STAMP enthusiasts from across the UK flocked to Swindon over the weekend for the annual Stamp, Postcard and Postal History Fair.

Collectors and dealers arrived at the annual event at St Joseph’s Catholic College, now going for 29 years, to trade their wares and looking to complete their stamp books by ticking off the last rare specimens.

Marked letters going back to the time of Shakespeare, the Crimean War, Queen Elizabeth and stamps from the Third Reich were all on display by the 44 dealers with collections stretching around the world.

David Gibbon, president of Swindon philatelic society and chairman of Swinpex, told the Adver: “There are more people here than last year, we’ve had a lot coming up from London, Cornwall, Portsmouth, people from across the UK.”

“People come for all sorts of reasons but we all have a reason why we collect what we do. Some collect thematic stamps like birds or countries.”

“I’ve learnt a lot about where everything is in the world. There’s a lot of history involved. The great thing is you can do it with one eye and one arm. It’s a wonderful hobby.”

Collector George Primrose and member of Swinpex told the Adver on the day: “As soon as the doors were opened we had people waiting to get in. We’ve had people from all around the country. They like it here because there’s a large number of dealers. There’s a vast variety of stock to suit every one’s collections that they can take home with some satisfaction.”

Among the rare correspondence attached to the stamps examples such as letters from men climbing Everest and a postcard from Douglas Bader, the famous RAF pilot who, despite having both legs amputated, made a number of escape attempts from Colditz Castle as a prisoner of war.

“They’ll be stamps here worth over a thousand pounds. Some of the Queen Victoria stuff can get quite expensive,” added George. “But anyone who’s just starting out it will cost as much as you can afford, there’s always something low cost.

“It’s great for learning about history and geography and it’s good for quizzes. There’s a whole field of postal history that people collect for.”

Simon Carston, from Philangles, a Philatelic and postal history auctioneer from Cheshire, said: “There’s been plenty of people. It’s a great show that’s been well established.”

“Everything’s got a little story. It’s not just about the stamps. There’s a lot more to it than just ticking off your list.”