John Lennon’s boyhood stamp album—including 565 stamps on more than 150 pages was on display at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum. The exhibition coincided with the U.S. Postal Service’s issuance of the John Lennon Forever stamp, honoring the legendary singer and songwriter. The stamp is part of the USPS’ Music Icons series.
Lennon's older cousin, Stanley Parkes, inspired the future Beatle's interest in stamp collecting and gave him the album. Lennon rubbed out Parkes’s name and address on the album’s flyleaf, replacing it with his own signature and the address at Mendips, the home he shared with his aunt Mary (“Mimi”) Smith and her husband George. Already a budding artist, Lennon sketched beards and mustaches in blue ink of the likenesses of Queen Victoria and King George VI on the album's title page. Lennon continued to collect and trade stamps for several years after receiving this album. According to Parkes, Lennon began collecting at about age 9 and actively collected stamps for several years. There is evidence throughout the album that Lennon added and removed stamps. Lennon’s handwritten notes on the flyleaf indicate the album may have contained as many as 800 stamps at some point. Currently, the album contains 565 stamps.
John Lennon, along with Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr achieved superstardom as the rock and roll band, The Beatles. But before Lennon traveled the globe playing music with The Beatles, this boy from Liverpool, England saw the world in a whole different way – through stamps.
The exhibition also featured previous USPS-issued stamps that are part of the Postal Service’s Music Icon Series.