Promoting the Image of Scouting Through Stamp Exhibition
Berthold DH Sinaulan

Stamp collecting once was described as "hobby of the kings".  This is because many kings, queens, nation leaders and statesmen, like to collect stamps.  But today, stamp collecting is a very widespread hobby.  Not only the nation leaders and statesmen, but also almost everyone like this hobby.

From children to old people, ladies and gentlemen, people in every point of compass, like to collect stamp.  That is why besides being described as "hobby of the kings", people also describe stamp collecting as "kings of the hobbies".  Maybe no other hobby can attract so many people like stamp collecting.

Today there are more than 200 million stamp collectors (also called as "philatelist") around the world.  Among them, five percent are very active in this hobby.  (Just for your information, there are more than 800,000 stamp collectors in Indonesia, and among them about 25,000 collectors are very active).

George Griffenhagen and Jerome Husak on their book Adventures in Topical Stamp Collecting (1997) wrote, "The issuance of the world's first adhesive postage stamps by Great Britain in 1840 laid the foundation for one of the most popular hobby that mankind has yet discovered."

A "Colourful" Hobby
As we talk about stamp collecting, I must inform those who are new with this hobby, that more and more stamp collectors now add other postal items in their collection.  Besides postage stamps, they also collect stamped cover (envelope), postal card, and even postmark/postal cancellation.

The fact that there are many varied items to collect, makes stamp collecting a "colourful" hobby.  And "more colourful" of this hobby is because we can exhibit our collection in stamp exhibition.  This stamp exhibition could be in our local area, district, province, regional, and also there are many international and world stamp exhibition held every year.

Just almost the same time with the APR Public Relation and Information Technology Workshop held in Sarawak, Malaysia, there is a world stamp exhibition "The Stamp Show 2000" which been held in London, England.  At the same city, there also a special stamp exhibition for Scouts on stamps collector, to commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the first stamp depicting Baden-Powell, Chief Scout of the World.  The stamp was issued in Mafeking on May 1900.

Through this stamp exhibition, members of the Scout movement can also promote the good image of Scouting.  But how?

Thematic Collection
One way to collect stamps is by specializing in thematic or topical collection.  The American Topical Association (ATA) defines a thematic/topical collection as one that "consists of stamps and other philatelic material which are chosen for their design, rather than for the countries that issued them or the class of postal service they provide".

So far, there are at least top ten theme/topics in stamps collecting.  They are: flora, fauna, transportation, art and culture, architecture, famous people, sports, (air) space, Scouting, and map/geography.

It shows that Scouting is one of the top ten thematic/topical collection for the stamp collectors.  So, there are many collectors or also known as philatelists, who like to collect any philatelic items with the theme of Scouting.

For the Scouting movement, this is a chance to promote the image of Scouting to the public through a stamp or philatelic exhibition.

For example, through a collection of philatelic items, we can promote how Scouting help the environmental activities, perhaps by exhibiting stamps depicting scouts help reforestation, Scouts taking care of animals, Scouts helping to clean the city, Scouts traveling through an open air with a beautiful landscape in the background, and so on.

There a lot of Scouts on stamps issued by many countries around the world.  The first related Scout stamp could be traced back as far as to the Mafeking stamp issued in 1900, depicting Colonel Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell in his military uniform as the commander of British Army in Mafeking (now in South Africa).  Baden-Powell later became the founder of Scouting movement.

Many Scout jamborees had also been commemorated in stamps.  The first world Scout jamboree stamp was issued in Hungary in 1933, to commemorate the world scout jamboree in that country.  In 1937, besides Netherlands as the host country for the world jamboree, Netherland Indies (now Indonesia) also issued stamps to commemorate the world Scout jamboree in Vogelenzang, Netherland.

Until today, many countries still issue stamps depicting Scouts or related events/items to Scouts.  With these stamps and other philatelic items, we can promote the good image of Scouting movement.

As I have already mention before, there are lot of stamp exhibition.  Many people attended stamp exhibition.  From children to old people, students to professors, labour to a very wealthy business people, like to see stamp exhibition.

By exhibiting Scouts on stamps collection, we can tell them that Scouting is a very positive educational movement for the youth, more than just a group of campers.  So, why not beginning to collect stamps with the theme of Scouting, and having them exhibited someday?

This paper was given to participants of the Asia-Pacific Regional Scout Workshop on Public Relation and Information Technology, held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, 24-28 May 2000.

SOSSI Journal, Volume 49, Number 6, November/December 2000
Created by Keith Larson