About me

Gerben van Gelder

My name is Gerben van Gelder. I am an avid stamp collector based in the Netherlands. My interest in stamps is based on two things. First, I find it fascinating how, through a stamp collection, you acquire something tangible from literally every part of the world. Just name a place and you will find that stamps have been issued for use in that place. Second, I am fascinated by the way in which stamps reflect the history of the issuing countries. How principalities turn into kingdoms, then republics. How colonies gain self government and next become independent states.

About my collection

Over the past 25 years I have been building a collection in which I aim to have a number of stamps from every country in the world. And, per country, a number of stamps for every form of government the country has had and of the stamps the country has  issued in a special historical context. The scope of my collection are those stamp issuing entities that are listed in, or referred to, by the four leading worldwide catalogs. All stamps shown on this site are from my personal collection.

About this site

The drive to understand the historical context in which countries have issued stamps has led me to do research on the political and postal history of countries worldwide. At first, purely to satisfy my own curiosity. However, as the results of that research began to accumulate over the years, I thought it might be useful to share those results with the stamp collecting community. Hence, this site – launched 1 June 2015.

I am well aware that there are other sites on the web  that may offer similar content. However, each collector seems to have his or her own specific ‘need to know’ and so do I. This has led me to develop content that I hope will add something to the base of knowledge of the stamp collecting community and be of value for some collectors out there.

A work in progress

This site will, for years to come, be a work in progress. Developing the content has become a passion though, and since I am now in a position to work on the project almost full time, I am confident that I will be posting new content at a steady rate.

Unfortunately, Gerben has passed away before being able to complete the site. Creating and working on Stamp World History has been a true “labor of love”. It has been his pleasure.


63 Responses to About

  1. Marlie en Andrea

    Dear Gerben
    We congratulate you on your new website! We find it a very professional way of presenting the various stamps worldwide and we are very interested in the follow-up of your site.
    Good luck
    Marlie and Andrea

  2. Ine

    Dear Gerben,

    Congratulations with your very interesting and inspiring website, the layout is beautiful and makes me curieus to learn more about the content of the various chapters.

    Good luck!


  3. Gerben

    Great resource for the WW collector, especially for the classical era! And your pages are well done and pleasing to the eye.

    I will put a link to your website on my own stamp blog, which should help with people being more aware of your fine resource.

    Jim Jackson

    • Gerben


      Thanks for the encouraging compliment. Especially coming from you I appreciate it very much, I like your blog BigBlue 1840-1940 a lot. And thanks for putting a link up. Must help getting traffic to my site.


  4. Hi Gerben, nice start to the site. I look forward reading the profiles and seeing your take on the Diagrams.
    Will definitely check back in.

    • Gerben


      Thanks for your encouraging feedback. I appreciate it especially coming from you as I like you site DCStamps a lot – hence the link on the Resources page. Hope to see you back as a regular visitor!


  5. Hi Gerben, you have a really excellent site here. It is well designed, not overly complicated and your diagrams are nice and simple, whilst having enough information for reference purposes.
    Will you be adding Europe soon in your Profiles section?


    • Gerben


      Welcome to StampWorldHistory. I guess what you say exactly summarizes what I try to to on the site! :-)

      As for my future plans? I’m working on Africa now and the plan is to finish that first. After that it’s open really. Either work my way through a next continent from A to Z or work on selected countries. Is there any area in Europe that you have a special interest in?


      • Hi Gerben,

        Thanks for your reply, I’m a novice worldwide collector and just happened to be working through my stamps from Europe at the moment. Please continue at your own pace and direction, there is plenty here already for me to browse around :-)


  6. Terrance McCann


    Congratulations! You’ve created a very insightful and professionally designed web site chock-full of great information.


    • Gerben


      Thank you for your appreciation. I’ll do my utmost to keep up the standard with future additions.

  7. Hi Gerben,

    Very interesting site and a great deep resource, particularly for Imperial collectors and world collectors.

    I’m adding a link from my website to yours and feel free to ask if you need any help when you get to cataloguing Barbados!


    • Gerben


      Thank you for your kind words. You have done a wonderful job on your site on Barbados as well. I’ll definitely dig into it deeper once I get to writing a profile on Barbados.

  8. Orazio

    Hi Gerben,

    I am an Italian collector (sorry for my English) and I had the same your philatelic interests: a stamp from every issuing entities listed in the main catalogues, history and geography of these entities etc.
    I’m writing just to compliment you because you have done an outstanding job. I have built in ten years a database with 4,000 entities and information about them, but your stamp issuing entities list is much more complete than mine and the other site sections are very well done.

