Indian Professor Builds World’s Largest Amphibian Stamp Collection

Amphibian Stamp

Many people go through life feeling uncertain about their calling. Then there are people who just know. For one Indian professor, there was no question about his passion. The Times of India reported on the achievements of Indraneil Das, a professor who invested most of his time into studying amphibians and collecting stamps.

A Lifelong Passion

Indraneil Das began life as a child who was curious about the world around him. He spent summer days at his grandmother’s home in Assam, a state located in Northeast India. He would watch tadpoles as they grew into frogs. This sparked an interest that he would carry with him into adulthood. He began to study amphibians and went on to complete his doctoral degree at Oxford University. His focus was on amphibian ecology followed by a postdoctoral at Harvard.

Today, Das is a herpetology professor for the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. That’s a pretty impressive resume, but it isn’t the only thing Das has accomplished. He also amassed the largest, most impressive collection of amphibian stamps the world has ever seen.

Collecting Stamps Across the World

Das’ collection includes 1,600 stamps featuring frogs that took 45 years to gather. Some of his earliest additions hail from his childhood, back when his interest in this field of study was born.

He explained that “I used to lay my hands on everything that had frogs. Naturally, I have over the years built up a sizeable collection of crystal frogs, frog art, t-shirts, with frog prints or shoes designed like frogs. While this may appear odd, many others collect stamps on themes, such as the Indian flag, Mahatma Gandhi, etc. A philatelist colleague from Athens, Petrus Girondis, for instance, has some 5,000-plus stamps on turtles. When it came to stamps, I naturally turned to frogs.”

The hobby began to cover regions throughout India and beyond. One thing that stood out to Das was the disparity between the varieties of frog species in an area compared to the number of stamps issued representing the creatures.

He found that large countries would have enormous biodiversity, yet only issued a few number of frog stamps. India, for example, has environments that are plentiful, yet only issued five frog stamps total. Meanwhile, smaller countries would issue far more. Ecuador is smaller than India, yet issued 25 amphibian stamp designs.

Das explained that “of the 7,764 living species of amphibians found in the world, India is home to 410. England has three frog species but has issued as many amphibian stamps as India. Australia, a vast country, has issued 17 stamps on frogs.”

Frog Stamps on Display

If you were lucky enough to find yourself in Kuching, Sarawak on October 4th, 2017, then you may have caught a glimpse of Das’ stamp collection. His finds were showcased across 450 panels at a philately exhibition to commemorate the Sarawak Biodiversity Evening and World Animal Day event.

At this point, Das has collected almost every stamp of frogs issued by 195 countries and issuing authorities like the United Nations Postal Agency. Stamp collecting has proven to be a great way to celebrate an interest. For beginner collectors interested in natural life, the USPS plans to release a bioluminescence series (The USPS Reveals New Stamp Series to Be Added in 2018) this year that will feature plant and sea life as well as insects that would make a unique addition to a growing stamp collection.

Collect Stamps for a Good Cause: Become a Stamp Champ by Donating to CLIC Sargent

click sargent charity

Stamp collectors can use their favorite hobby to support a good cause thanks to CLIC Sargent. CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading charity for children with cancer. The organization formed in 2005 as part of a merger between Sargent Cancer Care for Children and CLIC. Sargent was founded by Sylvia Darley in 1968 while CLIC, or Cancer and Leukemia in Childhood, was created in 1976 by Bob Woodward after his son was diagnosed with cancer.

What Does CLIC Sargent Do?

Cancer completely changes the life of the patient, especially young children and their families. It affects all aspects of life including school, relationships, work, and finances. CLIC Sargent focuses on providing support and assistance to help limit the negative effects of a cancer diagnosis. They talk to the people they help to find out what they need to get through treatment.

The exact process will vary based on the needs of the family and patient. In some cases, it could mean providing a grant or helping families access benefits. It could also mean coordinating care or arranging accommodations. CLIC Sargent also assists with work, school, and college to help families maintain as normal a life as possible while a child is going through cancer treatment.

The organization also serves as an advocate for kids with cancer. They share their experience and knowledge with the government, policymakers, and service providers to help change what isn’t working and strengthen what is.

