Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Paris Offers Stamp of Approval


and curiouser.

Sitting on a bench in Paris,
I watched men with suitcases huddle in little groups.
Hunched over, some with magnifying glasses,
they spread out and meticulously inspected the mysterious contents.

Stamp Market Paris, 2008

Dee gave his stamp of approval to the pastime. On Thursdays, weekends and public holidays, Paris has a unique public stamp market (in the park overlooking the gardens at the bottom of the Champs-Elysees.) You might remember it from the classic Audrey Hepburn/Cary Grant movie Charade, when the little boy solves the murder by selling his stamps to a collector at one of the booths.

Vintage postcards and stamps from all over the world are for sale at the market, and philatelists (stamp collectors) bring their collections to trade or show off.

Dee collects collections, and his first collection as a little boy was stamps. He appreciates the artwork on them, the first day covers, the history behind each one, but especially the stories associated with stamp collecting.

One of his first clients told a thrilling story of being a young Jewish man in Nazi Germany. He sold his worldly goods and bought stamps. They were portable, easy to hide and would be valuable wherever he was able to go. His stamp collection was able to support his escape from Germany to Switzerland, to Hong Kong, and eventually to the USA where he settled in Salt Lake City.

Philately Store in Panorama Passage
Paris, 2008

We were searching for stamps to use as illustrations for a book. It's fun to rummage around albums and boxes looking for postcards or letters from certain periods in history. The price, the cancellation and the graphics on the stamp itself provide tiny pieces of the puzzle of what society was like "back in the day."

Old yellow French mailbox

A quest for vintage stamps is one of the side interests
that make our main interests more interesting.

"One thing life has taught me:
If you are interested, you never have to look for new interests.
They come to you.
When you are genuinely interested in one thing,
it will always lead to something else."
---Eleanor Roosevelt

Do you have hobbies that have opened up new hobbies? Do you know interesting people? What makes them interesting? What hobbies get your stamp of approval?


Kay Dennison said...

You always give me food for thought, Marty. My mother taught me simple embroidery when I was about 9. I liked it and in time I got interested in more advanced types like crewel and counted cross stitch and then I taught myself to knit and crochet and lots of other crafty things. Actually, most things in my life lead me to new interests -- the list is endless.

kenju said...

My older daughter started a stamp collection when she was about 10-11, and I recently gave her the box of stamps that she had amassed. I think she was very surprised that I still had them.

My collections have given me blog fodder, since I can photograph them and show them on the blog, which leads to some interesting commentary by others.

mama jo said...

sounds like a fun afternoon