Introduction to Stamp Collecting
Stamp collecting is closely related to philately which is the study of postage stamps, postcards, and anything related to postage delivery. As a hobby, it became very popular during the nineteenth century due to the increased growth of the postal service.
Depending on the individual it could either be a hobby or an investment. The stamps collected can cover any topic under the sun. From cars to animals, to flowers, movies, and even Disney characters. Many collectors collect these stamps as a form of enjoyment of their free time and the opportunity to learn a whole lot of things. Others to know and maintain their heritage. Stamp Collecting is also a very social hobby because you get to meet a lot of like-minded people at stamp shows and clubs.
Types of collectors
There are three types of collectors. First is the hobbyist, the second is purely for investment, and the third is topical collectors.
This group of collectors collect solely for fun and with no intention of making a profit from their time ad effort. They seek to have fun and learn about the stamps, their history, and art. They just love to collect.
Money is the sole purpose of collecting with this class of collectors. Unlike the hobbyist, they collect rare and valuable stamps so they can visit the bank. Who wouldn’t want to hit make some money! There have been stamps that have sold for up to $10,000,000. At the normal range, stamps can go for tens, hundreds, and thousands of dollars.
The Topical or thematic collector
The topical collector collects based on the subject matter. Whether the topic of animals, trees, countries, or Disney characters, there are stamps for every one of them. There are people who specialize in collecting based on specific topics from all over the globe. Such collectors are what we refer to as “Topical Collectors”.
If collecting is your thing, which category will you fall into?
Stamp collecting terms you need to know
To better under stamp collecting in and out, you need to have the basic vocabulary. Here are stamp collecting terms you need to understand.
This is the study of postage stamps and other related areas.
A stamp that is made to be used for everyday use for a very long time.
A stamp is used to signify a very special day, event, or person.
These are designs that are hidden in the paper of the stamp and cannot be seen with the naked eye. If you like to figure things out, you can try finding watermarks on your stamps using watermark fluids.
These strips are used to fix stamps on the pages of albums.
Catalog Value (CV)
The catalog value of a stamp is the market price value of a stamp found in an official catalog. You will never be able to sell your coin based on its Catalog value.
A post stamp that has served its purpose. This means it has been used to post a letter or a postcard.
Perforations are the zigzag edges of a stamp. They are different on every stamp. The unit of measurement in millimeters. The perforation size of a stamp can also make it very valuable. Ones with no
When a stamp is used, the ink marking that is made on it so it won’t be reused is called a cancellation. These ink marks can either provide premium value to the stamp or deface it. Stamp with no cancellation is called a mint or unused.
Mint: This is a stamp that is in very good condition and has not been canceled with its gum intact.
The coating of glue is found at the back of an unused postage stamp.
What you will need to get started
If you are serious about starting a collection, here are a few essential things you will need.
- Stamp Album
- Stamp Catalogue
- Magnifying glass
- Stamp Hinges or Mounts
Where to find stamps
Most people inherit their stamps from their mothers or fathers. There are also many places you could buy stamps. You can purchase stamps online at eBay or Amazon or any local stamp dealer.
You can also get your stamps in your own envelope n your mailbox. To remove them, all you need to do is soak in a water temperature of 72 degrees for about 30 minutes and they will come off. Then place the wet stamp in between two dry pieces of paper towel and place a book on its surface and allow them to dry overnight.
Stamp club clubs and shows are also popular places you can find stamps. The only con to using stamp shows for stamp acquisition s that the prices are mostly inflated.
How to store and organize your stamps
Your stamp collection is no different from an art museum. Displaying your stamps in a meaningful and orderly manner is very important to protect and preserve your stamps from deterioration.
It is important to protect your stamps because of these agents of deterioration.
- Curator Neglect
- Theft and Vandalism
- Water is also a common destroyer of stamps
- Pests that love eating paper
- Pollutants like bug spray, perfumes, household detergents
- Temperature and humidity
The temperature at which you store your stamps can damage your stamps. It is recommended you store stamps at 20 – 22 degrees.
In order to protect your stamps from these agents, and for better organization and arrangement
- Glassine Envelopes
- Dealer Cards
- Approval Cards
- Protective sheets
- Stock Book
- Stock Sheets
- Stamp Album
- Hingeless Album Pages
How to value and sell your stamps
Even if you are not in this hobby to make money, knowing the value or worth of your stamp is very important. The values of your stamp can be determined in a variety of ways.
The truth is not every stamp is worth a reasonable amount of money but there are rare stamps that are worth a lot of money. Either because they are in good condition or very old, or with unique characteristics. Stamps in groups on the same sheet are more valuable than single ones, and stamps are printed on special papers. If you have errors in the perforations tend to make coins very valuable.
You can either determine the values yourself or give them to a stamp expert who offers professional stamp valuation services either online or in your local community.
To identify the stamps value yourself follow these steps
- First, you need a stamp
- Identify it
- Know date it was produced
- Know the age of the stamp and the material used for production
- Identify the centering of the design
- Check the gum of the stamp
- What is the condition of its perforation?
- Know whether it has been canceled or not
- Find out where it’s rare
You can also know the value of your stamp using dedicated websites that specialize in stamps.
Use a dedicated stamp expert to know the values of your stamps. This is the best way to value your stamps. They however these services for a fee.
Attend a stamp show or exhibition. At stamp exhibitions get to see the current market prices of a lot of different stamps. It gives you an opportunity to meet stamp dealers and appraisers.
How to sell your stamps
Now you know how much your stamp or stamps are worth. Where can you sell them?
Here are a number of places to sell your stamps.
- Stanley Gibbons Website
Be sure to know the ins and out of your stamps before going to any of these sites to sell. Arm yourself with the necessary knowledge to avoid scams. Always check the credentials of the buyer before you sell.