    Thank you

    • Gerben


      Nice to have a fellow collector from Italy with a shared interest visiting the site. And thank you for your kind words!

  9. Norbert

    Dear Gerben

    As a worldwide stamp collector I have started to visit your wonderful pages regularily. I use Leuchtturm Vario pages to arrange my material (approx. 52000 stamps), you seem to use Hagner pages. I’d love to make the same small labels with which you add notes and years to the stamps. Please tell me: How do you print those white letters on black paper?
    Regards from Austria!

    • Gerben


      Welcome to the site. Your collection must be taking shape with 52 000 stamps. I actually use Leuchtturm stockbooks for my collection. To make the labels I use Powerpoint. I create a rectangle with a black background and with white letters. Then I print this on regular white paper. Takes some ink but the result is quite nice as far as I am concerned. I will send you a template through email. Let me know what you think of it.

  10. Norbert

    Dear Gerben,
    Thank you very much for your templates, I didn’t believe that black on white from my printer could be so dark that the paper almost diminishes on the black album pages and the white letters – and stamps! – are clearly visible. I have just printed out a test page and it worked nicely. I will give it at try with the next country I will be working on!
    At the moment I am using Excel and Word to print labels with years, country names, etc, which I print on acid-free, yellowish paper. But sometimes these labels are more visible on black paper than the stamps, your white letters are much more unobtrusive.
    Best regards!

    • Gerben


      I guess unobtrusive is the key word here……. Good luck testing and playing around with the template, I hope you will find what is best for you.

  11. Gerben,

    I have just now found your site and have taken quick look of the content.
    I am very impressed with the amount of time and work you have put in to this very informative site.
    I think it will prove to be a great resource to world collectors for years to come. I will be adding a link to your site to the very selective list on my site. I am also thinking about adding links to country specific pages on the country indexes of my site, if this is acceptable to you. I have over 330,000 stamps in my world collection with the majority shown online. I welcome you to use any stamp images on my site that you might find helpful in presenting your country histories.
    Happy Stampin,
    Mitchell Ward

    • Gerben


      Thank you for your kind words. Much appreciated especially coming from an advanced collector such as yourself. Please feel free to add links to your site as you wish – my site aims to be of use to as wide an audience as possible. I will add a link to your site to my resources page. Your pages provide a great way to illustrate the stamps discussed on StampWorldHistory.

  12. Gerben,

    I am impressed with the way you have honored your breadth of knowledge by creating such a well-designed site. It is already helping me complete some research I am doing on topical collections as data sources for historians.

    Thank you for creating this site.

    Scott Rains

    • Gerben


      Thank you for your kind and stimulating words. Nice to realize that the site can be of value for the topical collector too. Your research on ‘topical collections as data sources for historians’ is intriguing. If you care to elaborate on that, please do.

  13. Yes, I am working with scholars in the field of Disability Studies on the impact of various United Nations initiatives. The current focus is 1981 – the International Year of Disabled Persons (IYDP.) Worldwide the number of stamp issuing entities estimated to have participated that year exceeds 90. Those involved in the research need a rapid introduction to the concepts, terms and methodologies of philately because they are not accustomed to using stamps as their primary artifacts for research. Your site offers that sort of introduction.

    As the work progresses I would be happy to share results offline for you to incorporate in your work as you find them relevant.

    • Gerben


      Thank you for your reply. What a fascinating subject for research. Stamps of course have often been issued for promotion purposes and I have often wondered how effective that is. Exactly what I understand the subject of your research to be. I most certainly would be very interested in any future results. And of course I am honored that you find StampWorldHistory fit to play a part in this. All the best with the project!

  14. Kamil

    Dear Sir,
    your website is very interesting. Because as I see your knowledge about stamps is wide, please let me know where I can find information what was circulation of every stamp issued by country for example if such stamp was in 5000 or 10000 units.

    Kindly regards,
    Kamil Łysik

    • Gerben


      Your question is not easily answered. I am afraid there is not one resource that provides that information. First of all because simply from not from all stamps issued the number of copies printed is known. Second because it is not a standard element in the listings of catalogs. From the four worldwide catalogs I use only the Michel catalog provides these numbers and than only for a limited number of stamps issued. I guess your best option would be to check country specific catalogs, although here too: some might provide the numbers and some may not. I know the Michel Germany catalog and the Yvert France catalog have these numbers – but the Scott US catalog does not.

