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Stamp Collecting: At Home Hobbies


Stamp collecting is one of the world's oldest and most beloved hobbies. The process of collecting stamps includes gathering and cataloging a wide range of everything stamp-related, including items like postcards and pre-stamped envelopes if you choose. Philately is the study of stamps and how they are used within society; however, those who study it do not necessarily collect stamps. Since the inception and increasing popularity of postal systems both in the United States and abroad, stamp collecting has grown into an international hobby. If you're interested in trying your hand at stamp collecting at home, there are plenty of resources available to help you get started. People of all ages can enjoy stamp collecting and pass it down to future generations to enjoy.

How to Get Started

Before you begin your stamp-collecting project, you'll need a few tools and supplies that will make the process easier. A magnifying glass can be especially helpful, since it will make examining the many minute details of a stamp easier. Special tongs or tweezers can help you remove a stamp from an envelope, place it in a collector's book, observe it, or mount it on special paper for safekeeping. Several books are available that can serve as a guide to identifying stamps and learning more about when they were in circulation. Many areas also have local stamp-collecting clubs where you can meet with other enthusiasts, learn more about the hobby, and find out how and where to accrue new stamps. Gather your tools and resources first before you begin so that the process of collecting is fun and easy.

Stamp Resources

There are many ways you can acquire new stamps to keep and catalog at home. Local dealers often sell stamps individually or as a bundle, so you can sift through them and look for stamps you may not already have. The Internet is also an excellent resource for this type of project, since there are countless online marketplaces available that sell or trade a wide variety of stamps online. Stamp-collecting clubs are another excellent place to obtain stamps, and many members enjoy trading duplicate stamps for those they don't already have. Special exhibitions and stamp shows are another wonderful way to gather new stamps for your collection.

How to Organize Stamps

Since most stamps are rather small, proper organization is the key to keeping them safe and organized. A storage book known as a stockbook is an excellent choice for advanced collectors. These special books contain slender, clear sleeves that allow you to neatly organize the stamps in a row while being able to view them and keep them protected. Using labels, you can categorize the stamps in the book by country of origin, the year the stamp was released, or however else you'd prefer to sort them. Specially made stamp-collecting albums are a simple, easy way to get started at home. These books can be found at most craft or hobby stores. A loose-leaf binder is another great option for beginners, and it allows you to expand the book as your collection grows. Stamp hinges or special glue are popular ways to mount the stamps to the pages of your book without damaging them.

Stamp Societies

Many different stamp societies exist to bring together fellow stamp-collecting enthusiasts. The American Philatelic Society is the world's largest organization for collectors and those who study stamps. On a local level, look for stamp society chapters in your area so you can meet others who collect stamps in person. These local organizations often have meetings where you can see other people's collections, swap stamps, and talk about all things stamp-related. The International Society of Worldwide Stamp Collectors, or ISWSC, works with stamp collectors all over the world and offers a plethora of educational resources to help collectors get started with their project.

Stamp Collecting for Kids

Many who enjoy stamp collecting began their hobby as a young child. It's a wonderful way to learn about the many different types of stamps available, the history of stamps, and their use in society, and it's just plain fun for kids of all ages. If your child is interested in collecting stamps, get them started with a book and a few basic stamps. There are many starter kits available for kids that include items like magnifying glasses, tweezers, albums, and information about the hobby. Collecting stamps is a wonderful way to learn about geography, history, culture, and even famous people. Not only will kids enjoy seeing how many new stamps they can add to their collection, but they'll also get excited to discover more about the background of each stamp and where it came from.

[Reference accessed 5/15/2019]

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