How Can I Help Sick Kids with Stamps?

If you don’t mind giving away stamps, you can use your favorite hobby to provide care and support for young cancer patients. CLIC Sargent’s Stamp Champ program is a great way to raise money, even if you don’t have funds to give.

The way the program works is that collectors gather as many stamps as they can. The stamps are sent to CLIC Sargent. The more you send, the bigger your contribution will be. The organization maintains an award-winning eBay shop. All stamps are listed there for sale. Each purchase generates funds that go back into the charity.

Stamps can be collected from anywhere. Tear the corners off of this year’s Christmas card envelopes or any other cards or mail you receive. The organization’s Head of Charity Trading Jason Webster explains that “just by sending us your old stamps that would otherwise go in the bin, you can help children with cancer and their families this Christmas and beyond.”

Become a Stamp Champ in 2018

Interested stamp collectors can get started by saving all their stamps. Once you are ready to send them in, they can be mailed to:

Stamp Champ CLIC Sargent

Unit 6, Abbeywood Business Park

Filton, Bristol

BS34 7JU

The program raised more than £10,000 (which is over $13,500 USD) by December of last year. Schools and businesses are also invited to participate. All stamps, including UK, foreign, old, and franked, are accepted. Do what you love and help a worthy cause by giving away stamps or visiting the CLIC Sargent eBay shop to make a purchase.

Royal Mail Game of Thrones Stamps Coming Soon to the UK

GoT stamps

Stamp collectors who are fans of the popular HBO series Game of Thrones will be delighted to hear that the Royal Mail is releasing a series of stamps inspired by the show. Send a missive featuring Tyrion, Daenerys, Sansa, and other well-known characters created by George R. R. Martin.

Collect Your Favorite Game of Thrones Characters

The series will include some of the biggest characters to appear on Game of Thrones. Many of the actors are from Britain, making this a great choice for British audiences. The two non-British faces will include American actor Peter Dinklage in his role as the quick-witted Tyrion Lannister and his fictional brother Lord Commander of the Kingsguard Jaime, played by Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Stark sisters Sansa and Arya, played by Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams, will also be featured as well as:

  • Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
  • Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister
  • Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
  • Kit Harington as Jon Snow
  • Dame Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell

Some fans may be disappointed to see the faces that are not featured, like Davos Seaworth or Samwell Tarly. It’s understandable, considering how enormous the stamp series would have to be to cover every character from the series.

Five additional stamps will feature other prominent figures in the show including the direwolves, dragons, giants, the Iron Throne and the Night King and White Walkers.

To Send or To Save

Fans will love sending letters with Game of Thrones stamps (which will surely make any envelope far more enticing to open). The difficult part is deciding whether to use them or to save them. Serious collectors will definitely want a set for their album. These are truly unique and a big find for anyone who loves fantasy television and movies.

The designs are dark and beautiful, much like many aspects of the show. Each features deep colors that vary from green and blue to pink, yellow, and gray. Each face is shown in their respective settings with additional elements, like Daenerys with a flying dragon. These are certainly worthy of framing and display. Even if you are not a seasoned stamp collector, you may want to hold on to these new Royal Mail designs as a fan collectible.

Why Game of Thrones?

The Royal Mail decided to introduce a Game of Thrones stamp series to commemorate the “very significant British contribution” the show made. Most of the filming was done in Belfast. Banbridge, and in Northern Ireland.

The cast is predominantly Irish and British. The Royal Mail service also explained that “British expertise is [brought] to the fore in many areas of the production, including award-winning costume design and prosthetic special effects.”

How Do I Get Game of Thrones Stamps?

Don’t get too excited yet, because if you live in the UK, your local post office will not have these stamps available right now. The official release date is January 23rd.  Preorders are available, so you may want to reserve your set. To learn more or to place an order, visit your local post office or stop by the Royal Mail website. The final season of Game of Thrones is currently in production and could boost the popularity of these new Royal Mail stamps.

The USPS Reveals New Stamp Series to Be Added in 2018

GoT stamps

It’s a new year, and stamp collectors are anxious to find out what stamp designs will be introduced by the U.S. postal service. The current list includes a wide variety of themes, ranging from beloved television hosts to astronauts and music icons. Check out what’s coming up to find out which sets you will want to add to your stamp collection in 2018.

