In blue ink on blue paper, author Ayn Rand proclaims her passion for philately. The heavily corrected autograph manuscript of her article, "Why I Like Stamp Collecting", touts the hobby as "a miraculous brain-restorer". Rand recounts how a meeting later in life with a young stamp collector revived her interest in a hobby she had begun when ten years old but had to give up when she fled the Russian Revolution. Jacques Minkus' Stamp Journal published Rand's piece in 1971.
StampNews.com got to know that Rand began collecting at the age of ten but was forced to give it up when she fled the Russian Revolution. She returned to philately later in life, enjoying the fraternity of collectors, the thrill of the hunt, and the aesthetics of fine stamps. It is, the famous novelist writes, an occupation for "busy, purposeful, ambitious people". No doubt she would have described herself much the same way.
Rand gives her many reasons for stamp collecting: an hour spent working on her collection is a remedy for mental fatigue; it is a hobby for "busy, purposeful, ambitious people"; there is a pleasant fraternity among stamp collectors; collecting can have the thrill of the treasure hunt; stamp collecting enlarges one's perception of the world and is a testament to the technical brilliance of man ("for a few pennies, you can send a letter to any place on earth, to the farthest, most desolate corner where human beings live"); and finally, she enjoys the aesthetics of stamps ("the stamps of Japan are consistently the best").
The 16-page manuscript, along with a copy of the published article, is one of the highlights at this week's New York Antiquarian Book Fair. It will be offered by James Cummins for US$7,500. The book fair opens on Thursday evening and runs through the weekend.
Sourced by finebooksmagazine.com and jamescumminsbookseller.com