Stamp collecting is a rewarding hobby. A beginner can be perfectly happy with an album of pretty pictures whereas an advanced collector might be more interested in a detailed study of a single stamp. The right way to collect is the way that makes you happy.
Stamp Collecting – What to Collect
When you first start stamp collecting, start simple. Affordable packets of used stamps can be found at stamp dealers and hobby stores which are an excellent start. Make sure the pack contains all different stamps as variety and quantity are important at this early stage. Then start sorting through your collection.
There is no right way to sort your collection, though sorting by country is one of the most common methods. Another method is topical collecting where you sort your collection by the subject represented on the stamp. Once you have arranged your collection you should have formed an idea of what direction it should take. At this stage it can be useful to borrow a book from the library in order to decide what you wish to collect. Joining a stamp collectors club or online discussion group will help to gain more knowledge about your collection and the types of stamps you are collecting.
At this stage you will also have identified stamps in your stamp collection that don’t interest you. Finding other stamp collecting enthusiasts to swap stamps with can be mutually beneficial and fun.
As your collection grows you may begin to gain a good idea of the values of your stamps and how rare they are and will find it easier to know the direction of your collecting interests. Stamp catalogues and price guides can give you a current market value for a given stamp issue. The most widely recognized catalogues include: the Scott Postage Stamp Catalog, Stanley Gibbons for Great Britain issues, Yvert & Tellier for French issues, Unitrade for Canadian issues, and Minkus and Harris US/BNA for United States issues
Stamp Collecting – Where to Buy Stamps
In times gone past you had to go to specialist hobbyist shops or swap and purchase stamps through other collectors to obtain specific stamps, or you could try your local post office. Nowadays there are many places where you can buy stamps. There are a multitude of websites where you can purchase anything from bags of stamps for novice collectors to rare and specialty stamps for seasoned collectors. The advantage of using the internet is the ability to research and quickly purchase a missing item from a collection. The disadvantage, however, is that the actual condition and quality of the stamp may be difficult to determine. Most of the reliable websites include a clear photo but for those collectors who insist on perfect quality, finding a dealer where the stamps may be viewed in person is a preferred option. Specialty stores that sell coins, stamps and small collectibles are often found in the larger metropolitan areas. Antique stores are another valid source for locating rare and valuable stamps. A collector who uses the Internet for general pricing knowledge and purchases through a store or dealer often ends up finding the best pricing and locating the preferred quality samples.
For more information on philately stamp collecting such as specific info on commonwealth , u.s , and commemorative stamps , old and rare stamps and more, please visit the specific pages listed. For each of the countries listed i’ve tried to include all of the most interesting and relevant information that a collector would need , including some great links to online stores and links to sites that can more accurately value your stamp collection. I’ll be constantly adding to and updating the site, and appreciate hearing from my visitors so please contact us with any questions or comments.