Monday, January 3, 2011

memories of collecting

I used to collect stickers when I was a child, kneeling on asphalt at lunchtimes to swap 'furry ones' for 'shiny ones', 'scratch-and-sniffs' for those of my favourite cartoon character. I still have some of these stickers in an old lunch box. Stickers were also used in pneumatic postal systems, such as these from Berlin:

They look a little like stamps with their perforated edges. I loved collecting stamps too when I was a little older. My Canadian grandfather would send me miniature envelopes made from a clear waxy paper, filled with stamps from wonderfully exotic destinations. Some I was to keep and others were labelled in his curly, warbly writing with: 'for swaps'. Just like the stickers above, there have also been pneumatic postage stamps, as shown in a recent post, and also issued most famously by the Italian postal system.

I don't collect postage stamps anymore but seem to have a growing collection of rubber stamps for my correspondence. Rubber stamping is yet another way of marking pneumatic mail, and it was only recently that I wrote about franking stamps on this blog.

It should be of no surprise then that pneumatic tube systems have fascinated collectors for decades. Some may be serious collectors with rare stamps and vintage brass cylinders that fetch high prices on ebay. Others may just love collecting images of these systems on the internet. Collections are the archives of the curious, housed in cupboards, stamp shops, blogs, museums, galleries, sheds and shoeboxes. There is a superb exhibition on this topic at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, which I visited on the weekend. The exhibition emphasises not only the politics of collecting, but also that we are all collectors in some way ...

All images from Wikipedia

1 comment:

  1. I love your latest posts. It could be that a little grey furry mouse sticker found its way onto one of my birthday card envelopes. Might have been found by one of the houseguests in that room. Are these stickers collectors' items?