What have you done for me Philately?
“Collecting, like most passions, has the capacity to let (the collector) live in another world for a while. If I could tell you why passion allows us to inhabit another world, I would stop collecting.” ~ Kim A. Herzinger
Chances are at some point in your life you had a collection of something—maybe baseball cards, coins or comic books. There are many theories as to why we enjoy amassing a collection of one type of thing, but the fact is that it just feels good! The excitement you get when you add something new, or find something rare, or share your hobby with a fellow collector makes it all worthwhile—even if your collection isn’t valuable to anyone but you.
Collecting stamps is something that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, and it doesn’t have to be expensive—in fact, it can be free! You can simply start by clipping interesting stamps from your incoming daily mail! It’s a bonus if you have friends or family members who live in different states, provinces, counties or countries, of course, because you’ll get all kinds of different stamps to add to your collection.
According to Linns.com , there are a few things to consider when you start collecting stamps. Obviously, it’s your collection so you can manage it any way you like, but you may want to narrow your focus by asking yourself the following questions:
- Do I want to collect used or mint stamps? Used are, obviously, stamps that have been put on a piece of mail and run through the postal system. They have postmark lines across the front, and the glue (or “gum”) on the back is gone. Mint stamps are unused. They have never been affixed to a piece of mail so they are clean and intact.Mint stamps are more expensive because you have to purchase them. However, you can’t necessarily find all the stamps you might want to collect on your own incoming mail. There are pros and cons both ways.
- Do I want to collect stamps from my own country or worldwide? It’s easiest to find stamps from your own country, and domestic stamps often have designs and subject matter that appeal to the people living in that country. But maybe you want to focus on stamps from your ancestral homeland, or a country that has always appealed to you. In that case you will have to seek the help of stamp dealers (unless you have family or friends in your target country), or other collectors who would be willing to trade with you.Visit Canada Post, The United States Postal Service, or Collect GB Stamps for more information on collecting stamps in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
- How do I want to store or display my stamps? At first, you probably don’t need much of anything besides an envelope and a safe place to keep your stamps. But eventually you might want to invest in things like stamp tongs (particularly useful when you’re soaking stamps off of envelopes), a special stock book with horizontal strips across each page to safely hold your stamps in place, and an up-to-date catalog to help you figure out the value of the stamps you’re collecting. Ask your postmaster where to purchase these kinds of supplies.
- How do I get more involved? The best way to immerse yourself in your hobby is to talk to other like-minded enthusiasts. Consider joining a local stamp club; visit a stamp show to browse, chat and trade with other collectors; and read about the hobby online.
Click here for a list of stamp clubs in the United States. For Royal Philatelic Society of Canada chapters and affiliates, click here . For a listing of local philatelic societies in the United Kingdom visit Stamp Domain.
Collecting stamps is a fun way to bring passion and joy to your life. It’s also a great way to find new friends who have a common interest, and a fantastic thing to share with children and grandchildren who might want to get involved too. Enjoy!
410790 CAN/US (04/15)