How To Collect Stamps - Part 1

As we have seen already there are a great many different kinds of postage stamps. The problem arises just what should you, or I, as individuals decide to collect? Shall we collect the stamps of the world without discrimination? Or should we limit our fields of endeavor? In a previous chapter where we have outlined the steps in starting a collection, we have advised that the beginner should start out collecting "the world." This is good advice, for the tyro needs to learn about stamps and not just about some particular kind of stamp. The first few thousand stamps should be world wide in variety and cover all kinds of issues. They will, of course, be stamps of very low cost. Indeed their individual cost may not be determined. But they will supply the basic knowledge that every advanced collector has to have before he can build a worth-while collection of any description. The term "worth-while" is used for lack of a better description. Every collection is worth while no matter how embryonic. From the very beginning we start to learn about things that are of interest and will stand us in good stead as we progress.

We crawl before we walk, we attend grade school before high school, high school before college, go through "basic training" on entering the Army, and apprenticeship before the trade is learned, and we must be born before we can die. There is no short cut to anything. Life must be lived and stamps must be collected to bring full enjoyment.

Stamps of
Stamps of Austria mounted on a page of The New World-Wide Album

Many collectors, however erudite, never entirely give up general collecting. However, almost everyone looks forward to completing a project and if our goal is a collection of the entire world, we shall have to be endowed with a very substantial fortune indeed - let alone the time involved in building such a collection. Hence, after a few years of general collecting, most collectors turn toward specializing. They concentrate on a suitable project that has possibilities of completion within reasonable limits. There are many ways that this can be done. One of the simplest, and one very widely practiced, is to concentrate on the stamps of a single country, or on a group of countries like Great Britain and colonies, France and colonies, Latin America, etc. Other collectors major in different kinds of stamps, such as airmails, specialdelivery stamps, postage-due stamps, etc.