Perhaps an old favourite among many hobbyists, collecting stamps most likely remains a good old-fashioned rainy day activity. My apologies to all stamp collecting enthusiasts who would vehemently demand that such a hobby must be carried out in rain, hail or shine.
If you suddenly woke up a reborn stamp collector, you'd do well to pay attention to how you might go about gathering your precious gems. Don't let the apparent enormity of the task stamp out your enthusiasm, for there's really nothing to it.
Decide whether you want to collect stamps using a scrapbook or stamp album. This tends to be the best starting point.
Some stamp collectors enjoy being heroes by enduring the painstaking process of removing stamps from parcels and envelopes. Just remember that you don't get a bonus for the needless frustration, unless of course the stamp in question is a get-or-die-type stamp. Overall, this certainly isn't the best of stamp collecting methods for most individuals, so you're probably better off investing in rare stamps.
Ebay is a wonderful treasure trove for stamp collectors. There's practically no limit to the amount of different queries you can make. That comes in handy if you have knowledge of the specific types of highly sought after stamps, particularly those that have been out of circulation for yonks.
Some might argue that Ebay is too much of a generalist online store for true, dinky die stamp collectors. You might be the conservative type, so a specialist stamp store could be the place for you.
Get active. A radical stamp collector would stop at nothing in pursuit of his passion. Look in your local telephone directory for shops that sell the most envied of all stamps. Make a few calls. Here's a tip: The older the store, and the more that store smells like mothballs from the previous millennium – not that mothballs existed back then, but you get my point anyway – the better your chances are at striking gold.
Also keep an eye out for that old lady dressed in vintage green. She should be dithering in the corner to your left, as you stroll in. Her gaze through those beady, piercing eye glasses with the thin chains should meet yours, but please don't stamp on her cat if it doesn't. She can't collect it, and neither can you. Just to make point two – it also helps if the place is haunted. Get the picture? Look for stores like that.
Usually the rarity of stamps is closely associated with the degree of competition. That is, the rarer a stamp is, the more competitive it would be to obtain it – and (unfortunately) the more darned expensive that stamp is.
The most voracious of stamp collectors would probably sell their souls to obtain the old Penny Black, for example. Don't go to those lengths. Your soul will be around a lot longer than the day when stamps cease to exist. Sorry about the insensitivity directed at your noble stamp collecting cause, but that's a sad fact. Just be sure to expel your frustrations by haunting the old decrepit, rickety rackety stamp stores. It makes it a little easier for the next generation of stamp enthusiasts to find a good stamp.
Stay clean. No water, no glue, no sticky situations. Simply insert new stamps into your stamp album. They should fit nicely behind the tight plastic membrane.
Organise stamps according to country of origin, or according to date if you prefer. Do whatever works best for you. You may even prefer to colour code your stamp collection, but that's generally a disorganised way of handling things. The best stamps could occupy the last pages of your stamp album, but you've got no right to show partiality. Give all stamps the justice they deserve. You're a stamp collector, not a judge.
Stamp collecting is becoming more & more rare as less & less people are sending "snail mails" nowadays. However, when I recently showed my son my stamp collections, he wanted to have a try. I wanted to buy him an album but the few places I tried (including Officeworks) don't stock them. Do you know where I could buy one cheaply (considering this might be a 15 minutes wonder with my son)?
By Judith W - senior reviewer Wednesday, 18th of September @ 03:22 pm
You're right, it's very difficult these days. My article drew heavily from my own experiences as a child. However, I have two suggestions - do an online search or consult the Yellow Pages phone directory. A lot of things I haven't been able to find in stores have been ordered online. Hope this helps.
By Matthew - senior reviewer Thursday, 19th of September @ 11:07 pm