When I was in Cork over the weekend (more on this anon), my mother made me clear out some of the accumulated papers which had settled down in my old bedroom.
One of the things I found was a House of Floris box; does anyone remember these? My father used to bring them to my mother from London when he went there for work in the 70s and there was a really delicious one with a crystallised violet on the top (or something purple, maybe it was just a sugar violet, same difference). A trawl of the internet failed to turn up a copy of the cover so sparing no expense, I have taken the box from, possibly, 1976 and scanned it. Now you too can gaze at that familiar cover and remember biting off the crystallised violets, or possibly not.
Why, you might ask yourself, did I keep a box from the 1970s, well, obviously, because that’s where I kept my stamp collection. To form the core of my collection, I was given a number of stamps which I carefully affixed to my album, using hinges, remember those? What I did not properly appreciate at the time was that my father had kindly given me his collection and also my Great Uncle Jack’s.
Great Uncle Jack’s collection goes from the late 1890s to the early part of the 20th century (he seems to have given up collecting about 1902). This is the cover of his stamp album:
And here is an exciting sample page:
I thought you might like to see the list of countries (you can’t fool me, if you’re reading this post, you’re that kind of person). I’ve only done page one; that’s enough for you, no sense in overdoing it.
My father’s period of stamp collecting covered the period 1938-39. Here’s the cover of his album:
And here’s a sample page:
You will appreciate that 1938/39 was a difficult time for the stamp collector as borders began to move with some rapidity. The index of countries had to be considerably amended by the careful owner to reflect the progress of the advancing German armies.
I think that a quick look at the cover of my album will show how the romance had gone out of stamp collecting by the 1970s:
I mean, it didn’t even have an index, is it any wonder I became disillusioned?