Collecting the Baltic States
A close relationship with his grandfather, Latvian immigrant Vilis Grinfelds, cemented Dzintars Grinfelds’s passion for trains and his decision to focus his first philatelic collection on American railroads. Vilis Grinfelds, an electrician with the Southern Pacific railroad, took young Dzintars on numerous rail expeditions between San Francisco and Reno, exciting Dzintars’s imagination. So too did watching his mother organize her first Latvian philatelic exhibits. By age 11, Dzintars’s philatelic interests expanded to include the Baltic states, the region his grandparents called “home.”
Wanting to create an exhibit that complemented his mother’s, Dzintars began collecting the Latvian “Three Star Issue” and then the issues of Central Lithuania. Researching for his exhibits, he says, “offered lessons never presented in history class.” His philatelic research also influences the ways he thinks about himself, creating a more nuanced self-image that is linked to his ethnic heritage. Do collecting and exhibiting help with school? Absolutely. Independent research skills, honed as a serious collector, serve Dzintars very well.
Favorite: 6s Arms and Stars Proof Pair, Latvia, 1925