Philately and stamps - Tips for Stamp Collectors - Stamp collecting tips


Stamp Collection in 5 Simply Steps

Author: Martin O Flynn

Stamps are the 'oil' that runs the modern postal service. But these tiny pieces of self adhesive paper, didn't alway exist.

In 1840s Britain recipients had to pay for receiving the post. That was until the first 'Penny Black' stamp came along. The cost was determined according to the number of pages sent and the distance transversed.

Pre-paid adhesive Stamps were in fact the brainchild of Rowland Hill in his 1837 proposal to reform the British Postal System. Little did he realize then that his invention would become one of the most popular hobbies in the modem world.

Stamp collecting is an attractive hobby for several reasons. From a hobby perspective it illuminates people's understanding of diverse cultures, events and dialects.

Collecting impressive works of miniature art, as well as rare and priceless pieces, creates a certain pleasure.

5 Key steps in beginning your stamp collection include;


Step One: New or Used Stamps The fist decision a stamp collector must make is whether to focus on used stamps, unused / mint stamps or a collection of both.

Beginners should start by collecting used stamps. These are readily available, inexpensive and will give you a feel for the hobby.

Commence by removing stamps from your received mail. Sometimes it is of greater value to retain the entire envelope, due to its unique post mark date. Ask your friends, family and any over seas relatives to send you their stamps. This will provide the impetus for a diverse collection at low cost.

Step Two: Select a Theme It would not be feasible to intend on accumulating a complete worldwide collection of stamps. Such a collection would be very expensive to acquire and require storage for thousands of volumes.

For this purpose collectors focus on small definitive niches encapsulating time periods, particular countries, topicals or types of stamps.

These niches vary from pictorials and commemorative stamps to topicals such as; Olympics, space, famous people, animals, birds, sports and a whole lot more besides.

Your choice will most often be dictated by your interests. Concentrate your collection on that which you would be excited to own.

Step Three: Purchase Stamp Collecting Equipment ∓ a Stamp Collection Catalog When starting out it is essential to buy a good catalog / album. Stamp catalogs and reference guides are full of useful data on stamp collection history and on individual stamps themselves.

These guides provide useful data including essential stamp particulars and book value. It is advisable to get a catalog with the Scott numbering system. It is not necessary to buy the latest most expensive catalog or albums, those which are 4/5 years old will suffice for the purpose intended.

Other required items of equipment include; stamp thongs, magnifying glass, archival stock book, and if you are very serious stamp collecting software.

These items enable a serious stamp collector to better examine their collection and preserve the stamps for years to come.

Step Four: Find a Reputable Dealer and Buy Stamps online

When you have become comfortable with the fundamentals of stamp collection and feel ready to purchase, visit your local stamp dealer (see newspaper classifieds) and purchase a stack of assorted used stamps.

This will cover a diverse range of topics and provide hours of enjoyment in sorting and categorizing your collection.

Join online stamp auction sites such as and bid at stamp auctions or philatelic exhibitions. Don't rush, get informed, ask plenty of questions and make wise buying decisions.

When purchasing stamps online you need to specify whether they are by 'approval' or 'want list'. When a dealer sends a collector assorted stamp, the collector will decide which to keep. This process is referred to as 'Approval'.

A 'Want List' refers to a situation whereby the dealer checks if requested stamps are in stock and quotes prices for specified stamps the collector wants to collect.

Step Five: Join a Stamp Collecting Club and Get involved in online forums The very best way to learn about the great hobby of stamp collection is by taking part in interactive online forums and by joining local stamp collecting clubs.

You will then benefit from the accumulated knowledge of seasoned stamp collectors. They will be able to answer your questions and ensure your hobby is enjoyable rather than frustrating due to any learning curve.

About the author: is offering a limited number of FREE Lifetime Membership to its Stamp Collecting Network. Join today at Members get access to; stamp collecting tips, video tutorials, advice, news feeds and much more. They get a stamp collecting profile whereby they can display images and videos of their collection. It is a great forum to meet like minded stamp collectors worldwide.
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