How to Get Started with Stamp Collecting
Stamps really are fascinating. Not only are they functional, showing that postage has been paid to deliver a letter or package from one place to another, but they.re also quite lovely, offering miniature versions of popular cultural icons, works of art or commemorating important persons and events. Collecting stamps . also known as philately, the study of stamps and other postal materials . can be an interesting and educational hobby. If you.re interested in getting started as a philatelist, read on for more information.
If you want to become a stamp collector, give some thought to the type of stamps you want to collect. You might begin with something connected to another interest you have. If you like music, for example, you may want to collect stamps related to music. You might also want to choose stamps from a particular country or stamps celebrating a particular holiday. Or perhaps you.d like to choose stamps related to a certain historical movement, such as the civil rights movement. You could also choose to focus on landscape stamps, green stamps or romantic stamps . the sky really is the limit, because whatever interest you have, you.ll find there are stamps related to it.
The United States Postal Service identifies three general classes of stamps. The first and most common stamp is known as a definitive stamp. These stamps are about one inch square or smaller, and produced in large quantities and multiple print runs . the everyday stamps we use to mail our letters and bills. Larger and more colorful stamps are known as commemorative stamps . they are usually printed only once. These stamps honor events, people or things that are important in American culture and life. For example, in 2009, a stamp is being issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Alaska's statehood. These special stamps are usually only offered for a limited time; such as for Christmas and other holidays.
To begin stamp collecting, you.ll need a place to store your stamps. The most versatile method is to choose a stamp album that has removable pages. You can buy stamp albums or make your own with a binder and good quality paper. If you.re serious about building a collection that will last for a long time, choose archival quality or acid-free paper.
You.ll also need a way to attach the stamps to the pages. Most collectors use strips of glassine paper that have adhesive on one side . these are called stamp hinges. Using a stamp hinge protects the stamp and makes it easier to remove later. Clear, plastic sleeves called stamp mounts can also be used to place your stamps in their album.
To see your stamps in detail, consider using a magnifying glass. Also, to protect stamps that haven.t yet been placed in an album, consider using a glassine envelope. And to protect valuable or fragile stamps from the oils on your hands and fingers, use a pair of stamp tongs.
There are a number of stamp catalogs that provide pictures of stamps, along with information about the values of various stamps. While certain old or rare stamps are quite valuable, as are stamps that were printed with an error, stamp collecting is a hobby best pursued for its enjoyment, rather than the potential for any financial gain.
Once you.ve decided on a type of stamp to collect and you have a place to store the stamps you collect, you're ready to start. You can buy new stamps, look for packages of stamps available for sale, trade or buy stamps from other collectors or ask friends and family members to save interesting stamps for you. As your collection begins to grow, so too will your excitement and knowledge of this fascinating hobby.