President Roosevelt’s postage stamp collection
President Roosevelt’s postage stamp collection was one of the largest in the world. During Roosevelt's presidency, his fame as a philatelist helped stamp collecting become “the most popular hobby worldwide”.President Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 – 1945) was the 32nd president of the United States of America.
He was, and remains, the longest serving American president; he was elected to office four times, serving between 1933 and 1945.
Roosevelt led the US through two of the greatest crises of the 20th century: the Great Depression and the Second World War.
His ‘New Deal’ introduced widespread social reform through expansion of the federal government, and his leadership was instrumental in fending off the threat of nazism during the Second World War.
Roosevelt was afflicted with polio in 1921 and would remain essentially paraplegic for the rest of his life.
Roosevelt has variously been described as an “avid philatelist” and “perhaps the greatest friend” of stamp collecting.
Known as ‘the stamp collecting president’, Roosevelt was introduced to philately by his parents in 1890, at the age of 8.
Roosevelt immersed himself in the hobby and allegedly begged family members to send him mail and bring him his beloved stamps from around the world.
He would collect every stamp that he could lay his hands on. As a result, by the time he was elected president, he had such an enormous collection that he had albums for practically every country in the world.
The director of the FDR Presidential Library and Museum claimed that Roosevelt had 1.2 million stamps in his collection.
In 1928, Roosevelt became a life member of the American Philatelic Society and during his presidency he either influenced or designed every stamp issued in the US.
Throughout his life, his stamps travelled with him in a wooden trunk. He allegedly spent hours each night with his stamp collection and was even involved in approving a new stamp on the day of his death.
Roosevelt's wide ranging collections include proofs and varieties of both US and worldwide philatelic items.
The collection contained an exceptional array of die proofs of 20th century US stamps given to him by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
The collection included many large and elaborate presentation albums containing unlisted varieties, proofs and essays given him as head of state by many foreign governments.
After his death, the collection was sold by auction house H.R. Harmer. The proof section in particular brought sensational returns and other autographed sheets sold at unexpectedly high prices, as did his presentation albums.
Roosevelt said of his hobby, "Stamp collecting dispels boredom, enlarges our vision, broadens our knowledge, makes us better citizens and, in innumerable ways, enriches our lives."
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