The royal family is famous the world over for their weird and wonderful habits and pastimes, some of which date back hundreds of years of history. Whether it’s playing polo, driving horse-drawn carriages or hunting grouse, members of the royal family have very exclusive and classy hobbies.
But did you know that even some of the most privileged people in the world enjoy the same comforts as us? It seems stamp collecting has proven to be a therapeutic hobby for many royals throughout the ages. As normal as it sounds, in royal fashion, the family’s stamp collection is valued at £10million.
The Queen is the fifth royal to be added to the famous royal philatelic collection, following its inauguration by Queen Victoria’s son Prince Alfred in 1864. The prince sold his collection to his brother, the future King Edward VII, who at in turn gave to his son, King George V, then passed on to King George VI and finally to the Queen.
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Stamps first came into circulation on May 6, 1840 at the start of Queen Victoria’s reign, when it only cost a penny to send a letter that weighed less than half an ounce. Of all the royal keepers, King George V was very dedicated to maintaining and growing the collection.
While still Duke of York, Prince George was made Honorary Vice-President of what was to become the Royal Philatelic Society of London in 1893. He also received a book containing 1,500 stamps on the occasion of his marriage to the princess. Mary of Teck from her fellow society members.
King George V’s dedication to his hobby knew no bounds, and he even set the record for the highest price ever paid for a stamp. In 1904, a courtier asked the prince if he had seen “that some damn fool had paid as much as £1,450 for a single stamp”.
George replied, “Yeah, I’m that damn fool.” The pleasure of philately has passed from grandfather to granddaughter. Queen Elizabeth – who called King George V “Grandfather of England” – inherited his 328 stamp albums.
Royal expert Phil Dampier told Fabulous Digital: ‘The Queen loves to show visitors her stamp collection, heads of state who stay at Buckingham Palace say. It is one of her prides and joys, not only because she owns some of the most valuable stamps in the world, but also because she has built on a family treasure and feels a sense of to have done the pride of his father and of the former monarchs who owned it.
The Queen not only left the collection as it was, she added to it. The rarest and most expensive addition was a Mauritius stamp worth £2million. It was featured in a traveling exhibition to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.
The stamp is one of the most prized in the world and was issued by the Colonial Post Office of Mauritius in 1847. The Queen also spent £250,000 on a unique set of 10 Penny Blacks dated the first day they were put into circulation. , May 6, 1840.
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