  15. Gedi

    Dear Gerben.
    Excuse me for my bad English. My philatelic topic is ASFE (a stamp from everywhere). I collect any one stamp from all entities issuing stamps and I have found many interesting information in your website. Your maps are fine and very informative. Please ask me if you will need information about Lithuania history or philately.
    I have written you few remarks, I will write you more remarks in the future (if I will find them).
    The philatelic topic of Orazio (Italy) from your website is very like mine. I am interesting to make contact with him. Please send him my e-address or send me his e-address.
    Best regards Gedi

    • Gerben


      I guess stamp issuing entities are the core of my collection as well – although I have decided to limit myself to the scope of the worldwide catalogs. Do you have a particular scope for you collection? ASFE can be interpreted to include many entities. I am very happy with your remarks – all have helped to improve the quality of StampWorldHistory. As per your request I have sent your email address to Orazio. Of course it is up to him to decide how to follow up – if at all.

  16. Nick

    Hi Gerben

    Great site; well done. Love the clear diagrams showing how today’s countries have emerged.

    A small request. I too am impressed with your black labels. Would you be able to forward your template so that I can experiment..?

    Best regards

  17. Kousik Nanda

    Mr. Gerben
    Thanks. You give us a new window to see world history. I think it is very effective way to learn and understand world history. Again thank to you sir. I teach history to my student through stamps and maps. It is a very good historical prove as like as coin. You again prove it through your site. I am waiting for European and American states, Maldives.
    Kindly regards,
    Kousik Nanda

    • Gerben


      Thank you for your appreciation. And I couldn’t agree more: stamps tell us a lot about history. Your students must love your teachings! The Maldives by the way are already included in the profiles of Asia.

  18. Jerry Bodoff

    Hi Gerben

    Well done web site. Unique in the fact that stamps are related to history.

  19. Kousik Nanda

    Mr. Gerben
    Thank you sir. I find Maldives in the profiles of Asia, but I am still unable to access Maldives by clicking hyperlink from INDEX list. I think it is some technical problem. I hope you must solve this problem soon.

  20. Richard Barry Feddema


    I just ran across your site, and it made my day. I have been doing research on and off in a similar manner for years with the goal of creating introduction pages for my worldwide albums. I made it my New Years Resolution (starting a week early) to pick this up in earnest and finally create some some usable pages. I have had a prototype of Aden for years that I just dug out and was doing research to correct some issues when I found your site while looking for a good map of Upper Yafa.

    I love you format, I was using an Excel Spreadsheet with a column for every year since 1850. I would love to collaborate and help your efforts in any way possible. You are way in front of me. I would be glad to you forge ahead in any manner, research, graphics, proof reading, etc.

    • Gerben


      ‘I just ran across your site, and it made my day.’

      Probably one of the nicest compliments one can get. :-) And good to see you kicked the dust of your personal project. I would obviously very much appreciate your support on the development of StampWorldHistory – just don’t let it draw your focus away from setting up your own pages. ;-) Let me chew a bit on how we could work that out in practice. I’ll get back to you through email within the next couple of days.

  21. Admir

    Dear Mr. Gerben,

    Thank you very much for sharing your work. I’m collecting stamps for almost 30 years, but more intensive in last couple years. My focus is generally on Africa and I’m trying to collect couple stamps from every African entity, which I found more than interesting and challenging especially if you try to collect stamps which will represent development of one country. I learn a lot from your site and sometime in the future I’ll try to contribute with some suggestions…

    Best regards,
    Admir (stamp collector from Bosnia)

    • Gerben


      Welcome from Bosnia! I see we have a shared interest, nice. Thanks for your kind words. Suggestions are most welcome and will be much appreciated!

  22. Andrew

    Dear Gerben! I am philatelist from Russia (Moscow). I have many interest stamps, which reflect the history of the issuing countries. There are different civil wars, occupations, locals, privete issies etc, etc. Also many inteerst postal history things.
    I collect the same. Also collect England, French, Niderland & Belge colonies, Niderland local city posts etc. Also I very like posters stamps of whole worlg. We can have interest change!

    • Gerben


      Great to have a visitor from Moscow. I see we have shared interest. I hope to be able to welcome you on StampWorldHistory often.

  23. Hi Gerben

    What a fine site. I was introduced to it by Michael Adkins’ DCStamps.

