Have you ever heard of it? Well then, maybe you’ve heard of Geocaching? You know the treasure hunt game where you use a GPS to locate containers with objects and then you hide your object it is place? (take an object/leave an object) You see, before geocaching there was letterboxing. Letterboxing is about 150 years old, geocaching only began in 2000.
You see Letterboxing began in Dartmoor, Devon, England in 1854. It came to the United States in 1989, but wasn’t all that popular until an article in the Smithsonian Magazine in April of 1998. What is it? A combination of treasure hunting, art, navigation and exploration of often scenic locations. Letterboxers hide small waterproof containers in public areas and distribute clues to finding the containers in various media (i.e. printed catalogs, websites and by word of mouth). Letterboxes contain a notebook and a unique rubber stamp. Sometimes they even have hitchhikers, extra stamp and notebook that the letterboxer has asked to be moved from box to box.
Letterboxers carry their own personal stamp, notebook and inkpad. (Many times the letterboxer actually makes their own unique stamp using a carving block.) When they find a box, they leave an impression of their stamp on the notebook (or logbook) in the box and leave an impression of the stamp they have found in their own logbook as proof of finding the letterbox. Then they put the stamp back in the box and rehide it. They keep track of all their “plants” and “finds” with lingo called P’s and F’s or PFX counts. For example P98F108 means the letterboxer has hidden 98 boxes and found 108. The X is referred to eXchanges with fellow letterboxers.
As I understand it there has been some crossing with geocaching where letterboxers are leaving stamps in geocaches. But I’m told if it has a notebook, a rubber stamp and a set of clues, it is a letterbox.
Armed with a notebook, a pen, ink pad, your personal stamp and a compass, you’ll be all set! So if you like finding unique one of a kind rubber stamps, have a sense of adventure and like to hike, this is a hobby for you!
There are many websites that include clues for various letterboxes. It is pretty cool!
So did I spark your interest? Click here for the letterboxing organization in North America.
That’s it for today’s rubber stamp trivia! I hope you enjoyed it!
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