Many times over the years I’ve bought a vintage item and wondered about the original owner of the item. Like the embroidered pillowcases I bought not too long ago. They were perfectly starched and were wrapped up as if they had been a part of a young bride’s hope chest. I can assure you that I tried not to think about the previous owner of the chamber pot I purchased many years ago. The pot is beautiful …but some things I don’t want to know!
Back to thinking about owners. Recently I attended a silent auction and while looking at all the items being sold, one item caught my eye. After looking more closely and reading the description I discovered a stamp collection was being auctioned off but no one had bid. So I did, and I won.
Forty years of French stamps.
After taking the book home I just couldn’t stop wondering about the collector. So I did some investigating and here is what I found out.
The collector began collecting at the age of 6. Her father was an importer/exporter in New York so international mail was always arriving in his office. She took advantage of it and amassed a large collection of stamps.
At one point the collector decided to give away her lifetime collection of stamps and stopped collecting.
But then forty years ago she started again but this time she focused on collecting stamps from specific countries for the purpose of using them in art projects and history studies. She has an extensive collection of African stamps focused on French West Africa.
My auction purchase represents one third of the collector’s holdings of French stamps from the past few decades.
If this weren’t interesting enough, I went on to discover that the collector is a former U.S. Government intelligence officer (CIA).
She was so kind to offer to send me beautiful papers for mounting but for now I love being able to look through the book to see the beautiful items individually.