The art of stamp collecting breathes a new life to retirees seeking out an interesting pastime, professionals wanting to unwind after a tiresome day at work, and students looking for playful ways to learn history and geography.
Stamps are valuable not only for its postal purposes. Philately, or the technical name for postage stamp collecting, highlights the important role of stamps in our daily lives.
No matter your age, budget, and interests may be, stamp collecting is right for you.
How and when did stamp collecting begin?
The history of postage stamp collecting dates back to the 1840s when Great Britain released the world’s first postage stamp. This marked a major breakthrough in the postal history.
The first stamp was nicknamed Penny Black since it had a face value of one penny and it was colored black. Since then, postal offices from other countries followed suit and people slowly became interested in collecting these colorful tiny pieces of paper.
The era between the years 1840 and 1940 is called the Classic Period of stamp collecting. Some of the important US postage stamps were issued during this time. By 1940, almost everyone was collecting stamps from different countries.
What are the best postage stamps to collect?
The regular issue stamps are called definitive stamps. These are usual stamps for sale at the postal service. Definitives are issued for a long period.
Another kind are the commemorative postage stamps which are slightly bigger in size that the definitive stamps. As their name suggests, commems are used to commemorate national events and notable persons. Commemorative stamps are only available for a limited time.
There are also special issue stamps that are made to highlight annual events like holidays. These are the Christmas stamps, Kwanzaa stamps, and Easter stamps. Some philatelists fancy objects that look like stamps but have no postage value at all. These are called cinderella stamps.
The most expensive stamps to collect are the error stamps. The production mistakes in error postage stamps make them unique that is why famous stamp collectors want to have them.
Generally, you can collect stamps that were previously attached on mail. This is called used postage stamp collecting. A stamp is said to be used or cancelled when there is a stamp cancellation mark on it.
What are the types of stamp collecting?
Since there are different types of stamps, there are different types of philately. Postage stamp collecting can be customized according to your personal taste.
You can collect stamps of different countries. You can gather postage stamps about your favorite subjects and start topical stamp collecting.
Philately is not purely about stamps. You can also have fun collecting postal stationery, post cards, and first day covers.
Some stamp collectors prefer broader subjects like railway mail collecting, wartime mail collecting, aerophilately, revenue mail collecting, or sea mail collecting. Daring philatelists who have the financial resources aims to have a rare stamp collection.
How to start stamp collecting?
To begin a stamp collection is the easiest part. Most stamp lovers started their romance with stamps by casually collecting stamps from old letter envelopes. Others invest in stamp collecting kits.
Enhance your knowledge in philately by reading stamp collecting books and magazines, the fun in stamp collecting starts here. Learn how to protect your stamps from damage by using the basic stamp collecting supplies.
You can appreciate your collection better when you know about postage stamp identification because you can classify your stamps properly.
How can I maintain and care for my stamps?
Getting stamps off envelopes is the most crucial step in caring for your stamps. This is a tedious process because you have to be extra careful in removing your stamps off the paper.
Preserve your stamps by slipping them inside stamp mounts, this will keep them from moisture and dust. Store you philatelic collection inside a stamp collecting album.
Your stamps will be protected from discoloration by using stamp tweezers when you pick up a stamp. The oil and dirt from your fingers react with the stamp’s ink.
You can keep track of your growing stamp collections by using a stamp collecting software to keep them organized.
How can I buy and sell stamps?
There are plenty of ways in buying and selling stamps.
Start with the most affordable stamps. Most philatelists who are into collecting used stamps buy kiloware stamps, these are canceled stamps sold by bulk in charity fairs.
As you progress in the art of stamp collecting, start learning the ropes of stamp auctions where you can bid on the stamp of your choice.
The Earn money from the postage stamps you have outgrown by posting them in stamp collectors exchange websites. Get ideas on the latest postage stamp prices from stamp catalogues. Rare stamps and other valuable stamps can be acquired through a stamp dealer.
How can I invest in postage stamps?
Just like any thing of value, rare postage stamps can be added to an investment portfolio.
Protect yourself from the risks when you invest in postage stamps by learning about stamp appraisal. You can never be duped by a dishonest stamp appraiser if you understand postage stamp grading. This way, you can have an estimate each postage stamp’s price as well as your entire stamp collection’s value.
Where can I find other stamp collectors?
Even if you enjoy sorting your stamp collection all by yourself, it is also fun to meet new friends who share the same interest with you in philately.
Improve your interpersonal skills by meeting new people in the stamp community. The philatelic society is the perfect venue where you can trade postal stamp collecting stories and forge lasting ties with other philatelists.
Take time to visit stamp exhibitions in your locality. If you think that you have amassed an interesting collection of stamps, never hesitate to join a stamp show.
After all, nothing is more rewarding in seeing fruits of your labor being displayed. Though stamps are just small pieces of paper, the art of stamp collecting makes you feel good about yourself because you know you have accomplished something.