Are you curious about stamp collecting? You’ve come to the right place if you are interested in learning more about this popular hobby. Stamp collecting is a centuries-old activity that reached the height of its popularity in the mid-20th century when one in seven households in the United States maintained a collection.
These days, a large portion of “snail mail” has gone digital, but stamp collecting remains a beloved hobby for many people around the world. In this post, we will share the basics about stamp collecting, including exciting history about the hobby and tips for beginners who want to get started.
Origins of stamp collecting
Stamp collecting is a component of philately, which is the study of stamps. Philatelists seek to understand different things about an individual stamp or collection of stamps, such as how they were designed, how they were printed, and what materials were used.
The first known stamp, called the Penny Black, was created in the United Kingdom in 1840 and featured an image of Queen Victoria. The stamp was intended as a way for senders to pre-pay for their mail, rather than charging it to the recipient (which was how the system had previously worked). For modern collectors, the Penny Black is a highly prized stamp.
Once stamps entered public circulation, collecting quickly became a popular pastime. In the years since, people of all ages have participated in this family-friendly activity. Countries around the world began regularly issuing new stamps, which hobbyists would seek out and add to their collections.
Tips for beginner stamp collectors
Beginning a new hobby can seem daunting at first, but stamp collecting is quite easy to start. You don’t have to dedicate endless time or buy expensive equipment to enjoy stamp collecting, which makes it an excellent activity for anyone – from students to full-time workers to retirees.
To get started, you’ll first need to determine what kind of stamps you want to collect. Governments release many different stamps throughout the year, so some collectors prefer to specialize in a particular variety of stamps, like history or animals.
From there, you can begin to purchase essential supplies to preserve and display your collection. According to the United States Postal Service, you will want to acquire a stamp album, which is a special book designed to store your stamps safely. If you’re on a tight budget, you can also use a standard binder or notebook with sheets of paper inside.
Next, you’ll also want to pick up some stamp hinges to affix your stamps to the paper. Alternatively, you can also use stamp mounts, which allow you to insert unused stamps into transparent plastic sheets for better preservation.
As you build your collection and become more serious about the hobby, you may also want to invest in more advanced supplies, such as tongs, watermark fluid, or a stamp catalog.
To find out how much individual stamps are worth, you can consult a stamp catalog to determine its rarity, and stamp dealers can provide a price. For more insider tips, be sure to seek out meet-up groups in your area to connect with others who share your interests and learn from veteran collectors.
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