Franklin Roosvelt – America’s president who changed the nature of stamp collecting forever

January 7th, 2015 would like to involve our readers in the fascinating history of philately by sharing interesting information about famous philatelists, philatelic events, rare or extraordinary stamps etc. This article is dedicated to the person who was, first of all, great and the most long-serving America's President, and, secondly, an avid stamp collector who changed the nature of stamp collecting forever

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FRD) began collecting as an eight-year-old thanked to his mother who was also fascinated by this hobby. Sara Delano Roosevelt had been a stamp collector as a child, her collection bolstered by her father’s frequent trips to the Far East.

“At the time, collecting was thought to be a child’s hobby,” says Anthony Musso, author of FDR and the Post Office, a historical account of Roosevelt’s devotion to stamps and the Post Office™ Department. “An adult would never waste his time collecting stamps.” FDR’s collection grew, and several years later, he received his mother’s collection, which was passed to him through the hands of her younger brother, Frederic.
This hobby was no longer considered to be exceptionally for kids when the President of the United States collected stamps and spent hours working on his collection.

Roosevelt collected stamps with an educational aim. He put all the stamps in a special album where he gave special historic notices to each philatelic item. These historical insights helped the future President to get political strength and success.

Although Roosevelt collected all stamps, he gave the priority to the issues of Hong Kong and the British islands of the Caribbean.

The President was also a great supporter of the Post Office Department. His first Postmaster General, James Farley, agreed that collectors shouldn’t get their first glimpse of new stamps at the purchasing window at the Post Office™. Roosevelt suggested philatelic windows, displays where collectors could take their time looking at new issuances rather than having to wait in line for the clerk to show them.

As an adult Roosevelt began to put all the stamps in a special wooden box which accompanied him everywhere. An exception was the day of his death: Roosevelt died in Warm Springs, Georgia, on April 12, 1945, his wooden box wasn’t with him; a friend had borrowed it to have a leather replica made.

As an adult Roosevelt began to put all the stamps in a special wooden stamp box which accompanied him everywhere

Upon Roosevelt`s death, his stamp collection was put up for sale at a public auction. Appraised at $80,000, the collection brought many times that amount. The lot was auctioned in 1946 for about a quarter of a million dollars.

Roosevelt`s collecting interest bears us an important message.

“Roosevelt taught us that there is value to collecting apart from financial worth,” Musso says. “The intellectual pleasure, the learning — those are what mattered most.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt working on his stamp collection