Stamp Collecting is a Major Hobby for many People Worldwide
It can be started easily enough and can grow into a wonderful collection over time. One of the aspects of stamps that collectors find most fascinating is their ability to reveal much about the history and culture of other places. Stamp collecting is a hobby that is simple enough to get started by children or adults alike and can be continued for decades. If you are new to stamp collecting, follow this guide to get started and discover some useful tips and resources.
The Beginnings of Stamp Collecting
The very first postage stamp, The Penny Black, was created in 1840 in Britain. Even in those early days, people quickly began collecting postage stamps! It became a large enough hobby that companies were creating stamp collection albums, books about stamp collecting and other related items. By the mid-1800s, it was mostly children and teens who collected stamps. However, as they grew up, they became experts on stamps and the hobby grew even further. Today, around five million Americans still enjoy stamp collecting. A common misconception is that “philately” is a term used to describe the hobby of stamp collecting. However, “philately” is actually defined as the study of stamps, though it is common for people to both study and collect stamps.
Starting a Stamp Collection
As with any hobby, there are some supplies you'll need to get started with a stamp collection. While it may go without saying, a stamp album is essential. Since it is imperative to preserve the stamps as much as possible, a pair of tweezers will be needed for handling and will prevent fingerprints, sweat or grease from getting on the stamp. Remember, the condition of the stamp has a large impact on its value. A magnifying glass is also very useful for inspecting fine details. Make sure to keep the stamps and stamp albums away from moisture, warm areas, and light. Depending on your preference, the collection can be arranged according to a theme, such as country, time period, or subject. Older collectors might even pass on their collection to children or grandchildren. As the collection grows larger, it becomes more and more important to properly catalogue the stamps so that you know exactly what you have.