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Stamp Collecting (Philately).

How can I learn so much from Collecting stamps?

        

Stamps arrive nearly every day on your mail! Learn about these stamps. Learn about the Country they come from, Its history, geography & politics, while having fun. Personally I collect  old letters & postmarks from my home town.

There are many Clubs & Societies around the world to join. Postage stamps, postcards & Old Postal History (letters), all have a story to tell. Stamps have been around for over 160 years! This is YOUR Guide.

So they arrive on your mail every day. What are the pictures on the stamps? Most Stamps show pictures of people and places etc from around the world. Past & present Kings, Queens & Rulers of Countries, some long gone! Leaders like Queen Victoria of Great Britain, Previous Presidents and famous people. Illustrations of wildlife, cars, airplanes events, places, TV/Film stars & Famous people are all to be found on stamps. If the stamp was used, what is the postmark? Where was it posted? Was the stamp issued to commemorate an important event? I also personally collect Sarawak in Malaya. It's early history of pirates etc, seems like something from a story book waiting to for Hollywood to make the film. You can discover history through stamps.  Stamp collecting is often called "The King of Hobbies & Hobby of Kings". The British Royal Family has a extensive stamp collection. King George VI was a serious stamp collector (Philatelist).

Some people like to collect old letters & postcards. (TELL ME ABOUT OLD LETTERS). Sometimes you might want to collect items going to and from your home town, some maybe 100's of years old. They may have the letters still enclosed. Who where these people?  How did they live? Where they famous in their own time? Did your town or village even exist then? Was your Country known by the same name 50 years ago? 

You will learn about History and Geography of the world by just collecting and sorting stamps. Stamps about explorers in the Antarctic to Lizards in the deserts. All this and more you will find depicted on a postage stamp from somewhere.

To start collecting you need only THREE things:

1.    Some stamps (from a charity, stamp shop or local stamp fair, or more often by mail order. TIP: Ask all your friends to save their stamps for you. 

2.    Catalogues to identify and sort  your new stamps (get these from your library to start, if you have one). Scott or Stanley Gibbons stamp catalogues are the most popular with beginners. 

3.     The item you can't buy. Time! 

What to Collect & How

ONLY ONE STAMP!

Tierra del Fuego at the bottom of South America only issued one stamp. cost about 4.50 sterling unused to buy.  It is was never really used, hence used copies are very rare indeed.
 

Singapore block of 4 forming a map

Great Britain "seahorse" 5/- stamp

TIPS: Collect only one Country or a theme (birds, airplanes, lighthouses, famous people etc). To try collect everything can be frustrating. How about collecting old letters & postcards of your home town. Look for letters with your town postmark. You can find them in old sales/clearouts, just look.

NEVER TEAR OLD STAMPS FROM ENVELOPES OR POSTCARDS. They maybe more valuable left on the letters and can be more interesting.

Never keep damaged or creased stamps (unless they are very valuable!)

Do not use stamp hinges to put your MINT (unused stamps) in your album. There are now special inexpensive plastic mounts to place your stamps in. Some albums come with these mounts already attached to the pages (HINGLESS ALBUMS). Many collectors use (STOCKBOOKS). These are books that have clear strips attached across the pages, in which you can place your stamps. These are relatively cheap, and allow you to rearrange your stamps at any time.

DO NOT BUY PRETTY MODERN UNOFFICIAL STAMPS THAT COME FROM AN OBSCURE COUNTRY. There are many bogus new stamps out there.

The most important thing to remember about stamp collecting, is to enjoy it, not to think of it as an investment! The age of a stamp, does not make it more valuable. PENNY BLACKS the worlds first postage stamp can be purchased from about 5 sterling! Depending on condition. Compare the prices from stamp dealers lists, (for GB visit www.stampsforsale.co.uk) with your catalogues, you will find most dealers sell at a percentage of the listed catalogue value.

Many Charities collect stamps on paper to raise money. Many of these charities sell bags of stamps still on paper for you to soak off.  (see KILOWARE below).  This can be a good & cheap way start to your collection. Many of us started in just this way. With a luck, you can find some amazing items in these bags. The best place to get stamps from is a Company that receives a lot of mail from overseas, you will then get lots of foreign stamps. Remember if you save the stamps that come into your house, you will end up with very many of the standard stamps used for posting letters in your Country. The same goes for bags of UNSORTED kiloware you can buy. A lot of the stamps are going to be the common letter stamps of that time.

The next step is to get some Stamp Catalogues which list all the stamps issued. Visit your local library, these are free. Remember not to keep them to long, as others may also wish to use them! Also look in your local paper for small stamp fairs in your area, these are friendly places, Most dealers started as  collectors  like yourself.

KILOWARE  is a name given to stamps on paper still, sold by weight, hence the name. This is a good start for any collector. Most stamps can be soaked off the paper in a warm bowl of water. Just put them in and leave until they float off the paper, then lay them face down to dry on a newspaper. When completely dry, place them in a book and leave for about 24 hours to take the curl out. Or use a special drying book. CAUTION: Some early stamps are printed using water based inks, these need to taken off with a special liquid, otherwise the printing ink will WASH OFF AS WELL. Nearly all modern stamps are safe to soak off using water. SELF ADHESIVE stamps are best left on the paper and just cut neatly round to place in your collection. SEE SOAKING STAMPS

If you wish to visit you can visit our bulletin board where Stamp collectors exchange ideas.

Most importantly. Enjoy Yourself.

Got this far! Want to know more? Click here to visit " Further help for beginners and the advanced PHILATELIC collectors Pages.

 

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