Young collectors are always welcome to our Monday evening meetings, bring mom and dad too. The two shows each year, SpringPEX and the Fall Stamp Show will have many stamps set aside just for the younger collector, drop in to a meeting and find out more.
The first adhesive postage stamp, the Penny Black, was launched in Britain in 1840, followed two days later by the Tuppence Blue. Before then, postage had been paid by the recipient rather than the sender.
The gum on the first stamps was made of potato starch, wheat starch and acacia gum. The Post Office called it “cement”, leading to panic that it could be harmful when licked.
Although old, the Penny Black is not rare – 68 million were printed. In excellent condition they can cost as little as £10.
Perforations did not appear until 1854. Before then, stamps had to be cut from their sheet with scissors.
The United Kingdom is the only country that does not have its name on its stamps.
The first person other than a head of state (living or dead) to appear on a stamp was Benjamin Franklin, whose portrait featured on a US 10-cent stamp in 1847.
The first non-royal to appear on a British stamp was William Shakespeare in 1964.
The Pacific island of Tonga once issued a stamp shaped like a banana.
The smallest-ever stamp – 0.4in by 0.3in (9.5mm by 8mm) – was issued in 1863 by the Colombian state of Bolivar.
In 1973 Bhutan issued a stamp that looked like a record and would actually play the Bhutanese national anthem on a record player.
The first self-adhesive stamps were issued by Sierra Leone in 1964.
The most valuable stamp is the 1868 Z Grill, a US stamp acquired in 2005 by Bill Gross, the American bonds guru, in a swap involving a block of four 1918 “Inverted Jenny” stamps worth $3 million.
It is a hobby that has entertained generations of children - collecting stamps and displaying them in a special album.
But the number of young collectors is declining rapidly, raising concerns for the future of the pastime.
The trend has been blamed on a decline in the use of postage stamps, as email and text messages replace traditional letter-writing. Even the post that still lands on doormats is largely in prepaid envelopes.
Kidstamp, the national organisation for junior stamp collectors, now has only 1,000 members, compared to as many as 100,000 who were signed up to a similar organisation in the early 1990s, before the rise of the internet.
Erene Grieve, from the Stamp Active Network – a group dedicated to promoting the hobby among children – said: “The day is coming soon when children will not know what a stamp is. Once exposed to them, they can see the magic of them.