A new generation of stamp collectors
Sales of stamps are rising as younger people follow stars in taking up the hobby
The practice of stamp collecting has often tended to be seen as the interest of older generations.
Recently, however, there has been a surge in interest from a younger generation, with stamp dealer Stanley Gibbons noticing an increase in the number of its younger customers.
"Our customers generally used to be over 50 and male, but in the last six months the younger market has turned everything on its head" a spokesman told British newspaper The Telegraph.
The Royal Philatelic Society reports an increase in its membership too, and there have been significant increases in sales of both stamps and philatelic books in recent weeks and months, as noted by retailers such as eBay.
Why is this? Some suggest that the recession has led people to consider hobbies which can be started cheaply, and at a basic level all you need to start a stamp collection is a scrapbook and a pair of tweezers.
At the other end of the spectrum, rare stamps are worthy tangible investments for people whose faith in stocks and shares has been shaken. One very rare stamp, worthy of centring a great collection around, is a Tyrian Plum which we currently have available.
However, it is likely that the influence of celebrities declaring their interest in the hobby is at least as great an influence. President Sarkozy of France has a very respectable collection, for example, as does guitarist Ronnie Wood and ex-chess world champion Anatoly Karpov.
In terms of the changing demographic however it's probably younger celebrity collectors such as the 22 year old tennis star Maria Sharapova who are having a greater influence. Singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor also owns a collection.
Then there is the influence of emerging economies. In India, for example, stamp collecting is a very respectable pastime, and an Indian man recently broke a record for a collection which spanned the greatest number of countries - at the tender age of 20.
It has also been a very lively year in the philatelic world, thanks most of all to financial genius Bill Gross, who recently auctioned off part of his collection to raise $3.2m for the Smithsonian Museum.
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