I’m a Portuguese living in the UK and this is a ‘show and tell’ site about my home country. The rest of this page explains how the site and my stamp collection are organised. For any queries, comments and suggestions, please send an e-mail to: my first name at my last name dot ws. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you enjoy the visit.
About the website
The site’s name is a wordplay on Portugal and ‘post’, which has multiple connotations (postage stamp, Post office, posting a blog entry) and is also the acronym of ‘Portugal On STamps’.
Navigating the site
This site is organised as a blog, each entry being a virtual album page. Each album page contains information – including thumbnail images and philatelic data like the designer and the paper type – about a complete set of stamps as issued by some postal administration. Clicking on a thumbnail shows a large high quality image of the stamp. Each album page is backdated to the day the corresponding set of stamps was issued, except for 19th century issues, which cannot be backdated due to limitations of my blogging installation. So far, this affects only one issue.
The album pages form four virtual stamp albums, each one presenting a different view on my collection. The albums are opened by selecting the corresponding category on the sidebar drop-down menu. The chronological album organises pages by date of issue of the stamps, so that following the ‘Prev’ and ‘Next’ links in the top right corner allows you to browse the chronological album like flipping the pages in a real stamp album. The chronological album is indexed by yearly archives, listed on the sidebar. The thematic album organises pages by subject (gastronomy, landmarks, etc.). A set of stamps may cover multiple subjects. The philatelic album contains stamps that have some philatelic interest, e.g. a printing error, or that illustrate a philatelic term particularly well. Philatelic terms can be looked up in the glossary (top right button). The design album contains stamps with a particularly beautiful or interesting design, in my opinion.
You can also use the tags listed on the sidebar to find issues with particular characteristics, and the search box to look for anything, be it a designer’s name, a printing technique, a paper type, a place name, stamps issued on your birth day, etc.
When looking at an index page, i.e. showing only thumbnails, like e.g. the home page or a search result page, you can sort the listed stamps in reverse chronological order (i.e. most recent first) of the date they were issued, updated or added to the site.
Building the site
Although the pages of a virtual stamp album can be done with a wiki, I’m using the WordPress blogging platform because I was familiar with it. I chose The Unstandard theme due to its compact and highly visual layout, which reinforces the impression of a stamp album. I’m using version 1.2 of the theme, which I have modified slightly as described here. I use several plugins:
- Collapsing Archives to aggregate posts by year in the sidebar;
- Hotfix to incorporate urgent corrections to WordPress;
- Post Sorting Reloaded to list posts by creation, publication, or modification date;
- Revision Control to reduce the database size by storing only a fixed number of revisions for each post;
- Shortcode Exec PHP to program my own linkrolls;
- WP Captcha Free to block spam comments without users having to fill captcha form;
- WP Minor Edit to allow minor corrections to a post without changing its modified date, i.e. its place on the home screen;
- WP Super Cache to cache the website and serve pages faster;
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin to automatically suggest related posts;
I use my scanner’s software in US Letter magazine mode (because photo mode introduces granularity) to do 400dpi JPEG scans of the stocksheets in which I keep my collection, and crop each individual stamp in Microsoft Office Picture Manager. I tried to crop with Preview in Mac OS, but it generates larger image files.
About the collection
Glued to letters, postcards and packages, postage stamps go places. They are beautiful miniature ambassadors of a country’s culture, history and geography. In that spirit, a stamp collection is as good a way as any to showcase my home country. And it occupies much less shelf space than most other collectibles…
I used to accumulate stamps as a kid, and after 30 years I decided to pick up again the hobby, but in a more systematic way. I don’t collect Portuguese stamps, I collect stamps about Portugal. This means on the one hand that I’m interested in foreign stamps as they relate to Portugal (like these), and on the other hand that I’m not interested in Portuguese stamps about foreign events, organizations or people. More specifically, I’m interested in the subjects listed under the thematic album category on the sidebar. I do make exceptions for stamps that are interesting from a philatelic or design point of view.
I store my collection in the most flexible way I could think of: loose stocksheets in a ring-binder. This allows me to rearrange and introduce stocksheets at any time, without having to plan ahead in leaving space for future acquisitions or having to shift many stamps around as new ones are added. Moreover, stocksheets come in a variety of formats, allowing me to store covers, miniature sheets and stamps all next to each other. I separate stocksheets by subject, using the normal A4 separator index sheets sold in office supply centres to quickly access each subject.
It’s not only a versatile, but also a cheap solution: packs of stocksheets cost about the same as stockbooks with the same capacity, and any cheap ring-binders bought in a supermarket will do. In particular, I use the 7-hole double-sided Diamant (215×280mm black card) stocksheets from Prinz, with 1 to 8 strips on each page, but other manufacturers have a similar range of products.
Philatelic Information presented on this site is drawn from the sources listed below. Note that most catalogues number stamps from Madeira and Azores separately from those of the mainland, while Afinsa numbers them together from 1981 onwards.