by Melvyn Gallagher
In countries with modern infrastructures and communications networks most people, especially the young, keep in touch via mobile devices that are almost glued to their hands! Computers, social media, texts, Facebook, twitter etc. have taken over their lives replacing the sending of letters to pen-pals and holiday postcards. (Ed: except for the Club Chairman who still sends his “Notes” typewritten in an envelope!) Commemorative postage stamps from Britain are nowadays marketed towards collectors rather than for postal use and their often high values reflect this. The Royal Mail no longer has the monopoly to deliver parcels and the ones they do usually use a printed label rather than stamps so again their use is reduced even further. There was a time when stamps on private or commercial mail from third world countries were at a premium, but soon the same will apply to such mail from most other countries.
As collectors, the study and collection of historical Scouting and Guiding material is now our main interest and the ever increasing value of the better items reflects this.
Modern Scouting and Guiding philately largely concentrates on commemorative stamps, miniature sheets, covers and postmarks for special events, especially World Jamborees when many speculative issues appear - some with dubious validity, with similar designs that can almost be described as omnibus issues. Sadly many Jamborees no longer have a post office on site or, at best, a commemorative handstamp posted off site.
As a Club we must accept this progress and that philately no longer attracts younger members; but luckily there is still plenty of interesting material available out there for us to collect, research and display. Members with our specialist knowledge often find bargains even at the largest stamp shows.