From Topical Stamp Collecting to Thematic Exhibiting

Tatty Yellow Bear Postman

You’ve got mail!

The Topical Time,  Journal of Thematic Philately, published by the American Topical Association just came in!

 Such a joyful moment. :-)


ATA Topical Time Magazine - January February 2012

The magazine’s front cover features an article by David McNamee, From Topical Collecting to Thematic Exhibiting  which storytells how he went from a “topical collector” to a successful “thematic exhibitor”.

‘ I have collected Pacific island canoes on stamps for more than 35 years. I have a exhibit built from this collection, The Canoe in Pacific Island Culture. I found out quickly that they are fundamental differences between topical collecting and thematic exhibiting. The following steps describes the issues that I faced as a topical collector thinking of thematic exhibiting for the first time. I learned a few lessons along the way that might be helpful to others.’

Source: Topical Time, February 2012

fiji-canoes-scott383-1977-set4-postage stamps

Fiji - 1977 - Canoes - Scott 380-383















Along with sound advice, tips and tricks, David talks about the path he followed to reach successful exhibiting, and his story will help many stamp collectors and philatelists understand why it is important to vary the elements on each page of an exhibit.

As the author points out,  developing “curosity about the “why” and “how” of your subject” brings you to the discovery of related philatelic or non-philatelic material such as artist’s sketches, watercolor essays, postcards, and more.

As an example, this Tonga’s non conventional shaped picturing bananas which were transported aboard canoes.


Tonga Banana Die-Cut Issues on Envelope - Postal History

Airmail cover sent Tonga to Auckland NZ 1977 11s Centenary plus 2s Banana & 4s Banana stamps used, nice commercial usage, 4s Banana has black error, part G & outlined lettering


The Ah-Ah Moment!

‘(…) Take time to find your story. I always had in mind to “do something” with my canoe stamps. I was not sure how I could make an exhibit out of a bunch of mint stamps and a few covers.  (…)

I just could not figure out the framework to develop the canoe exhibit.

After a lot of thought over a period of a couple of years, it finally came to me that the story to be told is the origins and dispersion of the Pacific Island people and their culture over the world’s largest ocean. The canoe was the vital link”! (…)

Source: From Topical Stamp Collecting to Thematic Exhibiting , David McNamee, in Topical Time, February 2012


nauru-canoe-stamps-1975-scott 127a

Nauru - 1975 - Canoes - Scott 127a

Short Bio

David McNamee exhibits Van Diemen’s Land and Tasmania in the United States and Australia. Also an APS-accredited Chief Philatelic Judge, treasurer and board member of American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors (AAPE) and active locally, nationally and internationally in many other philatelic organizations. He resides in Northern California.

To learn more on how to bring to life all those beautiful topical stamps you’ve collected over the years, visit the  American Topical Association website .

Members at American Topical Association Show Booth

Members at the American Topical Association Show Booth


Topical Time - Jan/Feb 2012

Topical Time - January /February 2012 Vol.63 No 1.

Enjoy and talk soon,


ATA Member #48264


The Nuclear Option - A Philatelic Catalog and Reference Book On Atomic Stamps

It took four years for Rev John Walden, a keen stamp collector since the age of eight and veteran of Britain’s atomic testing programme, to showcase his  topical stamp collection on the subject of atoms, inside a heavy 560 pages illustrated book!

At the age of 18, he was sent on assignment to Australia inside the RAF Balloon Unit Crew to suspend an atomic bomb beneath three balloons.

“I manhandled the atomic bomb and did receive an overdose but so far I have been very fortunate and have not contracted any of the illnesses that so many other nuclear test veterans have suffered.” Rev John Walden

The Nuclear Option: A Philatelic Documentary is dedicated to the “countless thousands of British servicemen” who were not so lucky.

In addition to the stamps checklists, you will find references to postcards, maps, photographs, metermarks, slogans, cancels, covers and so much more around the discovery of atomic warfare.

Topical Stamp Collecting - Atomic Warfare
The Nuclear Option – A Philatelic Documentary by Rev John Walden


But it is in the area of the “thematic knowledge” that John and his book standout. It is all here, from the biographies of the principal personalities to the technical specifications of the aircraft and ships, the details of the various “operations”, health and social issues, the list is endless and the research it represents is outstanding. Without doubt he has certainly “developped the theme” and “innovation” is constantly displayed.

With forewords by Lord Jack Ashley and R.J. Ritter, Commander NAAV, The Nuclear Option is an invaluable catalog and reference book that, given the completeness of it’s main theme and the bonus of its coverage of a host of other topics, makes it a must for a wide range of thematic collectors and exhibitors.

Extract of the Book Review Column written by Roger Swindells in the  March-April 2010 edition of Topical Time  (ATA)


President of the Norfolk and Norwich Philatelic Society, Rev John Walden lives in Norwich.

Talk soon,


Your Stamp Collecting Queen ;-)


Free Video Reveals #1 Secret To Stamp Collecting!


Did You Forget That Canada Is A Maritime Nation?

With ten of its twelve provinces touching salt water, Canada has the longest coastline of all worldwide nations with borders on three major oceans: Artic, Atlantic and Pacific.

Map of Canada

Map of Canada - 12 provinces

In remembrance and commemoration of 100 years of service of the Canadian Navy (1910-2010), Canada Post issued in May 2010, two commemorative stamps depicting the legacy of the men and women of Canada’s naval forces.

Canadian Navy Stamp Launch 1910-2010

Frontpage - Canadian Stamp News Magazine -

Chief Petty Officer Second Class Cheryl Bush is the woman portrayed on the commemorative stamps. She is seen here, on the front page of the Canadian Stamp News magazine, signing covers at the launch event last May 3rd, hosted by the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.


Canadian Navy Centenary 1910-2010 Stamps

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