Helping Young Stamp
So, What's Cool about Stamp Collecting?
"Beam me up Mr Spock ..."
You can collect what you want, how you want, when you want. You can collect a
subject, such as animals, sport or flowers, or you can collect a country or group of countries.
By studying stamps you will find out more about the things that interest you - whether it's
football, dinosaurs, national costumes, horses, space-exploration, film stars or pop music.
And you can collect the stamps that show what interests you. Every subject you can think of has
been shown on a stamp at some time - the challenge is to find it!
Stamps come in all shapes and sizes including triangular, circular
and diamond. You can make an interesting collection of the
strange shapes in which stamps are printed.
Triangular stamp from Latvia
Circular stamp from New Zealand
Animals on stamps is a popular theme. You can collect a stamp zoo ...
... but don't tangle with this guy -
the American bobcat.
Some collectors even collect just one stamp,
collecting different printings and varieties
that occur on it. If you're just starting as
a collector we suggest you pick a country or
subject that interests you and collect just
stamps of that country or subject.
Subject collecting is called Thematic collecting
because you are collecting stamps on a theme.
In America they call it 'Topical' collecting.
The subjects you can collect are endless, and
you can pick any subject that interests you.
We know a collector who has picked 'horses' as
a theme. His collection shows many different
types of horses, how they are cared for and
groomed, the types of work they do - pulling
ploughs and stagecoaches, working down mines,
and of course carrying mail. He also has stamps
showing horse racing and horses in Olympic
When you stop and
think about a subject, you can form an
interesting collection about anything.
Space is a popular theme.
This stamp commemorates
the first landing on the Moon.
Some collectors (called postal historians) study the way in which postal services are run
and the routes used to transport the mail. They study the postmarks and postal markings
found on letters. This can be a very interesting part of the hobby, but you need
a good deal of philatelic knowledge to enter the area of postal history, and we recommend
all collectors start off by collecting stamps. But always examine any covers (that's what
stamp collectors call complete envelopes) for any unusual postal markings, and keep any
that look interesting intact until you can ask an experienced collector if it is worth
keeping it as a complete cover.
Stamps and covers can bring history alive. This cover was carried
by Wells, Fargo & Co over their Virginia City Pony Express
route in the early 1860's. Such covers are scarce and
command high prices. The stamp taken off the cover is only
worth a fraction of the cover with the stamp on it. Before
removing any stamp from its cover stop and think if it is
worth saving the whole cover.
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