Federal Reserve chairman candidate Janet Yellen owns a stamp collection valued at $15,000-$50,000, Bloomberg reports.
Yellen, currently vice chair at the Fed, included the stamp collection in her public financial disclosures. Along with her husband, Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerlof, Yellen has a net worth of between $3.4 million and $7.4 million.
A collection of the size Yellen owns would put her into the category of “casual collectors” of stamps, said Wade Saadi, president of the American Philatelic Society, the largest organization of stamp collectors in the world.
When asked if he would support Yellen for the Fed’s top spot, Saadi noted that the society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and cannot endorse political candidates, but said, “I feel it would be nice if more stamp collectors held visible public offices.”
Yellen, whom President Obama identified earlier in the week as a top contender to replace current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke when his term expires in January, would join a long list of politicos with sizable stamp collections.
According to Saadi, notable political figures seriously engaged in stamp collecting include GOP strategist Karl Rove, former Congressman Gary Ackerman, Rep. Joe Pitts, Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. Carl Levin, Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Robert Aderholt. In 2012, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum held an exhibit to display philatelic items from congressional members’ personal collections.
Rove, in particular, is a very active collector, and has even given speeches to groups of philatelists twice: to the APS and to the Collectors Club, a New York City-based group of stamp hobbyists.
The most high-profile stamp collector in U.S. political history was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who once said, “I owe my life to my hobbies – especially stamp collecting.”
Yellen inherited her collection from her mother, according to a 1997 Washington Post examination of the finances of President Bill Clinton’s Cabinet members (Yellen served in the Clinton administration as chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers).
Yellen’s wealth, stamp collection included, pales in comparison to that of her presumed rival for the Fed chair nomination, namely Harvard professor and former Obama adviser Larry Summers. Summers reported assets of between $17 million and $39 million when he joined the Obama White House.