Stamp collecting 集郵

更新時間 2012年 8月 23日, 星期四 - 格林尼治標準時間12:40

Vocabulary: Memorabilia and collections 紀念品和收藏詞語

A stamp celebrating Ben Ainslie's gold medal. Copyright: Royal Mail

Stamps, like this one of Ben Ainslie, were made to celebrate British gold medal winners. (c) Royal Mail

What have former French President Nicholas Sarkozy, ex-Beatles singer John Lennon and female tennis champion Maria Sharapova got in common? They all share a passion for philately, or stamp collecting.

As fewer people send letters to one another, the hobby of stamp collecting has steadily been in decline. But, in tough economic times, the market for desirable stamps has been booming.

A rare stamp in mint condition can hold real value. Collectable or limited-edition stamps can sell for many times their original value. Stamps can even attract serious investors: the Treskilling Yellow, a Swedish stamp originally printed in 1855, was sold at a private auction in 2010 for the sum of $2.3 million (14.6 million yuan).

Stamp memorabilia is also a flourishing business, as they provide great souvenirs for important occasions. They can commemorate important anniversaries, such as Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, or celebrate enduring cultural icons, like The Beatles. Some argue that stamp collecting is also a great way to learn about other nations and their cultures.

Interest in stamp collecting has also grown in emerging economies, such as India and Brazil, as it provides a sound and stable investment opportunity for collectors. In China, where stamp collecting was once seen as a potentially subversive activity, it is now a thriving hobby for millions. Chinese stamps produced in the 1960s during the Cultural Revolution are especially highly-prized, compared with European stamps from the same period.

In the UK, the Royal Mail recently issued a variety of stamps to honour each gold medal winner from Great Britain's successful Olympic team. Stamps are therefore used as a way to venerate national heroes.

Although she herself appears on many UK and Commonwealth stamps, one of the largest collections belongs to Queen Elizabeth II, as she inherited the treasured set from her father, King George V. He amassed a huge compendium after visiting many countries around the world.

So, while some people see stamp collecting as a boring sideline for grey-haired men, it can prove to be an educational and financially astute pastime.

Quiz 測驗

What other name can be used to describe stamp collecting?


What phrase describes an item in a perfect form?

in mint condition

What is the collective term for souvenirs and collectables?


What verb means to honour or revere?

to venerate

What other word in used to describe a collection?


Glossary 词汇表 (点击单词收听发音)

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