In today’s world of email and the Internet, stamps are often forgotten about. However, stamps are so much more than merely a fee paid to send a letter from one place to the next via the postal system. To collectors, stamps are a way of exploring new countries and discovering their different cultures.
Why Start Collecting Stamps?
Collecting stamps is a very versatile hobby and is open to everyone, no matter how old you are. The American Philatelic Society says that they’ve seen people, who are as young at four years old, start to collect stamps as a chance to discover new things about the world.
The beauty of collecting stamps is that you don’t need very much equipment and the equipment that you do need is not very expensive. So, all you need to start is to decide what type of stamps you want to collect – and collect these pieces of equipment – and you’re ready to go!
Warwick & Warwick give some great advice about tools that you need to buy when you start collecting stamps:
Stamp Tongs or Tweezers
The stamps that you collect are, sometimes, quite old and brittle. This means that if you don’t handle them extremely gently, you risk damaging them. Also, as they are often very porous, it’s very easy for them to absorb the oil from your skin. So, you need to make sure that you minimise the contact with your fingers.
A perforation guide will let you measure how much perforation there is, on a particular stamp, in a defined space. With very similar stamps, this allows you to tell the difference between them.
Some stamp collectors like to study the finer details of each stamp, which is why a magnifying glass is necessary. However, we would recommend that you only get a 10x one as anything else that has a higher magnification is a waste of money as you won’t be able to distinguish any further detail.
Watermark Detector Fluid
To detect watermarks on stamps, rather than buy any fancy equipment to help you distinguish this as opposed to going for watermark detector fluid. This is a lot cheaper and will get the job done.
When you get started with your stamp collection, opt for a hard-cover book – which is lined or squared – or otherwise a file with plastic sleeves to keep your stamps safe. This is a much cheaper option – as opposed to proper stamp albums – while you’re deciding if stamp collecting is what you want to. Later, when you’ve built up a sizeable collection, you may want to invest in proper collectors albums.
As your collection grows, you may want to colour-code your stamps according to, for example, various countries, features, etc. If you’re still in the beginning stages of your collection, this could be as simple as buying different pieces of coloured board to back your collection with.
Collecting stamps is indeed a gratifying hobby and is suitable for all ages, from the very young to the very old. So if you’re keen to learn about different cultures, this hobby is for you!