Stamp collection is one of the most popular hobbies around the world.
Thousands of people from different countries, from different cultures collected stamps. It had become so popular, in fact, that some countries began issuing stamps that are meant for collection only for one purpose. Considerable collector stamp sales supplied additional income for their individual governments. Such stamps had no postal value and therefore cannot be used for postage.
Stamp collecting communities in countries like Liechtenstein and Pitcairn Is have tolerated such practice of selling collector stamps. The abuse, however, of the practice of issuing collectors stamps is punishable by law. Still, people and companies had found ways to exploit this practice.
Let’s take stamp dealer and printer Nicholas F. Seebeck, for example. Seebeck, who later worked with the Hamilton Bank Note Engraving and Printing Company, was notorious for printing stamps for Latin American countries and dating those stamps so that they are only valid for a year. He printed those stamps for those countries for free in exchange for the right to reclaim the invalidated stamps, which he sold to collectors all over the world. Every year, unsold stamps were invalidated and every year Seebeck printed out a fresh batch of dated stamps for those countries. He then took back the unsold stamps and sold them to collectors. This practice guaranteed that he stayed in business and made money.
In the 60s, stamp-printing companies like the Barody Stamp Company began creating contracts with several desert states in the Middle East like the UAE or United Arab Emirates. These contracts allowed them to print and produce significant amounts of stamps for those countries.
As a result of such abuses, countries from all over the world started practicing the habit of producing large quantities of an assortment of stamps. In the year 2000, there were about 400,000 different varieties of stamps produced by different countries around the globe.
It was only in recent years that this number dwindled down to 10,000.