Notes from the Past

Crests vs. Stamp Collecting

In the early days of stamp collecting, say ninety years ago, the hobby of "crest" collecting was a strong competitor for favor, particularly so in England.  Many stamp dealers of the time also handled crests, cut square and in various forms, in sets and packets of considerable variety.  Albums for crests were available and I have one such collection before me that closely resembles the stamp album of the same period, blank pages with ruled squares, an album substantially bound with brass clasps and no doubt even then an expensive purchase.  It was Paris-made.

There are a thousand or more varieties in this collection: entwined initials, family coats of arms, crests and seals of royalty and nobility, colleges and schools, insignia of British regiments and naval vessels, etc., all in an extensive range of colors.  Stamp collecting was hardier and thrived and multiplied over the years, while the interest in crests waned and faded away.  Apparently it was a form of collecting which was popular in England and on the Continent but it seems it never caught hold in the United States.  Nevertheless, it is a fascinating old collection.

- George B. Sloane
Sloane's Column
March 19, 1955
Posted July 18, 1999

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