Published in the March, 2015 newsletter of the Wayne County Gem and Mineral Club (www.wcgmc.org)
It is the middle of February in upstate New York and the weather outside is not particularly conducive to mineral and fossil digs. Yes, I can plan, and I am. Yes, I can clean and organize last year’s bounty, and I try to make time for that, but even the rocks in the garden remain covered and out of reach. BUT, there is another way to collect minerals in the winter and I keep busy doing just that when the spirit moves. They can be collected on postage stamps.
Did you know that there is an international organization of folks who collect gems and minerals on postage stamps? They call themselves the Gems, Minerals and Jewelry Study Unit (GMJSU) and they are one of 52 active affiliate organizations of the American Topical Association (ATA), a philatelic organization with almost 3000 thematic stamp collectors worldwide. The GMJSU publishes a quarterly newsletter called Philagems International and maintains an Excel spreadsheet listing all stamps depicting minerals, gems, and mining. At last count there are over 2700 individual listings although many reflect sets of stamps so the list of actual stamps is larger. Of those listings, over 1500 are identified as strictly mineral stamps and over 400 as gem stamps. Over 90 countries are represented on the list.