Adhesive postage stamps have been a feature of the world's postal services since the 1840's. Collectors collect stamps not just for their artistic value but for the stories they tell about the countries they come from. This is because postal stamps tend to be used to encourage national pride and to propagate governments' preferred images of their countries. Stamps from Great Britain, for instance, usually feature flattering portraits of British royalty. Meanwhile, U.S. stamps often bear likenesses of revered presidents, scientists, pop culture icons, and images of national parks. Similarly, Chinese stamps have featured the likes of Mao, as well as depictions of the country's military strength. Read more...

Despite stamps being easy to categorize based on their country of origin, some prefer to collect them based on their topic (animals, flowers, ships, sports, Disney, etc.) rather than where they came from. With the consistent demand for postal service and the popularity of stamp collecting itself, there have been enough stamps printed that there are now stamps for practically any topic. This is one characteristic that makes stamp collecting a rewarding hobby, as it can appeal to not only one's interest in history and culture but to one's interest in just about any other topic as well. With this in mind, it's not surprising that stamps have remained a favorite item of collection for people over such a long period of time. Read less

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