Stamp collecting is a popular and rewarding hobby. If you are just starting out and would like to know where to start, here are some helpful tips.
It is said that the first rule of stamp collecting is to find a particular type of stamp you think you would like to collect and to take care of your collection. Some suggestions for types of stamps to collect are location of the stamp (i.e. country, state, etc.), stamp design, or a stamp for a particular season/holiday.
Some people collect one issue of a stamp in volume, one type of stamp only (sometimes referred to as a specialist), and some people collect all the stamps that are able to.
Once you have decided what type of stamp collector you want to be and what sort of stamps you want to collect, you need to learn how to properly care for your stamps.
The first piece of advice is to always use stamp tongs when handling your stamps. While stamp tongs bear a resemblance to tweezers, they are different from tweezers in that they do not have pointy ends. Tweezers should not be used in place of actual stamp tongs as they may damage stamps.
Stamps should not be handled with fingers or laid out on bare table surfaces as the natural oil in human skin and any particulates that may be on the table will cause damage to the stamp over time. When viewing stamps, they should be laid out on a clean piece of paper to avoid as much contamination as possible.
The basic necessary supplies for stamp collecting are the stamp tongs, an envelope to store your stamps in and a storage box to store the envelopes in. It is important to note that the stamp tongs will need to be purchased from a stamp store or can be found at a stamp show.
Once your collection grows, it is suggested that you invest in glassine envelopes for your stamps. These envelopes are made for stamp collecting and are semi-transparent. The glassine material is found to have no harmful effects on the stamps it stores.
It is suggested that once your stamp collection has grown and you have isolated what particular types of stamps you like to collect, you may wish to invest in a album for stamp storage.