Thematic Stamp Collecting


One popular way to form a stamp collection is to have it center around a particular theme or topic. There are lots of themes to choose from – the British Thematic Association lists around 800 or so – and a collector’s topical collection leaves a lot of room for research and creativity. Let’s take a look at a few ideas.



Various modes of transportation have all appeared on stamps around the world, from ship and train to airplane and automobile. If the 1902 and 1952 cars featured on the American Automobile Association postage stamp appeal to you, then that could be a great place to start.


Famous People

Members of royalty have appeared on postage stamps since the very first one issued, and continue to do so today. The same can be said for historical figures, political leaders, writers, artists, and so on.



Pope John Paul IStamps related to religion, religious figures, and religious holidays (like Christmas, Easter, and Eid al-Fitr) are interesting and relatively easy to find. Some items in this category might surprise you, like the 1982 U.S. postage stamp honoring St Francis of Assisi or the 1979 French stamp depicting a statue of Buddha from the Temple of Borobudur, Java.




Flora and Fauna

Bird on postage stampsLike flowers? So do the world’s postage-issuing authorities. What about horses? Or cats and dogs? These all appear on many, many postage stamps, as do butterflies, birds, farm animals, reptiles, and more.

The truth is, it’s difficult to think of a subject that isn’t represented on postage stamps, from art and archaeology to science and space exploration. So choose your topic and start having fun! The main point in thematic stamp collecting is to enjoy oneself. Because, as John Hayward points out in an excellent article entitled, Thematic Philately (available in pdf format), “Thematic collectors do whatever gives them the most satisfaction.”



American Topical Association

British Thematic Association