindful can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. What better way to achieve this than through a hobby, which can both connect you with people but also give you focus. Studies indicate that hobbies can, in fact, reduce stress levels.

Research shows that having a hobby outside of work can actually help raise your work performance. A study of 400 employees, published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, has found marked differences in performance rankings between those who engage in creative hobbies and those who do not.

Learning with stamp collecting

Stamp collecting really brings storytelling to life and opens doors to unknown topics for people of all ages. Children and adults alike can become engrossed in snippets of knowledge that each stamp carries and those with a particular love for mysteries and puzzles will enjoy the hobby due to endless questions that can be asked.

It’s not expensive to start out in the hobby. Spend either a little or a lot and enrich your collection as you go. Try networking and attending stamp exhibitions where you can find great deals.

The next Stampex International will be held Feb. 13-16, 2019 at the Business Design Centre in central London.

For more information or access to the full survey, contact Isobel Klempka

About the Philatelic Traders’ Society Limited

Formed in 1929 by a group of established stamp dealers, The Philatelic Traders’ Society was created to act for and on behalf of its members for the good of philately. With a Code of Ethics and a service for dispute resolution, The Philatelic Traders’ Society [] is regarded as a reputable organisation within the industry, upholding the values of honesty and integrity. The PTS also organises Stampex – the UK’s leading biennial philatelic exhibition. All Stampex International stand holders are proud members of The PTS. 

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