What is "Thematic Collecting"

There are no limits to a thematic collection in terms of what is collected and how it is to be arranged. A collection can be composed of various philatelic objects, such as   
    stamps (with or without: souvenir sheets, stamp books, complete sheets, local/personalized issues, ...)
    postal stationeries
    meter marks
    perfins
    cancellations

    cancellations of courier services

    FDC, Maxi-Cards

   
Letters with imprint of bicycle manufacturers, associations, clubs, ...
   
 
On the subject of bicycles, the available material is not as extensive as in railways, but nevertheless there is material in abundance. For example one could build up a very extensive special-collection alone with cancellations of the Tour de France stages. Therefore one will restrict oneself to certain objects (e.g., stamps only) or certain sub-topics (e.g., sports only) - at least at the beginning of ones collecting activity.
 
Of the well-known publishers, there is no catalog on the subject of bicycles. So you don’t have to strive to be complete as possible.

There is also no subscription: you have to go hunting and you can personally decide what you want to bring home. Good luck and have a lot of fun.
 

Cancelled or mint?
In most thematic collections cancelled and mint stamps are peacefully combined. Hardly anyone will have the idea to build up a cancelled and a mint collection in parallel.
Nevertheless there is a tendency to mint stamps, since the motive is not affected by a cancellation. In case of a small bicycle illustration, a cancellation can lead to a total disappearance of the bicycle:

Philately-Thematic-Collecting-Philatelie-Motiv-Briefmarken-Sammeln-Philatelie-Thematique-Timbre-Filatelia-Tematica-Sello-Recoleccion-Tema-Timbro-Raccolta-francobollo-small-bicycle 

On the other hand, a cancellation speaks and with this additional information, it is usually possible to draw conclusions as to whether the stamp is a real stamp or only a piece of paper that was printed in order to pull the money out of our pockets. Have you ever seen this object on a genuine used letter?

Philately-Thematic-Collecting-Philatelie-Motiv-Briefmarken-Sammeln-Philatelie-Thematique-Timbre-Filatelia-Tematica-Sello-Recoleccion-Tema-Timbro-Raccolta-francobollo-MARILYN-MONROE

Not me. Some “gum collectors” will have problems to find mint perfins and will accept the primitive cancellation and handwritten doodle on this stamp:

Philately-Thematic-Collecting-Philatelie-Motiv-Briefmarken-Sammeln-Philatelie-Thematique-Timbre-Filatelia-Tematica-Sello-Recoleccion-Tema-Timbro-Raccolta-francobollo-condord-bicycle 

 

Purchase
The easiest way is: note the RE-numbers from the online catalog of this website and send them to your dealer - together with a link to BICYCLE PHILATELY (http://bicyclestamps.de/). The dealer gets all required data (country, date of issue, issue occasion, face value) for each item/RE-number by using the search function on the website. The additional information that the image provides is particularly important with complete sheets. This means that you are independent of the standard catalog numbers, which are often published for many countries only years later. This saves you from going to the public library or to your club house. (Nowadays most of the public libraries in Germany have only few catalogs for cost reasons.)

Purchase in the internet: if you enter the terms "bicycle & stamps" on Google you will be shown millions of sites:

Philately-Thematic-Collecting-Philatelie-Motiv-Briefmarken-Sammeln-Philatelie-Thematique-Timbre-Filatelia-Tematica-Sello-Recoleccion-Tema-Timbro-Raccolta-francobollo-ebay-delcampe-bicycle-google 

Many of these links lead to the auction platforms of ebay, delcampe, .... As an advanced collector, one will seldom buy more than 2 or 3 items from a vendor. Disadvantage: comparatively high additional fees for postage, PayPal and possibly customs are added.

At major online shops, such as Postbeeld, one can reduce the relative share of shipping costs by purchasing several articles. However, you often can buy only complete sets. There are also specialized shops, for example for modern German local stamps: Briefmarken Haller, Schaubek GmbH, ...

New issues can also be ordered directly from postal administrations. This saves the dealer markup. Sometimes a free shipping is offered from a certain order sum, e.g Switzerland, ...

From time to time, larger thematic collections are offered at auction houses. These are a good basis for beginners. Disadvantage: the hunting factor is missing and for the advanced collector they often contain too many duplicates.  Bids can be placed by phone, fax or email these days. Rare bicycle stamps find their new owner mostly through these auction houses.

Check the category ADS (advertisements) of this website from time to time – maybe something interesting is offered there.

 

Single stamps - complete sets
It is your fundamental decision to collect either single stamps or complete sets. Dealers like to sell complete (mint) sets of stamps - that brings more turnover. Collecting complete sets facilitates resale, but the amount of money, space and administration needed is enormous. 

