Philately of the Future

Jack Preuveneers writes: Many people question the future of Philately – how to get the Youth involved, and how to make philately engaging?

It’s a difficult subject and a challenging task. Stamp collecting is a nice thing – it encourages an interest in the world, in design, in history, in geography and politics. But quite frankly, when it comes to the battle for the hearts and minds of young people, stamps have been beaten in submission by Nintendo and Playstation.

The idea that children can trade stamps in the playground these days is completely outdated. Children simply do not collect stamps in the way that they used to. And there is no-one to trade them with. They are unlikely to get duplicates to even begin to trade with too, simply because relatively few letters actually carry stamps these days. Few schools have a stamp club or indeed are interested in establishing one. I feel in order to create an interest in philately, you need to approach the youth on a level they can understand and resonate. I believe this to the social medium of Discord.

So, what is Discord?

Discord is a chat app, similar to programs such as Skype or TeamSpeak, or professional communications platforms like Slack. It has chat and channel features very much like the Virtual Stampex 2020.

Why is this the “kid’s” choice?

Discord is geared almost exclusively toward video game players, providing them with ways to find each other, coordinate play, and talk while playing. It supports video calls, voice chat, and text, allowing users to get in touch however they please. But it is not exclusive to video games, and Discord ‘servers’ as they’re called can be based on any topic you wish. During the Covid-19 Pandemic, ‘servers’ based on Baking, Knitting, or in our case, Stamp Collecting cropped up.

In order to explain why Discord works for the youths’ needs, I’ve got to delve into my collecting history. I’m 22 years old from England. Much like any teenager, I enjoy my fair share of Video Games and engage with my peers on social media. Unlike my peers, I collect stamps. My collection covers all Scandinavia stamps, specialising in early Sweden. I’ve won awards for my exhibition on Classical Swedish stamps from 1855-1911. I’m part of a Patrick Maselis’s Youth Program alongside fellow youth collectors and I’ve been to various events such as Stampex, the RPSL Opening in November and Monacophil. While I like to share details of my 1 of 100 Greenlandic airmail issues, my Swedish mail to foreign destinations, or my Sperati forgeries, my friends aren’t interested.

So, in order to engage with collectors my age across the world I’ve created a youth collectors Discord server where other users can share their collections, expertise or ask for help identifying stamps! There’s even sales/ trade channels where people can swap stamps!

So far I’ve managed to get over 80 members to join! These members collect loads of different countries and live all over the world.

I think it would be really progressive towards Youth Philately if youth collectors, or even adults who were keen to progress philately were to join. There’s no age criteria to join, anyone of any age or background is welcome. I’d like to think that some of the keener youth members are in essence youth ambassadors to their country and their hobby to inspire people to collect and to encourage collecting.

Users join the server and fill out a short bio, then one of the moderator team can assign roles based on what countries you collect! If you’d like to join, here’s the link;