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Collecting Stamps: An Interview With Malphd

by kuroge


Also by malphd

I’m sure that throughout your voyage across Neopia, you’ve stumbled across at least a handful of different stamps. Perhaps you placed them in your album, or perhaps you sold them in your shop. Either way, it cannot be challenged that stamps are a very pervasive aspect of the Neopian community.

Each stamp can be compared to an individual water molecule. Alone, a water molecule is just another compound; however, together, water molecules form hydrogen bonds that allow for their almost magical properties of sustaining life. Similarly, each stamp alone might seem insignificant, but grouped together in a collection, a sense of wholeness is created that is certainly worthy of praise.

Whether you have had little exposure to stamps or are an avid stamp collector, I’m sure you are curious as to how some dedicated Neopians have accumulated so many stamps! I’m here with malphd today to talk to you about the experiences of one very committed and enthusiastic stamp collector. There are currently over 550 stamps, and she is missing only a handful of them. Here, she’ll discuss the origins of her stamp collecting hobby, and her opinions on various issues related to stamp collecting.

How long have you been collecting stamps?

I’ve been collecting stamps since November of 2002.

Stamp collecting can seem very daunting; how did you manage to keep collecting over the years?

When I just started playing Neopets, I wasn’t making a lot of neopoints, so I just started buying the cheapest stamps I could find. Consequently, my collection at first was quite small. Not long after I started, I joined the Stamp World Guild, and only then had I begun to realize that there were more expensive stamps. I was never an expert at making neopoints, but I didn’t let that fact stop me from pursuing rarer stamps. I persistently kept adding as many stamps to my growing album as I could. Back then, when I was more naïve, I was ignorant about retired stamps and price inflation. Therefore, it was not a priority in my early days of stamp collecting to gather the limited edition stamps. Unfortunately, the prices of those stamps are now outrageously high, so it will be very difficult to obtain the few remaining retired stamps that I still need.

What do you like about collecting stamps?

I like collecting stamps, because I see it as a clearly defined goal: to get all the stamps. It just fits my personality to have a checklist of sorts that I need to complete. Even though I’ve been on my quest finish my stamp album for such a long time, I still enjoy having a checklist to complete. It is also fun to be one of the top collectors and being considered as an expert on stamp collecting.

How has stamp collecting changed over the years?

When I first started collecting stamps, there were fewer collectors, and we all enjoyed working together to complete our albums. It was more of a group activity. Now, stamp collecting has ascended in importance, especially with the introduction of the prestigious stamp avatars. Furthermore, in the past, stamps were released less frequently, so you had ample time to work hard and save up neopoints to purchase the ones you were missing. Unfortunately, TNT is currently releasing them at a very fast pace, and it can be hard to keep up. Also, with the introduction of the stamp avatars, price inflation has become a very big issue. Demand for certain stamps have driven prices extremely high.

What is your opinion of stamp avatars?

I didn’t mind the release of stamp avatars at first. It was a nice way to be recognized for being a serious collector. However, I'm not too happy with the new stamp avatars, because I think stamp avatars have lost their charm—since there are so many of them right now. It has also changed how stamps are bought and sold. There are people who hoard stamps, waiting for a new stamp avatar to be released, and this changes the feeling of stamp collecting for the worse.

Which stamp and stamp album are your favorites?

I like the Haunted Woods album the most. The Scary Tree stamp was one of my first expensive purchases. I had to save a ton of neopoints for quite a long time to buy that particular stamp. Although I prefer the traditional stamp pages, I think the Maractite Coins are fun to collect as well. While they are similar in design, there is also a sense of variety amongst different coins. It makes a lot of sense to me that coins found in the sea would be collector items.

How do you obtain your stamps?

Originally, I would purchase them from the Post Office. A few years back I restocked a couple of rare stamps in the Post Office and it was so exciting! Now, due to certain changes in Neopets, I am only able to acquire stamps I need from other players through the Shop Wizard or through the trading post. I have had to become savvy at negotiating prices, which is one of the less fun aspects of stamp collecting. Although I keep collecting stamps, it sometimes saddens me to see resellers hoarding stamps, or TNT using them simply as neopoint sinks.

If there were one thing you could change about the stamp collecting process, what would it be?

I'm happy that there are cheap stamps available to aspiring stamp collectors, and that there are a few serious, but friendly guilds for collectors to join. I think a possible change would be to retire entire pages of stamps. The Post Office is becoming too cluttered with low rarity stamps. Therefore, retiring some of the original pages might make stamp collecting more attractive to new players and raise the availability of newer stamps.

Any last advice for enthusiastic stamp collectors out there?

Just have fun with it. If you make an effort to add new stamps as often as you can, your collection will slowly build and surprise you!

Thank you, malphd, for taking the time to answer these questions. Stamp collecting is truly a fascinating hobby, and I encourage all Neopians to try it. There are so many stamps that collecting them may seem almost scary at first; however, with perseverance, you could be one of the top collectors one day! As indicated by malphd, stamp collecting requires a lot of time and effort, but can be very worthwhile.

There are a variety of reasons as to why Neopians start collecting stamps. Some think collecting stamps are fun, while others are aiming for those sublime avatars; malphd herself started because she was gifted a Tyrannian Elephante Stamp. It takes only one stamp to start your collection, and, in the future, you might be very grateful that you started collecting them!

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