Synopses & Reviews
"'I have built up a stamp collection I can barely afford,' Garfield confesses, 'and it has brought me to the brink of ruin.' Yet despite a significant amount of autobiographical candor, his story doesn't quite deliver the emotional wallop promised in those opening lines. His youthful enthusiasm for stamp collecting, as well as the rediscovery of that passion in his mid-40s, when he has the income to buy the stamps he always dreamed about owning as a boy, are richly detailed. The few passages depicting the personal consequences of that pursuit, however, are too detached. Several digressions into the history of stamps and stamp collecting slow the narrative, which picks up energy only when Garfield returns to his most intimate interest his focus on collecting only rare stamps that contain printing errors, for example, or tracking down the young girl who won a design competition he entered as a young boy decades ago. Garfield hits upon some interesting psychological questions about the nature of collecting all sorts of material objects, but it often feels like he is writing around the heart of his story." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
From the author of "Mauve" comes an obsessively readable memoir that brings the mania for stamp collecting to life. Garfield intertwines the story of his philatelic obsession with an honest and engrossing exploration of the rarities and absences that both limit and define individuals.
From the author of Mauve, an obsessively readable memoir that brings the mania for stamp collecting to life From the Penny Red to the Blue Mauritius, generations of collectors have been drawn to the mystique of rare stamps.
Once a widespread pastime of schoolboys, philately has increasingly become the province of older men obsessed with the shrewd investment, the once-in-a-lifetime find, the one elusive beauty that will complete a collection and satisfy an unquenchable thirst.
As a boy, Simon Garfield collected errorsrare pigment misprints that create ghostly absences in certain stamps.
When this passion reignited in his mid-forties, it consumed him. In the span of a couple of years he amassed a collection of errors worth upwards of forty thousand pounds, pursuing not only this secret passion, but a romantic one as his marriage disintegrated.
In this unique memoir, Simon Garfield twines the story of his philatelic obsession with an honest and engrossing exploration of the rarities and absences that both limit and define us.The end result is a thoughtful, funny, and enticing meditation on the impulse to possess.
About the Author
SIMON GARFIELD is a feature writer at the Observer (London) and the author of nine works of nonfiction, including Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World, which was a New York Times Notable Book, and The End of Innocence, which won the Somerset Maugham Prize in 1995.
Table of Contents
1 The Perfect Stamp 1
2 Gutter Pairs 13
3 Imaginings 42
4 My Dealer 61
5 Not Alone 78
6 Almost Blue 94
7 Heinz 122
8 Missing T 130
9 Mounts Long Dry 154
10 Not for Sale 176
11 Perforations 193
12 The Error World 207