As people lined the streets across the globe and made innumerable posts on social media in September to show their sorrow and sympathy for the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Sequim’s Phil Castell hit the books.
The Sequim resident who hails originally from Blackpool, England, learned of the queen’s death on Sept. 8 while in Victoria, B.C., through a text asking to share his reaction on KONP Radio.
Once back stateside, he searched his stamp collection.
A long-time philatelist, Castell remembered a collection he bought 15 years ago — compiled by an unknown person, likely in the 1970s.
“It’s something I pull out every few years to look at for nostalgia,” Castell, owner of Sequim’s Castell Insurance, said.
The collection chronicles the queen’s life through stamps, including her marriage, coronation (June 2, 1953) and early life.
“I could see someone spent untold hours on it, and had a lot of pride in the queen,” Castell said.
“I didn’t want to see it broken up.”
The collection includes magazine clippings, photographs, postcards, envelopes and stamps from across the globe, including the United States.
“It’s something that could be appreciated, even by a non-collector,” Castell said.
There’s a page celebrating Elizabeth’s wedding to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on Nov. 20, 1947, multiple pages about her tours across the globe including America in 1957, and various stamps and photos of her as a princess and with her family.
One page collects multiple cancellations stamped in cities on the queen’s wedding day, including Elizabeth, Minn.; Elizabeth, New Jersey; and Elizabeth, West Virginia. They’re addressed to a doctor in Manoa, Upper Darby, PA. Castell guesses the collection could have been assembled stateside and the doctor wrote by mail to a collection service for the queen’s stamps.
“Scrap-booking was big in the 1950s similarly to here about 10-15 years ago,” Castell said.
Castell’s collection has numerous other stamps of the queen, including ones stamped with her royal visit in the 1950s, such as Tonga, the Cayman Islands and dozens more.
In 1967, Britain began using a photo of a sculpture by Arnold Machin for its stamps.
Castell said Britain is the only country without a name on its stamp, so long as there’s a picture of the country’s monarch on it. He said the country will transition its stamps to an image of King Charles III in the near future.
Castell came to America in the 1980s and eventually became a citizen on July 4, 1986, with 300-plus other immigrants at Seattle Center’s then Flag Pavilion.
His wife, Sharon became a citizen at the same spot on July 4, 2001. She originally immigrated with her family to the U.S. at age 17 a few years prior to Phil.
While he’s American, Castell said he is a supporter of the royal family, and since the late queen’s death, he’s received a few condolence cards from local friends.
“I’m American, but everyone I’ve talked to expresses gratitude (for the queen),” Castell said.