While it is very enjoyable to find, collect and identify fungi
simply for pleasure, there are additional rewards for those
willing to put even more time into the hobby. Of course one
could collect mushrooms for food, there is a long tradition
of doing so, but not without some risk. So..if you are not
confident in your skills to identify food fungi, how about
collecting fungi in a different way... on stamps! No field
The hobby of collecting and studying postal stationery and
postage stamps is called philately. Its name originates from
two Greek words, phil-, a fondness for, and ateleia, tax exemption!
Stamps exempt the recipient from having to pay mailing charges.
The first postage stamp was the British Penny Black, issued
in London, during May of 1840. Other countries quickly began
producing postage, with Brazil's first issue in 1843 and the
United States in 1847. France and Belgium both issued their
first stamp in 1849.
Stamp collecting as a hobby, followed soon after, probably
in the early 1860s. Collectors in London's sister city Paris
published the first stamp catalogue (lists of stamps with
their prices), and christened the hobby philately.
Collectors collect in several ways. Some amass worldwide collections,
with stamps from many different countries and of many different
types. Others collect from only a select group of countries.
Still others collect stamps depicting only certain topics.
Popular topics include transportation, royal families, animals
As mushrooms and other fungi are found on all continents,
most countries have issued postage stamps depicting them.
Some are representative of edible fungi or poisonous ones
or simply beautiful ones. Here is a sample list of countries
who have included fungi in their recent issues:
of Man (UK)
Pierre et Miquelon 1987-90
can be mounted with hinges on album pages or placed in clear
sleeves. Visit your local stamp dealer or stamp club to find