Stamp collecting is the gathering and procurement of postage stamps and is one of the most popular hobbies throughout the world. As of late, there has been a resurgence of stamp collecting within China.
Under the reign of Mao Zedong, stamp collecting in China was banned. Zedong despised this hobby because he saw it as a bourgeois activity. However, China has since dropped this negative view on collecting stamps. In fact, stamp collecting is now seen as a status symbol. A full third of all philatelists (stamp collectors) reside in China. By collecting stamps, the Chinese are seen as a part of the middle class, a status that carries with it an indication of refinement and the pursuit of knowledge.
Stamp collecting first starts with collectors obtaining stamps of their own regions. Since a third of stamp collectors live in China, it makes sense that Chinese stamps make up a sizable section in the collection market. There are around 50,000 stamp collecting associations within China.
Chinese collectors, like other collectors, start by stockpiling stamps from their own region. Once they have been collecting for a while, they start to broaden their horizons by searching out stamps from other regions in China as well as in other countries.
Chinese stamps originated with the Qing Dynasty in 1878. These stamps held the image of a dragon against a background of clouds and rolling waves. Naturally, these stamps would be quite sought after by Chinese and non-Chinese alike.
China often uses stamps to foster an interest in their own national history. It is for this reason that most Chinese stamps will have the image of historic Chinese events or important people within their culture. Chinese stamps are among some of the rarest and most valuable stamps out there. If someone was interested in beginning a collection, Chinese stamps would be a great start point.