"What attraction, dear reader, has a postage stamp for you?... Is it a symbol of ordinariness, or is it the ultimate within the bounds of possibility, the guarantee of unpassable frontiers within which the world is enclosed once and for all?"
-- Bruno Schulz
from Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourglass (1937), translated from the Polish by Celina Wieniewska
The Zymoglyphic Museum's philatelic collection was originally begun with a childhood goal of collecting one stamp from every country. This single stamp would represent the country itself as much as possible, or at least be an interesting design. The number of offically recognized stamp-issuing entities is well over 600, mostly various adminstrative divisions of far-flung empires, and the vast majority of them are represented in the collection.
Following the sixties dictum "Question authority", the collection was expanded to include stamps from issuers not recognized as official, including local posts, breakaway republics, micronations, and places that exist nowhere except in the mind of the stamp creator. Other stamps are included simply on the basis of being interesting, based on aesthetic and curiosity value rather than rarity or philatelic legitimacy.
Here are some samples from the collection:
Classic Airmail Stamps
In the early years of the 20th century, sending a paper message by airplane was still a novelty. Stamp designers were inspired to create designs using propellers, flying machines, birds and other winged creatures.
French Colonial Africa
Many classic French stamps are noted for their striking designs. The stamps issued for their African colonies add the European fascination with exotic peoples, landscapes, and art work.
Stamps from Exotic Locales
A major appeal of collecting foreign stamps is the lure of far-way places, a microcosm that creates an eclectic image the world - exotic cultures with fascinating art, tribal people living in nature, isolated tropical islands, tiny, independent European duchies and principalities.
Even with a shrinking world, exotic locales of sorts still exist. There are breakaway republics, local posts for isolated islands, and entirely imaginary places. See bottom for identification.
Lundy, Herm, and St. Kilda are a few of the many islands off the British coast which have issued local postage for carriage of mail from their respective islands to the British mainland
Nagaland, Maluku Selatan, and Biafra stamps were issued by regional independence movements which were supressed by the countries of which they are now a part (India, Indonesia, and Nigeria, respectively)
Arbah and Katin are part of the Sicmon Islands group, chronicled in the The Griffin & Sabine Trilogy
Tui Tui and The Republic of Port Maria are members of the International Council of Independent States
Point de Kiss stamp designed and donated by Jaki Ernst.
Ankh-Morpork and Sto-Lat are on another planet altogether, a parallel universe known as "Discworld". Museum purchase from Discworld Emporium
Qatar is an Arabian emirate and Ifni was a Spanish colony in North Africa