Philately is the hobby of collecting stamps. This collecting hobby can be a recreational activity that is absorbing and fun. It inculcates a systematic and neat approach. You can widen your horizons by constantly learning about new countries, their cities and their national heroes. If you revel in stamp collecting as a hobby, you will need to know tips and tricks to find stamp collecting supply at reasonable rates. You have to learn to get maximum value for money spent on buying stamps. Read on to learn more about this popular hobby.
Stamp collecting supply
To start with you can get assorted worldwide stamps pack from your nearby post office or hobby shop or stamp dealer. You may have to spend small amounts for other supplies such as hinges, mounts and albums.
You can find all these supplies over the Internet or in a hobby shop. You can save used stamps too. Collect them by themes, country of issue or even time period. A cost effective way of getting your stamp collecting supply is to be on the lookout for commemorative stamps - large stamps that are issued in honor of a famous person or event.
You could request people who write to you to choose such stamps for you. Get your pen pal from another country to send you a wide collection of postage stamps. Scout around among friends and neighbors for stamps - they would gladly keep aside stamps for you. You could trade duplicate stamps with other philatelists.
If you are a member of a stamp club, chances are that you will have access to different types of stamps. You can add to your stamp collecting supply with the help of a stamp dealer who can get you stamps of your choice. There are many online dealers who can get you quality postage stamps and collectible stamps.
Philatelists would do well to stick to reputed stamp dealers who have a large inventory of worldwide stamps, US stamps and other philatelic supply. You may be able to get a good bargain at online auction sties where stamp dealers and collectors from around the world come on a common platform. But ensure that you are not palmed off spurious stamps.
Stamp collecting hobby
Stamps must be handled carefully to prevent damage. Use of plastics or cellophane may damage your stamp collection. Seasoned philatelists use gauges to measure watermark fluid and perforations on stamps. Most collectors are passionate about stamps, not just for the value of it, but for the design and size of it. Topical stamp collections can follow a theme like animals or sports or even Olympics.
Stamp buying for the collection is largely dependent on the collector's needs. The requirements of a specialist stamp collector will vary from those of a beginner. A good stamp collection is acquired over time.
It is essential to store the stamp collection safely, at fairly constant levels of humidity and temperature. Excessive heat or humidity can cause the stamps to stick to the album. Do not pack too many stamps within an album. Storing the stamp collection vertically may avoid undue pressure on the stamps within the albums.
Stamp collection software
Stamp collection software packages aid organization and maintenance of stamps. You can catalog them and manage your stamp collection better. Most stamp collection software packages have easy to use interfaces that allow you keep track of your stamp inventory and also manage stamp related data.
You can make use of web wizards to publish your stamp database on the Internet. Some of the advanced stamp collection software tools allow you to measure stamp perforation, centering on the stamp and carry on your own grading. Keep abreast about online stamp dealers, auctions, storage items and other stamp resources.
Stamp collecting values
A stamp has excellent value when it is of fine quality - the design in well centered, the imperforates have even margins, the colors are bright and rich and there are no faults on it. You must identify when the stamp was issued so as to be able to judge its value. Typically 19th century stamps were characterized by solid lines of color and engraved printing. The newer stamps have a glossier look thanks to on-engraving.
Commemorative stamps are usually larger than usual postal stamps. The first commemorative US stamp was issued in 1892 to celebrate the arrival of Columbus. Some stamps are quite rare and valuable. The 1855 Swedish banco (currency used in Sweden) yellow colored stamp was sold for $1.35 billion in 1990. The interesting fact behind this stamp is that it has an error.
The stamp was meant to be in green, but was printed yellow by mistake. Yet another rare stamp is the 1851 Baden 9 Kreuzer Blue Green Stamp. Other famous ones are the 1851 Hawaiian 2, 5 and 13-cent stamps that were referred to as missionaries. Stamp collectors came in large numbers to the Vatican post offices to collect special stamps that were issued to mark the period between the death of Pope John Paul II and his successor.