Introduction to Stamp Collecting

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Stamp Collecting


If you’re thinking of starting stamp collecting there are a number of ways of going about it which I will outline in this guide.

•    The traditional is to do an all-world collection which involves collecting stamps generally and displayed under each country.
•    Thematic collecting involves collecting any stamps with a theme such as flowers, animals , butterflies, space and  cars. The trick is to pick a subject that interest you and to keep a look out for stamps on your theme.
•    A single country collection.
•    A specialist collection is a collection that effectively makes a study in a certain area of philately.  Examples include a single stamp issue, stamps of a country between two dates,(i.e. Germany 1900 – 1930) and a set of definitive issues.  Definitive issues are everyday monetary stamps that are not commemorating an event.

There is a lot to be said for each and it much depends on your interests. The all-world is good for kids and new collectors to help you to learn to identify stamps and to get a feel for the hobby.  Thematic tends to appeal to a specific collector it’s not something I particularly like. The single country can be very interesting but I would recommend restricting the date range initially. The specialist collection is for collectors that have gain a great deal of experience generally but with a little care a beginner could start a less challenging specialist study.  

The basic equipment

The basic equipment you should have are:
1.    Stamp Tweezes
2.    Stamp Catalogue
3.    Magnifying glass
4.    Stamp Album, which should be a loose leaf either multi-ring holder or spring back.
5.    Mount system and or stamp hinges
6.    A good book on stamp collecting.

Additional equipment you can get eventually are:

7.    Uv-lamp
8.    Watermark detector
9.    There are other technical instruments but these are for the specialist.

This should give you the basic information you need to start but you should read a book on the subject. You can also join your local stamp club and the members will be only too glad to help a new collector.
In due course I will write some more specialists guides to expand on some of the issue outlined in this article.

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