Though many people use stamps solely for US postage, there are many that enjoy the hobby of stamp collecting, also known as philately. There's no specific way to collect stamps; you can just purchase the ones you enjoy, whether they're unused or used, come from various countries, or are limited edition stamps. You'll need to inquire about expertizing services in order to authenticate rare stamps.
What Are Some Types of Stamps?
Not sure what types of stamps are available for you to collect? Fortunately, the sky is the limit when it comes to stamp collecting. Here are just a few of the types of stamps you may be interested in adding to your existing or new collection.
- You may hear or see the term duck stamps. What is a duck stamp? This refers to a stamp that is a type of revenue stamp. Each season, hunters are required to buy a duck stamp, and this goes on the hunter's license to hunt. This has been required since 1934. They're not only collectible, but have raised money to protect and conserve wildlife spaces.
- Stamps from foreign countries are popular types to collect. When you can't travel to foreign countries, why not purchase stamps from them? Some examples include China, the British Colonies, Europe, Canada, and Latin America.
- Special, limited edition topical stamps are fun to collect. These can range anywhere from stamps featuring cartoon characters to Olympic stamps or designs that highlight pop culture, such as actors or television shows or movies.
Which Stamps Are the Most Valuable?
Some hobbyists simply want to collect what appeals to them visually, while others are looking for a more profitable way to add to their collection. Here are a few ways to find stamps that are worth money, and some that are rare finds.
- Any stamps with errors or mistakes are coveted by collectors. Designs printed in the wrong colors, double-sided stamps, or stamps with an off-centered design.
- Vintage stamps that are unused and still have their original adhesive are always worth more than used stamps.
- Some of the most valuable antique stamps are the ones featuring presidents, such as President Lincoln, President Washington, and President Franklin. Civil War-era stamps in general are typically more valuable than newer stamps.
How Can You Start a Stamp Collection?
Looking through the varieties of stamps, you may be interested in philately, but have no idea how to begin your own collection. Don't be overwhelmed. Simply take these factors into consideration as you decide how to enjoy taking on a new hobby that can bring you years of joy as you find just the right stamps, or even turn into a source of revenue should you need it.
- First, gather the tools you need to handle and store your stamps so they won't become damaged. You'll need an album to keep your stamps in, stamp tongs to handle delicate designs and to minimize getting them dirty or oily, and a magnifying glass to get a good look at the designs up-close.
- Next, decide whether you're in it to find rarities or you just want to collect stamps that appeal to you aesthetically. When you want to find rare, valuable stamps, you'll need some books and other reference materials to look up values and find out what stamps to be on the lookout for.
- Keep tabs on what new stamps are coming out and whether you'll want to add them to your collection. Some popular ones include commemorative stamps featuring everything from Looney Tunes characters to depictions of World War I.