How to Form a Stamp Collection
The hobby of stamp collecting is a hobby that can give infinite pleasure over the years at a cost that is determined by the collector. The almost infinite variety of stamps provides an excellent way of broadening one's general knowledge, for example knowledge of current affairs, geography, history, art and printing methods. Stamps are miniature works of art that help to satisfy the human needs for beauty, creativity and the desire for perfection. Further if the collector chooses to join one of the many stamp clubs or philatelic societies he or she is likely to substantially increase the collector's circle of good friends.
The basic tools necessary to create a collection are an album, a pair of tweezers, a packet of stamp mounts or hinges, a perforations gauge, a watermark detector, and of course, some stamps.
In my opinion the best first step in forming a collection is to join a local stamp club or philatelic society. There one will meet fellow enthusiasts who will supply encouragement and will happily advise and share their knowledge. The addresses of local clubs, their contact details and the venues, dates and times of their meetings can usually be obtained from local reference libraries or the Internet.
At club meetings some members and visiting speakers will give talks and displays of pages of stamps from their extensive collections made over many years. There you will learn from knowledgeable enthusiasts about stamps and postal history and how to display your stamps to the best effect.The displays will help you to decide what kind of stamps you wish to collect and at club meetings you will have the opportunity to acquire the necessary equipment from amateur dealers more cheaply than you could from any other source. Most clubs hold periodic auctions at which members sell their surplus stamps and circulate amongst members boxes of books (Club Packets) in which members have mounted and priced for sale their duplicate stamps. These auctions and packets are the cheapest way of acquiring your stamps and equipment.
There are now too many stamps to make a general collection and it is necessary to make a specialised collection of say stamps of one geographical area or historical period or type of stamp, for example postage stamps or revenue stamps, or stamps based on a particular theme, such as sport, space or other exploration, birds, flowers, transport, music, an historical figure or a profession.There are no restrictions.
Unless the postmarks are of particular interest, remove the stamps from the surrounding paper by floating it on warm water for a few minutes and lay the stamps face upwards on blotting or similar paper to dry . Mount the stamps in albums (loose leaf ones are the best and allow for the collection to grow) with the gummed hinges or mounts sold for that purpose and arrange them attractively, a few on each page. Do not overcrowd the pages and avoid damaged of heavily postmarked stamps.
Finally remember that stamp collecting is addictive!
This content was provided by one of our users, Gordon Bowley