Stamps with a catalog value below 5 € have actually no real value - unless they are mint and still valid for postage. They are available in abundance - the demand of all interested collectors can easily be covered. The purchase price is to be regarded rather as payment on the merchant service. Accordingly, it will be difficult to recover the originally paid price on a resale. One reason more to collect single stamps instead of sets.

Collecting single stamps instead of sets is sometimes also not so easy:

Philately-Thematic-Collecting-Philatelie-Motiv-Briefmarken-Sammeln-Philatelie-Thematique-Timbre-Filatelia-Tematica-Sello-Recoleccion-Tema-Timbro-Raccolta-francobollo-cayman-bicycle 

In this example for us only the stamp with the smallest face value of 20 cents is of interest, but not the whole set of seven (face value: $ 6). There are two possibilities:

   you can buy a cancelled 20 c stamp, which is offered also as single item or

   you purchase a complete mint set and resale the stamps not needed on the platform of an internet auction house. This is very time-consuming and the gymnastics and swimming stamp will never find a buyer.

Do you have an alternative? Then please send an email to contact[at]bicyclestamps.de

 

Storage
There are no pre-printed albums for a bicycle motif collection. This is perhaps also good.
Starting with a stock book most of us collectors will land sooner or later with loose, self-designed pages, which offer a lot of design freedom:

Philately-Thematic-Collecting-Philatelie-Motiv-Briefmarken-Sammeln-Philatelie-Thematique-Timbre-Filatelia-Tematica-Sello-Recoleccion-Tema-Timbro-Raccolta-francobollo-sample-page

Recommendations for the protection of stamps:

    thick paper: > 160 g/m² (if a printer is to be used, make sure that it can pull through this paper thickness)
    quality mounts, e.g Hawid, ...
    copysafe/d
ocumentary (clear) cover, PP
    folder with 4 rings

 With loose pages one has more work than with stock books, but one remains flexible and does not have to reorder so frequently when new entries are to be stored.

 

Arranging
“Topic collection”: the stamps are arranged according to the classical method - as the catalogs do:
continent
    country
       year
          issue date

“Thematic collection”: It makes sense and is more common to arrange a thematic collection by theme, e.g. historical development, Olympic Games, postal delivery, ...  The online-catalog of this website is sorted by such categories:

 Philately-Thematic-Collecting-Philatelie-Motiv-Briefmarken-Sammeln-Philatelie-Thematique-Timbre-Filatelia-Tematica-Sello-Recoleccion-Tema-Timbro-Raccolta-francobollo-category-catalog

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

The more detailed your categorization is, the more frequently it will happen that you can assign a stamp to several categories. So you need a good memory or a separate list to find your stamps again.

 

Exhibiting
A thematic collection usually includes a brief description of selected objects. These may be philatelic notes (e.g. peculiarities of perforation, of watermarks, of printing, etc.) or background information of any kind. These descriptions are not just as a thought-support for yourself – they are an information for other interested parties (not just philatelists). The Internet offers wonderful research possibilities. You could fill whole pages with text. So it is necessary to reduce the abundance of information to a tolerable minimum.

But who is interested in our work? Lucky is the one, who’s wife (or husband) or even who’s children are infected by his passion for collecting. But usually you have to be happy if your own family tolerates your activities. Fellow collectors are much more open-minded. A small presentation at the club meeting is a welcome addition to all participants. Other suitable places could be

the pub around the corner:

in the pub                

 

the bicycle shop:

in the bicycle shop

 

the waiting room at the doctor:

 Philately-Thematic-Collecting-Philatelie-Motiv-Briefmarken-Sammeln-Philatelie-Thematique-Timbre-Filatelia-Tematica-Sello-Recoleccion-Tema-Timbro-Raccolta-francobollo-doctor-accident          

 

a bicycle museum:

in the museum

the savings bank, a cycling event, ....

With the abundance of available bicycle stamps, the selection of exhibited stamps can be adapted to the locality or to the occasion.   

Official stamp exhibitions, such as you find on stamp fairs, are subject to strict regulations. Here, the motif becomes easily a side issue. Something for the more advanced collector who wishes to compete for points and medals. 

If you send your scans of your exhibition to contact[at]bicyclestamps.de, they will be set on the website BICYCLE PHILATELY in the category "LINKS" under "Virtual Exhibits". In this way of course, the largest number of interested parties can be reached. You can then surprise your friends and fellow collectors with a referring link. I'm looking forward to your email!

 

**********************   SUMMERY   **********************

There are no rules  - if you are not exhibiting -

Let your own taste and interest be your guide.

************************************************************


 References:

„Stamps On Wheels“ by Gabe Konrad, published in „On the wheel“, see also BS33_28

 “Storing Your Stamp Collection” by Gábor L. Konrád, see BS35_28

1. „Das Sammelgut für die Motivsammler";    2." Ausarbeitung einer Motivsammlung“ by Hans-Walter Bosserhoff

"Thematic Philately" by John Hayward