Graphic Design: My First Stamp Show


As I wandered around the AmeriStamp Expo, folks kept asking me, ‘What do you collect?’ I mumbled something about getting started [Year of the Stamp], while thinking, ‘Don’t mind me. I’m just here for the blog posts.’

I watched customers hunched over dealer tables, flipping through boxes and albums, checking the items on offer against lists and notebooks. I made snap judgments about an entire subgroup based on 15 minutes of observation: older, white, male, chatty. I looked at row upon row of stamp competition entrants. People compete with stamps? Why, yes they do. People compete at everything.

I needed a guide through this new world. So, I looked – of course – for a book.


I joined the American Topical Association, resulting in a pile of loot including a huge head start on forming a horse-stamp group.


I learned about cachets – drawings on envelopes – from the American First Day Cover Society.

Year of the Horse First Day Covers. The larger envelope includes all the stamps in the series to that date.


The one thing I didn’t buy was a stamp, other than the ones on the first day covers. The various dealers had hundreds? thousand? hundreds of thousands? of stamps for sale, from buy-’em-by-the-bucket to credit-check-first-please. Unfortunately, stamps are arranged by country, not by ‘Horses, pretty pictures of.’

I wanted to stay longer, but my brain was full.

Interesting Links
Colorful Year of the Horse stamps from Vietnam

Donald Evans painted fascinating, tiny watercolors as stamps from non-existent countries.

Carol Gordon is (was?) an amazing cachet, i.e. envelope, artist. Despite the huge range displayed in a show entry, her work doesn’t have a centralized Internet presence (Please correct me if I’m wrong). Mostly, Google turns up items for sale: Year of the Pig, Edna St. Vincent Millay. This woman’s career is crying out for a web page.
How much of this sudden interest in stamps is due to the blog and how much is personal? I’d say 50/50. I wouldn’t pursue the idea without an outlet, i.e. blog posts. On the other hand, I wouldn’t research and write about an area for content alone. (I would if someone paid me, but that was a previous life.) Stamps are interesting. Stamps will generate blog posts. Win/win. [RS stamp page]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

4 thoughts on “Graphic Design: My First Stamp Show

  1. An envelope is a cover. A cachet is the design on the cover.
    Wish I’d had the chance to be there, must be exciting if a bit overwhelming to start at such a big show.

  2. Thanks for joining ATA! We are ready to help you with your collecting! Enjoy your membership and stay in touch. Looking forward to your creative progress in the hobby. Dawn

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