Mister Roger’s Neighborhood Stamps – Fred Rogers entertained and educated children for three decades on this beloved television series. A forever stamp is coming this year that will feature Mister Rogers in his red cardigan alongside King Friday XIII.

Birds in Winter Stamps – Winter birds are a beautiful part of nature. The USPS is celebrating our feathered friends with four non-denominated forever stamps. This series will include the northern cardinal, blue jay, black-capped chickadee, and red-bellied woodpecker.

Astronaut Sally Ride Stamps – This series will commemorate the first American woman to travel through space. Sally Ride will appear on a forever stamp that includes a scene featuring her face and the space shuttle.

The Peace Rose Stamp – This postage stamp was created to honor the Peace Rose, a hardy hybrid tea rose that features unique coloring. The design shows the blossom up-close with unfurling petals.

The Meyer Lemon Stamp – A new 2 cent lemon stamp is scheduled for release this year. The design features the art of John Burgoyne.

The Bioluminescent Life Stamps – This series will include 10 stamps that showcase bioluminescent life. The set will cover everything from plants and insects to sea creatures.

Forever Stamp for Illinois – In honor of Illinois statehood’s 200th anniversary, the USPS will release a stamp featuring the state. The design includes a blue background with gold rays, and small stars.

Frozen Treats Stamps – Stamp collectors with a sweet tooth will love the frozen treats series coming this year. Ten forever stamps will be printed with delicious confections that are described as “frosty, colorful icy pops on a stick.”

Lunar New Year Stamps – 2018 will bring stamp collectors the 11th addition to the ongoing Lunar New Years’ set. The design includes three bamboo plants and a red ribbon to honor the Year of the Dog.

Flat Act of 1818 Stamps – A stamp commemorating the Flag Act of 1818 will be presented this year. This act officially set the number of stripes on the United States flag at 13, each representing one of the original colonies. The design includes the blue field on the flag plus 20 stars.

John Lennon Stamps – John Lennon will be honored on a forever stamp as part of the USPS Music Icons commemorative series. The image includes a monochromatic portrait of John Lennon looking at the camera with his signature appearing in white across the top.

Dragon Stamps – Fantasy fans will love the new dragon stamps series coming this year. Collectors should also check out the UK’s Game of Thrones stamp series (Royal Mail Game of Thrones Stamps Coming Soon to the UK) which is scheduled for release on January 23rd.

Love Flourishes Stamp – This stamp includes floral patterns and graceful cursive letters. Painted blossoms and buds grow around the word “Love.”

Art of Magic Stamps – 20 stamps featuring five different designs will be released to celebrate the art of magic. Classic magician tricks will be depicted including the famous pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

O Beautiful Stamps – This is the biggest set announced for 2018 so far. O Beautiful will include 20 designs inspired by phrases from the beloved song America the Beautiful. Each will show breathtaking scenes like seas, mountains, skies, and fields.

There’s a lot coming for stamp collectors in 2018. Check with your local post office or the USPS website to learn more about ordering stamps and release dates.

Do You Need Stamp Collecting Software?: A Closer Look at 4 Popular Options

Stamp Software

Technology has found its way into just about everything, including our hobbies. Today’s stamp collectors have more options when it comes to organization and tracking. There are several software products available that can improve the way you manage your stamp collection. The key is finding a solution that meets your needs and allows you to work efficiently, so you can invest more time into finding new stamps.

Stamp Tracker:
Stamp Tracker ranks among the most popular software products used by stamp collectors. This program allows the user to store information about individual stamps. You can organize your collection and include information related to how much you paid for the stamp, country of origin, description, and more. View a stamp’s catalog value and the price you sold it for. The program includes 30 different data fields.

Users can also generate custom reports through Stamp Tracker, which is a helpful tool for serious collectors and investors. The updated 2.0 version includes an additional feature that allows the user to store an image of the stamp.

