Long gone are the days where receiving mail was an everyday activity. Sure, you still get mail, but most things are now done online. You communicate with friends and family through a much faster, yet not that memorable, way. People used to get excited to see the mail-man coming and it was a special occasion to get news from somebody from far away.
For those nostalgic souls, stamp collecting is a way to keep those old days alive! But then again, you might just do it for your own reasons. Anyway, whatever road that drove you here, you chose one of the most popular hobbies in the world. The US alone has around 20 million collectors.
In case you are just getting started in this whole fun world of stamp collecting here are some basic notions to take into account.
A proper name
Philately is the study of stamps. However, a philatelist will not always be a stamp collector. You will need some philatelic studies if you decide to create a more conscious and larger collection; but for the most part, stamp collectors do it for the sake of hobby. They gather and accumulate stamps to enjoy themselves and find a relaxing outlet for everyday life. They do pay attention to detail (historical value, the different subjects, and geographical aspects) but they don’t go too far with it.
Handle with care
Stamps are a delicate item, so you need some basic equipment to handle them: tongs that will help you keep away the oils from your skin; a magnifying glass that will allow you to view the details and general condition of the object; and a storage device and system.
Since the stamps need to be attached to the sheets of your book, the use of hinges is the most common way because it’s cheap. Some collectors will rather not use these when it comes to more valuable stamps and use hingeless mounts that are more expensive.
Some books have clear pockets where you can store each stamps. This is a good way to display them. However, you have to be very careful of where you store the book and make sure your stamps don’t get ruined. The place should be away from light, moisture and heat.
An order to things
The proudest moment for a collector is when they show you their collection. This can be arranged according to your own taste and wished. Do you have a focus on your collection? Have you been collecting random stamps? Even if there is no specific route of your hobby, there are plenty of ways of arranging something that is seemingly random:
There are many ways for you to find stamps. You can go to the most obvious source: the post office! But then again, it may not be a source for variety.
Family and friends are a good way of getting stamps, you can ask them to save them for you. Chances are that they will be definitive stamps, but that’s ok because these have the biggest range: colors, topics, sizes, etc. Don’t underestimate definitive stamps, especially if you’re just getting started.
Also, there are stamp dealers online where you can find more specific ones you like.