Tag Archives: philatelists

Freddie Mercury: stamp collector

Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, was born on this day in 1946. Today would have been his 66th birthday. One of the lesser known facts about Freddie Mercury is that he was a childhood stamp collector, and that his stamp album is part of our collection.

Freddie was born Farrokh Bulsara, into a Zoroastrian family in Zanzibar. In line with his family’s religious beliefs all of his belongings were burnt upon his death, although his father Bomi decided to keep Freddie’s childhood stamp album. Bomi, who was also interested in stamps, originally inspired Freddie’s stamp collecting, and it’s believed that Freddie built up his collection between the ages of nine and twelve.

A page from Freddie Mercury's stamp album.

A page from Freddie Mercury’s stamp album.

Freddie Mercury’s collection includes stamps from a wide range of countries across the world. Many are from the British Empire and those of particular philatelic interest are from Zanzibar. The album also incorporates a wide selection of stamps from Eastern Europe.

One of the most interesting aspects of the collection is the manner in which the stamps are arranged. On some of the album pages the stamps are ordered by colour, size or type. On other pages balanced patterns are created, or letters from the alphabet formed. Perhaps for the future Freddie Mercury the appeal of stamps was as much about their designs and the ways in which they could be displayed as the stamps themselves?

A page from the album where the stamps are arranged to form the letter F.

A page from the album where the stamps are arranged to form the letter F.

Bomi Bulsara eventually decided to auction his and Freddie Mercury’s stamp collections and the BPMA, then the National Postal Museum, purchased the album on 17th December 1993. The amount paid was donated to the Mercury Phoenix Trust, an AIDS charity set up in remember Freddie.

Visit our website to see more Stamps & Philately from our collection.

The BPMA at Autumn Stampex

Stalls at Stampex, 2010

Stalls at Stampex, 2010

As many of you will be aware this year’s Autumn Stampex will be held at Islington Business Design Centre from 14–17 September. The Friends of the BPMA will be manning Stand 20 throughout the event, where there will information about the BPMA, new postcard packs and a selection of our other products for sale, and this year’s stand will look better than ever – decorated with a range of memorable images from our collection.

Autumn Crocus from the Flower Photographs issue, 20 January 1987

Autumn Crocus from the Flower Photographs issue, 20 January 1987

At the present time were undertaking a review of our activities and services. It is important to us to work with philatelists, philatelic traders and postal history enthusiasts to ensure we develop our services in line with what you want, and to enable us to keep caring for these collections for generations to come – and we need your help! We know Stampex is a date which will be in many of our followers’ diaries and we’d like to meet as many of you as can we while we’re there this September.

Join us for a drink at Stampex and tell us what you think!
11.30am – 1.30pm, Thursday 15 September
Executive Centre, Ground floor – full details on the Friends Stand.

Whether you’d like to find out more about what’s in our philatelic vault, how you can see it, or our other services – or simply wish to tell us what you like about us, or what we could do better, then we’d love to speak to you – please drop by for a drink and say hello!

A Timeless Classic: The Evolution of Machin's Icon by Douglas N, Muir

A Timeless Classic: The Evolution of Machin's Icon by Douglas N, Muir

Win a signed copy of A Timeless Classic: The Evolution of Machin’s Icon by The BPMA’s Philatelic Curator Douglas N. Muir At Autumn Stampex

If you can’t make it for a drink, then we’d still love to meet you – staff from the BPMA will be at Stampex across the 4 day event so please do come and find us. Any visitors to our Friends’ stand also have the opportunity to win a copy of one of our most popular books, A Timeless Classic: The Evolution of Machin’s Icon, signed by the author! Just drop a business card in the pot to enter the prize draw.