– Hello Keijo, and thank you for enjoying the idea of an interview for the readers of ’Blog de timbrofil’. They say:  ’Stamp collecting = Gathering knowledge’. What do you think about it?

– The expression ‘knowledge is power’ holds very true in this hobby of ours, but I would also say that the further you advance and the more you learn, the more it introduces also pain and difficulties (such as learning about fakes, forgeries, philatelic fabrications etc.). So possibly the happiest collectors are those who do not open the ‘Pandoras box’, but enjoy the collecting without too much learning.

Life in itself is all about learning, and even without going too technical with stamps, they do provide countless amounts of what I consider harmless learning about geography, history, design etc. In the end it comes down to finding a working balance with what you enjoy and like. Personally I like to mix both sides of the pool with each other.

– What prompted you to start collecting stamps?

– A number of factors… My big brother used to save stamps and of course I was interested. Then there was a Hungarian musician (living in the same apartment house) who gifted me with some stamps from his country when I was a young lad. And a kid in our school had a presentation about stamp collecting. When I eventually got a ‘stamp collectors kit’ as a Christmas gift from my parents, I was pretty much hooked and haven’t looked back since. So I’ve been collecting now for over 30 years, and will hopefully collect at least another 30 years more.  

– I know your great blog very well, stampcollectingblog.com, ’the premier resource for exclusive stamp information and news’. How do you choose the subjects for its articles?

– One of the reasons why I started blogging about stamps was that at a time I was very ill and reading and sleeping were pretty much the only things I could do. So I read all things philatelic I could get my hands into. Sadly most of it was simply not worth reading (at least from the perspective of general/ worldwide collector), and I thought I could do better. And thus I created SCB.

When I pick a topic, I usually ask myself two questions: 1) would I read about this myself (if it was written by somebody else) and 2) can I provide some added value (new information/ research/ approach) to topic. If I get a positive answer to both, then it is something I will try to write about. The subjects are based entirely on stamps and problems that I have encountered with my personal collection, and things I find interesting. 

– I also know about your large worldwide collection. What criteria do you use to include new stamps in it? Do you have any collecting tips to share?

– I have three main criterias for adding stamps to my collection: 1) it must be something that I don’t already have, and 2) it must be used (also CTO will do fine, though I prefer postally used), and 3) it must be fault free. If all three terms are met, then the stamp goes into my collection.

Possibly the only tip that I could give is very simple: find your own path in collecting and have fun with it. 

– How do you see your collection into the future?

– Growing one stamp at a time 😉

My collection reached 100,000 different stamps (using Michel main numbers as criteria) this summer, and the next goal is of course reaching the 200,000 different (which will likely keep me busy for the next 15-20 years).  And if I live a long and healthy life, then I might be able to build it up to 300-400,000 stamps. It is not so much about the destination but the journey. 

– In your opinion, what is the most beautiful stamp in the world ever issued?

– That’s difficult to say as my opinion is likely to change every day. But I’ll suprise everyone and name a Hungarian stamp for now.

I am a great fan of Art Deco and vintage poster art, so this particular stamp (design, colors, ornaments) matches the very essence of my taste buds.

– Returning to your collection, if you have to choose only one stamp from it and bring, let’s say, to the ’Mars One’ mission to space, what would it be?

– Ooh, that’s another hard one. I’ll go with this one.

I don’t usually mix religion and politics with stamps, but I’ll make an exception here. This is not a nice stamp, but it shows what we humans have to done mother Earth in name of development. Hopefully we will not repeat those mistakes in other worlds (though I fear that greed is essential part of those making decisions, sigh).

– What’s your biggest regret (perhaps that stamp you wish the most, but it slept and missed)?

– In words of Robbie Williams, ‘no regrets, they don’t work’. 

– Many thanks for this interview! Please address a message to the readers of ’Blog de timbrofil’.

– If seven years as a stamp blogger has taught me anything, it is one very simple statement: ‘work hard, be kind to others, and amazing things will happen!’. Hope to see many of you visiting and subscribing SCB 😉

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