I started collecting at 9. What attracted me was the colourful China stamps trapped beneath the glass pane of the writing table. Why were they there? My dad was a fervent fan of the Chinese way of life and the cultural revolution ideals. He probably bought them on the cheap (stamp export was a key revenue for mainland China in the 70s) and stamps served as a convenient manifestation of his support for his idealism.
1982 - If only I had started 2 years earlier, I could have kicked off with a few Chinese golden monkeys in my collection!