Tips and Advice for young collectors.

How to start – What is Stamp Collecting?

What is Stamp CollectingLook at the letters you receive at home each day. Many will have a stamp on them. The stamp shows the amount of postage that has been paid, and the country the stamp came from.

Many stamps are bright and colourful – they have an exciting story to tell. It’s great fun to collect these stamps.

You could collect stamps from one country – maybe somewhere you went on holiday, or you might find collecting by ‘theme’ fun – do you like birds? Aeroplanes? Flowers? Here are some stamps with a ‘Butterflies’ theme

Or what about hobbies that are also easily found on stamps – football, tennis, cycling or horse riding? They are all on stamps and many more as well!

What’s Next – How to I keep my Stamps?

How to Keep StampsYou can use a stamp album. Some albums have pages with the names of countries printed at the top. These are fine if you have decided that you want to collect stamps from as many countries around the world as possible.

They are useful when you start collecting, as you will see a wide variety of stamps, and can decide which you like best.

If you have decided to collect just certain stamps (say on your favourite theme), you can buy albums with blank pages. You can use plain paper in ordinary binders. If you use plain paper, make sure it is of good quality. Thin paper will not be strong enough to hold your stamps.

While you are acquiring your stamps, and while deciding how best to arrange them in a collection, use a stock book. These contain card pages with clear strips into which you can slip your stamps. You can move your stamps around, and add more, very easily with a stock book.

Becoming an Expert – What is a Stamp Catalogue?

Stamp catalogues are listings of all the stamps issued around the world since the very first stamp in 1840.

Catalogues are produced with a wide range of collectors in mind. Some provide an extremely useful basic listing of the stamps, well illustrated, often in colour. Others go into far more detail, and are really only helpful to those who have been collecting for some time.

While many stamp catalogues list the stamps under the name of the country of issue, some are produced for thematic collectors.

Stamp catalogues show you what stamps have been issued, and provide much information about the stamps.

A stamp catalogue can give you lots of information, some of which you may not need.

First, it will describe the designs of stamps. This is very useful if you are looking for stamps for your own theme. It also helps you write a short description on your album pages.

Do note that not all the stamp designs are illustrated, so you need to check through the written descriptions.

The reason the stamps were issued will be given, and the date on which they were first released.

It will tell you who designed the stamps, and who printed them and the method of printing.

You will find about the watermark and perforations.

And also the face value of the stamp, (that is how much is cost to buy at the time) plus any variations that might have appeared.

There will also be a price for both unused and used stamps. However, do note that these are the prices charged if you buy the stamps from the dealer who produced the catalogue. You can often buy them cheaper: they are certainly not what you would get if you sold your stamps.

Becoming an Expert – How do I enter a competition?

We have already briefly mentioned on other pages where you can enter a competition, and touched on some aspects of how to handle your stamps.

In this section we will go into some more detail about the things that will help you enter a competition. But even if you do not go that far these tips will help you improve the look of your collection

If you want to look ahead and plan for a competition or a stamp show you will find details of anything happening in the Competitions and News sections of this site.

Stamps a World of Fun

What Now – Stamp Collecting (Australia)

Stamp Collecting  from Smithsonian NPM (US National Postal Museum)

Exploring Stamps:

Sorting and Organising Stamps

How to Soak and separate stamps