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Blood banking and philately

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Abstract

Philately is often considered to be no more than an interesting hobby but it can be a powerful public relations tool. A well designed stamp not only attracts the eye of the collector but is also seen by millions of people receiving and sending mail. Blood banking is a specialty that can benefit particularly from this exposure because of the continuing need for blood donors. A review of Scott’s Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue1 shows that postal services around the world have issued a considerable number of stamps depicting blood transfusion activities or bearing designs related to this field. Stimulated by an early interest in stamp collecting and by an article by Kyle and Wolman,2 I have collected these stamps for my own pleasure, for use in blood donor recruitment, and to decorate the blood bank donor room. Reproduction of stamps is now permitted and photographs make excellent visual aids and attractive wall decorations.

Because of the large number of stamps issued annually, many philatelists have given up trying to collect every stamp issued by every country but instead have limited their collections to a particular country or topic. Favorite subjects for topical collections are animals, sports, aerospace, religion, science, and particularly medicine. From the philatelist’s point of view, a collection limited to blood banking has many advantages. Because of the subject, no stamps in this category were issued before 1940; therefore the expense of obtaining old or rare items is not a deterrent. Most of the stamps are attractive, since. . .


 

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