The History of Stamp Collecting Part 22 – Stamp Craft

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In the late 1970s a fascinating series of articles written by Mr. K. Kouwenberg about the history of Stamp Collecting, appeared in the Dutch magazine Philatelie. This series has been the source of inspiration for PostBeeld owner Rob Smit to rewrite the history of stamp collecting in instalments. This is Part 22.

Stamps can be collected whereby you try to bring together different stamps or different varieties. In addition, there are post-historical collections that follow certain travelled routes, reflected in letters or stamps. There is yet another form of collecting which most philatelists would find horrific, that has already been mentioned in Part 2 of this series – collecting postage stamps to use them to create a piece of art or decoration.

It seems nice to write today about this sidekick of stamp collecting because recently PostBeeld BV has taken over a webshop business dealing in paper decoration materials. It can be found here at www.knutselparade.nl. By the way, knutselparade.nl will continue to operate independently and will not affect PostBeeld’s philatelist activities.

As already described in Part 2, stamps were collected in 1841 to decorate a room. And wallpapering with stamps was quite popular from the 1870s (when interest among philatelists fell back slightly) until after the First World War, when collecting was again more popular.

Decorating walls with stamps was not only seen in Great Britain, but also in the Netherlands. Click here to read about antique stamp wallpaper in a house in Vught, southern Netherlands. I remember reading an article in a newspaper about twenty years ago describing that someone had bought an old house and whilst carefully stripping a layer of wallpaper discovered that underneath that layer the wall had been covered with postage stamps.

After carefully removing the stamps the new owner was able to sell the stamps for a large sum of money, enough for him to quickly sell the house and buy a much larger property. If you want to have a room decorated with stamps today, you can even buy stamp wallpaper. There are many manufacturers with many attractive designs. The examples below are from Fayen and purlfrost.


Nowadays there are many designers using stamps as a method of decorating objects. A search on the internet returns many examples. From keyboards to dishes and tables. Remarkably also cars. Some of you may be aware of the Fiat 500 decorated with stamps, that was on show in the Netherlands at various exhibitions.

The above photo, taken in 1936 in America, features the proud owner of a car covered with postage stamps.

And this from modern times: Click here.
Does anyone else have more beautiful examples of stamp craft?

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