    I am in the (slow) process of rewriting the First Issues Collectors’ Club site (link below) and it will be very useful, with your permission, to link to your maps and diagrams.

    Keep up the good work,


    • Gerben


      I am glad you found our way to StampWorldHistory. Please feel free to link to the content of StampWorldHistory. And good look with your own site! I bookmarked it for future reference.

  24. Göran Olofsson

    Hello Gerben
    Thanks for all information you share with all us interested people on internet. Through the years I had large collections of stamps and banknotes, collected with the same interest that you describe. Now I have sold it all out and have nothing left. But the interest of stamps, banknotes, flags and history from all countries from all over the world is still left.
    Because of that i was very satisfied when i saw your site. I use it in my personal collection of information about states and countries around the world the last 150 years. Your work with political and postal information is splendid. I could nearly not believe that it is one mans work when i was aware of it. I tryed to do something like it for myself many years ago, but i drowned in all information.
    Thanks one more time from Göran Olofsson in Sweden.

    • Gerben


      Welcome to StampWorldHistory from Sweden and thank you for your kind words.

      I could nearly not believe that it is one mans work when i was aware of it. I tryed to do something like it for myself many years ago, but i drowned in all information.

      Please realize that it is the work of years that has gone into the website. I started developing profiles and diagrams long before I launched the site. In my professional career, it was my job to reduce highly complex issues to manageable proportions. I guess that the skills I developed then help to distill something useful from the overload of information that is available on the internet. I am glad you find my work of use.

  25. Goed bezig Gerben, interessante site.
    Good job Gerben, interesting site.

    Als je nog afbeeldingen of info zoekt laat maar weten, misschien kan ik je helpen.
    Let me know when you need help on certain topics or pics, I might be able to help.


    • Gerben


      Nice to have a response from the Netherlands! Thanks for your kind words. In case the need arises, I will not hesitate to contact you.

  26. Manuel

    Hi Gerben,

    first of all I have to say that your homepage is great :-) It is a very good source for me. I guess we are collecting in a similar way. I am also an ASFE (A Stamp From Everywhere) collector and try to get at least one stamp from any stamp issuing area. Maybe we can exchange information and – of course – stamps. I have also an excel list, maybe you can need some data from that. I have for example many material from the new German Private Post Companies, which issued stamps since 2000. If you are interested in this list I could send it to you by E-Mail. Or you try to download at the following link, but sometimes it does not work.


    The list is similar to yours but no so practicable, I think :-) And e.g. I do not have included Y & T. But I have also some older special catalogues in pdf-format which could be useful for you, e.g. the Chuchin for Zemstvos and Galvez for Spanish locals.

    Hope to hear from you

    Regards and best wishes



    • Gerben


      I guess our interests in collecting indeed both center around stamp issuing entities. I must say the ASFE concept is tempting. I have, though, limited the scope of my collection to those entities listed in or referred to by the four worldwide catalogs. And within that scope I collect a representative number of local issues. The scope of the real ASFE collector is just so overwhelmingly broad. Even with my limited scope it is quite a challenge to complete the collection!

      Thanks for the link to the list of entities. I am actually familiar with the list and have used it to set up my own list. Nice piece of work.

      I’ll be in touch with you through email.

  27. Eric

    Dear Gerben,
    I’m selling my “A stamp from everywhere / A stamp for every country” collection. If interested, please send me an email. Thanks.
    All the best,

    • Gerben


      Thanks for the offer. I do not buy collections anymore, only targeted stamps. Good luck selling the collection.

      • Eric

        Rare stamps are sold individually. So if I can help you in completing your collection, just don’t hesitate to contact me.

        All the best,


  28. Dear Gerben
    The best words of thanks for the work done by the collector of the Crimea!
    Your model of the organization and presentation of information out of the competition! Philatelic geography -is amazing direction in collecting. It would be nice to make friendship with you and offer any help in improving the site!
    In the New Year I want to wish you good health and strength not to stop in the developed project!)


    • Gerben


      Thanks for your kind words. Please do leave responses that would improve the site as they are very much welcomed :-) Best wishes to you too for 2017!

  29. Chris Whitehouse


    Wishing you continued success with you collection and your wonderful website in the new year.


  30. Thanks for the reply.
    When I first became acquainted with your project, then immediately wondered where the word about the non-postal stamps. This is a huge reservoir of philatelic geography!

    • Gerben


      I guess the scope of StampWorldHistory includes both postal and non-postal stamps. But that is also very much a question of definition….. Essentially, I follow the WW catalogs.

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