EZStamp:
EZStamp is another big contender among collecting software. It offers many similar features, like the ability to record data related to price, location, and more. The current USA version includes listings for US Possessions and Revenues with over 40,500 stamps and 24,500 color images. It features all Regular Issues, official, Airmail, Semi Postals, Postage Dues, and Postal Stationery. This program is officially licensed to use the industry-standard Scott system. A free demo is available for users who want to give EZStamp a test drive before committing.

StampManage:
StampManage also uses the Scott system. Users can access recent Market Valuations that include several grades like Mint Sheet and Plate Block. An eBayT search feature is also included that allows users to quickly browse auctions by Scott number. Automatic backups protect data and guarantees that your stamp record remains complete.

The information included covers over 84,000 American, Canadian, Australian, UN, and Cuban stamps. StampManage is designed to save collectors and investors hours of data entry by pulling information from existing listings.

Stamp Organizer Deluxe:
Stamp Organizer Deluxe is a fourth option that boasts an easy-to-use interface. Users can catalog collections and get more in-depth. The system is complex but intuitively designed. Choose from database templates to speed up the process. Users can add country, value, issue date, purchase date, format, grade, owner name, condition, and more.

This software includes additional tools like password protection and a built-in browser that lets the user search the internet for information. Users can also sort and search by any field.

Many old school collectors prefer to do everything by hand. It’s a method that works but can add a lot of time to the process. The right stamp collecting software can save you hours, which is especially important for investors and long-term hobbyists. Learn more about available products to find the right set of tools for you.

The Snowy Owls Are Returning and Bringing New Stamp Designs With Them

The snowy owl is a large bird that’s both graceful and beautiful. They are renowned for their white feathers with dark markings. They are native to Arctic environments throughout North America and Eurasia. While they are at home in the ice and cold, they are a less common find in warmer regions to the south. That is unless there is an irruption.

Merriam-Webster describes an irruption as a “sudden sharp increase in the relative numbers of a natural population usually associated with favorable alteration of the environment.” We experienced a snowy owl irruption about four years ago. At the time, these large white raptors were seen in unusual places, like suburban neighborhoods. One was even assisting with a mouse problem near a brewery in Minnesota.

An average winter might see about 10 snowy owls in Pennsylvania. But during 2013’s irruption, the state was inhabited by about 400. It was the largest irruption event in the United States since the 1920s. Some individuals were even spotted as far south as Bermuda and Florida.

The volunteer-driven Project SNOWstorm owl-tracking organization has predicted that a new irruption could happen this winter, and it could inspire stamp collectors.

Snowy Owls Inspire Postage Stamps

So what does this have to do with stamp collecting? Snowy owls are also making an appearance on postage across the world. Their unique appearance and unusual irruption behavior have inspired new designs that also serve as a reminder of the importance of our natural environments and the wildlife that lives within them.

Norway issued a 21-krone stamp featuring the white owl on January 2nd as part of their Bird definitive series. The great gray owl accompanied its arctic cousin as a non-denominated domestic-rate stamp while the rough-legged buzzard appeared on a 48k stamp. Each was designed by Enzo Finger who used illustrations created by Viggo Ree. The postage is printed by Netherlands-based Joh. Enschedé.

Wizards & Owl Stamps

Nature lovers and bird watchers will be particularly interested in the snowy owl stamps. There’s also another group that will be drawn to the new designs: Harry Potter fans.

When announcing the stamps, Norway’s Posten stated that “many people are familiar with Hedwig, the tame snowy owl from the Harry Potter films that follows the hero through thick and thin. In reality, though, snowy owls spend most of their time catching mice.” While they may be a rare sight in Norway, the snowy owl inspires imagination due in part to the Hedwig character.

Finland & Poland Issue Snowy Owl Stamps

Finland announced that it will issue a snowy owl stamp on February 28th. It will belong to a series showcasing arctic animals created for the World Wildlife Fund. It will be non-denominated and includes the domestic-rate map of Finland in the upper right corner with the famous WWF panda logo in the lower left.

Stamp collectors should also check out the other designs in the WWF series, which will feature salmon and arctic foxes.

Poland issued its own version of the owl and others like it. A pane of four stamps with labels is available that also features a long-eared owl, little owl, and northern hawk owl. This set was created by Marzanna Dabrowska and was issued on November 30th, 2017.