My background...

            David Farndale
(On right, visiting charity project in Cambodia)

My main current collecting interest is Russia (Empire, RSFSR, USSR) including covers, postal stationery, banknotes and polar covers - but I also collect stamps from Great Britain (QV to 1970); Romania (to 1969); Canada (to 2000); Newfoundland; Channel Islands & IOM; Ottoman Turkey. I'm currently designing Russia album pages to cover Russia Civil War, Russian Refugees Post, Transcaucasia, Post Civil War (incl. Soviet Republics), World War Occupations. This includes Tuva, etc. It's a VERY long term project.

Schoolboy stamp collector...

I started collecting stamps when I was about 10 - my Dad used to buy me GB FDCs and new GB stamp issues. After my father died, I inherited his complete stamp collection.

After 11 years of trading with my own small publishing business, I felt a 'calling' to use my transferable business and sales skills in the charity sector. Between 1997 and 2014, I was the CEO of a children's charity - initially with partnerhip projects in Eastern Europe (Albania, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Armenia) later extending to Southeast Asia and Southern Africa.

During my overseas project visits, I curiously developed an interest in stamps again, but this time old Russian stamps - buying up small collections from street market sellers in Bucharest (Romania) and Kiev (Ukraine); and then inevitably started buying stamps I needed (as well as selling my duplicates) through eBay.


Searching for the perfect album...

My stamp album search proved disappointing

As my Russia collection grew, I started searching for an illustrated, one-country album to house my own collection; initially one covering Russian Empire to end of USSR 1991.

I wanted an album system with decent weight archival quality paper and bordered spaces for all numbered stamps in the SG Russia #10 catalogue; to include SG 'A' and 'B' perf./imperf. types, miniature sheets, etc. I also wanted captions to individual stamps and 'proper size' philatelic album pages (i.e. not A4 or American Letter). SADLY - the commercial albums (including more expensive ones like Lighthouse, Davo, Lindner) were far too minimal and/or didn't cover the stamp years I wanted - they also lacked a lot, aesthetically speaking.

Having researched all the commercial and one Australian (privately-produced) illustrated Russia stamp album options, I just couldn't find what I was looking for so I decided to produce my own pages using Quark Xpress software I had left over from my publishing business days of the 1980s. Page sets were saved in PDF format with no image compression to ensure superb digital print quality (HUGE file sizes - typically 500mb each file covering 200-300 pages) .

I eventually settled on an album page size of 240mm x 282mm; a common standard size fitting many commercial philatelic binders (3-hole, 4-hole and 22-hole) and also some springback binders. For more page design and layout details, visit my design and preview pages - you might get some design ideas for your own pages!


Stamp Sources

Initially (late 1990s) I acquired Russian stamps from street market sellers in Kiev and Bucharest - then from stamp auction sites.

  • Kiev street market
  • Delcampe stamp auctions
  • Hipstamp formerly Bidstart
  • eBay stamp auctions