Stamp collecting (also known as philately) remains one of the most popular hobbies in the world and is still largely affordable if you choose to stay away from truly scarce materials.

Perhaps one of the reasons is the general availability of brands. They come in envelopes in the mail. New issues can be picked up at your local post office. Social networks on the Internet, such as Facebook, provide ample opportunities to trade stamps with foreign collectors.

At first, the new collector could be easily overwhelmed by the huge number of stamps that were issued by various countries, starting with the UK, which released the world’s first stamp in 1840, and the US following them in 1847.

Trade tools

The main necessity for collecting stamps is an album. Without the means of proper organization and installation of stamps it would not be a collection, but just a mess of stamps in a box.

There are albums available for almost any country, world, special albums, albums for covers (envelopes with stamps), or albums or binders for blank pages. A collector can even make his own album by simply buying a binder and punching for his page.

Albums can range in price from basic albums for beginners around the world for about $ 10, to albums for advanced collectors that cost hundreds of dollars per set. If you’re just starting to collect stamps, start simple and start cheap.

Stamps are usually set using a rubberized “loop” for the stamps used. or a special attachment for stamps, never used, to protect the gums. A package of 1,000 loops can usually be purchased for about $ 8 or less. Fasteners are used to attach the stamp to the album page. Never stick a stamp on a page or lick an eraser to attach it, as this will ruin the value of any brand.

A few other inexpensive “tools” will also be needed: tweezers, a magnifying glass, and envelopes for sorting and storing stamps.

If the collector is advancing rapidly, other necessary “tools” may include a perforator (a means of counting the number of perforations on the edges of stamps where they are torn or cut from a sheet) and a liquid with watermarks and a tray (in many countries use secret marks – or watermarks – to prevent counterfeiting, which can only be seen with a watermark detector).

Sources of information are also needed in order to know which stamps the country has issued and in what order they have been issued, as well as a means of attributing difficult-to-identify stamps. Typically, collectors use the standard Scots catalog for all of the above purposes. They can be expensive. For starters, any of the various basic guides to collecting stamps are also helpful. Buy used copies or see if they are in your local library.

Just start – go to “Topical”

There must be hundreds of thousands of different brands, and almost every day more and more is produced by one country or another. Accept that a complete collection of world brands is probably not achieved by anyone, mainly because there are several examples, of which only one is known.

Instead of being depressed and frustrated from the start, many collectors start by creating a collection that can be more reasonably achievable, and the options are endless. Thematic collections are usually called thematic collections because they are built around a specific theme.

Here are some examples: stamps with this theme (cats, trains, ethnic heroes and heroines, sports, the theme of the American Civil War, stamps, Christmas, World’s Fair, etc.); stamps made during a certain period (US stamps of the 1930s, World War II stamps, etc.); stamps showing a certain type of production (embossed stamps that are actually printed on the envelope, stamps in rolls designed for use in vending machines, non-perforated stamps, stamps with straight edges made without perforation on the sides, triangular stamps).

Also consider the condition. Brands that have never been used most often are rubberized and are called mint in condition. They require special fasteners, which are usually inexpensive, to protect the gums. Stamps that have been repaid are called used. Some collectors collect only used stamps because they have completed the task for which they were printed. Others collect only mint brands because they are brighter and tend to have more value overall.

Abandoned brands called “canceled to order” or technical experts. These are stamps that are canceled immediately as soon as the mail receives their order, and they are mostly produced only for collectors in countries who are looking to sell stamps for hobbies to actually contribute money to their national budget. CTOs are usually cheap and can create a truly spectacular collection, although some “purists” don’t look at them because many of them have never been printed given the actual use of mail.

Whatever the new collector decides is his or her collection and he or she is in control. Set achievable goals and remember that it should be fun, not withdrawing a bank account.

Other resources

Instead of remaining an island in a sea of ​​stamps, for most collectors there are opportunities to connect with others and learn more about their hobbies or find other collectors with whom to trade.

In Gettysburg, there is a club Blue and Gray Stamp, which consists of different age groups. The club meets on the third Monday of each month at 7.30pm at St. James Lutheran Church, 109 York St., Gettysburg (see “Blue and Gray Club still strong” right).

Schools sometimes have clubs by brand, and if there aren’t, start them.

For those who are experienced on the Internet, social networking sites provide an opportunity to meet other collectors around the world, from beginners to the most advanced collectors. Other groups have websites, blogs or discussion boards. Searching online for “stamp clubs” or “stamp collectors” should provide a wide range of associations where the collector can think about becoming a member or frequent visitor.

Many collectors start by subscribing to the approval service offered by stamp dealers. This service involves sending stamps in the mail to the collector by mail from dealers, who then choose which ones he wants to keep, and returns unnecessary ones with payment for the saved ones.

However, if stamp prices tend to go down thanks to the Internet (as is the case with most collectibles), better prices are likely to be found online at online auctions or store websites (e.g. ecrater.com). Albums and supplies can also be found in the same way.

When it comes to online auctions, refrain from being frustrated by being overbought. Perseverance can pay off, and another lot similar to the one you are looking for will always be published. This reporter continued to search for lists, seeking to buy the U.S. stamp 10 cents of 1860 with the image of George Washington. After losing bet after bet, one evening the writer nailed one for $ 3. Estimated cost: $ 275.

No matter how new or advanced the collector is, two basic principles remain the same: control and purposefulness. Always look for the best deal, no matter how long it may take, and stick to your collection goals.

And have fun!

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