Stamps & Culture

I’d like to take the credit for the lovely stamps featured on my new blog banners, but I can’t. Not totally. Although I took the photos and designed the banners, the stamps were collected ages ago by my husband. It’s one of his hobbies. To use the proper word, he is a philatelist.

I don’t know how his hobby started, but the man has filled up stamp books since he was basically a toddler. I used to dis them. Like really, you collect … stamps? However, it’s time to eat some crow.

When I wanted new blog banners, I was stumped. I’ve got zillions of photos from all over the world, but none of them fit together. I wanted turquoises and blues. I wanted simple and clean. While sorting through old memorabilia, looking for possible banner ideas, I came across my husband’s stamps. Bingo!

In honor of his stamp collection, here are some things I’ve come to appreciate about this humble hobby. 

  • Anyone can collect stamps
  • It’s inexpensive – actually stamp collecting can be a nearly free hobby
  • You can collect stamps twelve months out of the year. Even in Fargo. Even when it’s -30 outside the window!
  • Stamps are a piece of history.
  • Stamp collections are like owning your own miniature art museum.
  • Heck, stamps are just plain pretty.


Historic Stamps

The German Reich. Really? Yup. Right before your eyes: 1940s. These pieces of paper were bought, held, afixed, and sent over sixty years ago.
historic stamps, Jill Kandel, So Many Africas, In-Between Cultures

Shaped Stamps

Stamps come in all shapes and sizes. Long, tall, even triangular or circular!

shaped stamps, Jill Kandel, So Many Africas, In-Between Cultures

International Stamps

These beauties are from Japan. My hubby has stamps from about a hundred countries. Each one says something about the culture the country promotes from art, to wildlife, to tech. advances, to it’s peoples, dances, and history. It’s intriguing to watch what a country says about itself.

Stamps, In-Between Cultures, stamps, Jill Kandel

Stamps of Stamps

And weirdly. There are even stamps of stamps. How cool is that?
Stamps of stamps, In-Between Cultures, Jill Kandel

Keeping Stamps 

My husband keeps his stamps in Dutch Postzegel Books. Here’s a few of them. On the inside there are lines and lines of a sort of cellophane. Placing the stamps behind it, you can still view them.

In-Between Cultures, stamps, Jill Kandel , stamp books


I spent days deciding which stamps to make my banners out of. And then a long time to chose a background to lay them on. I finally went with a close up of an acrylic painting I did last year. Here are the banner results in their full glory. Each banner has stamps from one country.


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The Netherlands

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Isn’t it a fabulous world? Just receiving a piece of mail, a letter, or even a bill can bring along with it an unexpected present. A prize of sorts. You never know what it will be. I’ve come to look at that little gluey piece of paper in the corner as a freebie.

Even in the smallest of items, if we open our eyes, we can find wonder every day. 




Jill Kandel
  • Irene Hoge Smith
    Posted at 13:44h, 08 January Reply

    Beautiful, Jill! And inspiring.

    • Jill Kandel
      Posted at 20:17h, 08 January Reply

      Thank you, Irene. The stamps really are pretty! I’m glad it inspired you!

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