French President Nicolas Sarkozy has revealed that likes to indulge in the hobby of kings, and has collected stamps since he was a young boy, reports the BBC.

And with the help of international leaders in filling in his albums, Mr Sarkozy's collection is reportedly growing into one of the best in the world.

As the BBC rightly points out, philately is a well respected hobby in France, Germany and Scandinavia - and in India it is regarded as something to be proud of.

Mr Sarkozy's revelation will hopefully go some way to the dispel the social stigma which surrounds stamp collecting in some quarters.

From a letter written by Mr Sarkozy to the French Federation of Philately Associations (FFAP), we can gather that he views stamps as a passion rather than an investment.

In his letter, he praises the, "artists, engravers, page designers..."

"Because it shows real talent to illustrate sometimes abstract topics, to create an original work of art for each stamp, covering such a small area," he wrote.

The president's glamorous wife, Carla Bruni, the songwriter and former model, is said to have told friends that she is glad her husband enjoys a more sedate hobby.

Mr Sarkozy apparently has a particular interest in stamps from Hungarian - where his ancestors are from.

According to the president, philately is a good way to learn about other nations and their cultures.

Philately could also be an option for Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy if she decides to give up music - stamp collecting is extremely popular among women.

From Queen Elizabeth to Freddie Mercury... President Sarkozy isn't the first head of state to confess to having a passion for stamps

Like Sarkozy, US President Franklin D Roosevelt used stamps to gain a knowledge of the world during World War II. So informed were his tastes, he even designed a number of important stamps himself.

In another parallel, both Sarkozy and Roosevelt promoted stamp collecting during a period of economic downturn...

A host of royals have a passion for philately. Queen Elizabeth II has one of the world's best stamp collections, inherited from her grandfather, King George V, one of the all-time great collectors.

King Farouk of Egypt, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, Prince Rainier III of Monaco, and King Carol II of Romania were also collectors.

And did you know that John Lennon and Freddie Mercury also collected stamps? Paul Fraser arranged the sale of Lennon's childhood stamp album to the world famous Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.

Not everyone is happy to have their passion exposed, however.

Russian tennis play Maria Sharapova regretted it, according to the BBC.

When a journalist asked, "You're a stamp collector, then?" she laughed and said, "Oh God, stop. Everyone's calling me a dork now."

However with the rarest of stamps showing returns exceeding 10% per annum over the last 50 years Miss Sharapova may well have the last laugh.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock