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Philately - the Hobby of collecting stamps

Getting Your First Stamps

Stamp collection is considered to be one of the most famous hobbies around the world. Choosing the very first stamp for your collection is special and hence requires some basic knowledge about this hobby, type of stamps and tools required. So, let’s get started.

Used or mint?

Many collectors decide and collect used stamps, meaning, they pull out or clip out stamps from envelops and add them to their collection or album. While there are others who go for unused or mint stamps which can be bought locally from post offices or from auctions. But that doesn’t limit the option of collecting both. Of course one can collect both kinds of stamps and make a beautiful album.

For used stamps, first clip them from envelop. Next, soak them in warm water to remove them from the paper. Give a quick soak in clean water. After rinsing, air dry your stamps and flatten them by putting under a heavy book, and the stamps are ready to become a part of your collection.

Local or Global?

Most of the collectors collect stamps locally. Collecting Stamps of a country where one lives is a rather easy task, but you can choose to decorate your collection from many countries or all the countries in the world. But as your area get’s wider the search gets complicated. So, take a slow pace.

For stamps from other countries, you can shop from “new issue dealers” or can directly gather them from the philatelic bureau of that country’s postal service.

You can also organize your album of stamps according to one or various topics.

Putting Together Your First Stamp Album

If you are starting out to collect stamps as a hobby you can find stamps for your collection from a nearby post office or from old letters or also ask your friends and relatives who live overseas to send you different kinds of stamps.

Once you collect the stamps you need to store them carefully to prevent them from getting lost or damaged. You can do this by putting them in a stamp album.  A stamp album serves many purposes. It provides a place where the stamps can be stored and displayed, so that you can look at them whenever you want to.

It also saves the stamps from natural elements like heat or moisture. It also gives a place to sort the stamp in an order that suits you.  Here are a few pointers that will help you to put together your first stamp album.

  1. Buy a binder which has acid free paper to sort your stamps. There are many kinds of binders available in the market.
  2. Buy mounts for stamps with plastic sheets which can be used to stick the stamps and prevent them from damage.
  3. Keep a list of your stamp collection in your album.
  4. You can also decorate the pages of your stamp album.
  5. After preparing the stamp album, next step is to organize the stamps in the album.
  6. Organizing the stamps is a personal choice. You can arrange them according to the countries they are from or according to the subject of the stamp like pictures of famous monarchs and presidents, pictures of butterflies, pictures of flowers and so on.
  7. Collect, organize and preserve your hard earned stamps well.

Build On Your Stamp Collection

Once you start collecting stamps and putting them in your stamp album, it becomes a passion which you cannot give up on. You get an urge to collect more stamps for your collection. But it is not easy to find stamps. You need to find stamps which are not already there in your collection. Given below are a few pointers which might help you in building up on your stamp collection.

Ask your friends, pen friends and relatives

The most common method to build up on your stamp collection is to ask your family, friends and relatives. They’ll pass on the stamps to you which they receive and which they find are new and different.

Visit online auction sites
You can find lots of rare and famous stamps on various auction websites which devote a section to stamps. This is an easy way to build up your stamp collection.

Local dealers
You will find many local dealers who sell packets of stamps with lots of stamps in them. You might find some stamps in such packets which you do not have and can include them in your collection.

Large Main Dealers
There are many large dealers, who deal in buying and selling of stamps and also arrange auctions for rare and vintage stamps. By going to such dealers, you can find rare stamps for your collections.

Swapping Stamps
If you get in touch with other people who collect stamps, you will find that you can exchange some stamps with them as both parties might have more than one of the same kinds of stamp.

Philately clubs

These are the clubs joined by people interested in philately. Networking with like-minded people always yield meaningful ideas and ways with which you can boost your stamp collection.  You can find these clubs online or in your locality.  Check out the nearest philately bureau in your post office.

These guidelines will help you in collecting more stamps for your collection and which in turn will yield you happiness and fulfillment when you’ll see your collection growing manifold.

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