Introduction To Stamp Collecting - Part 3

We shall explore the technical aspects of the hobby so that we may know treasure when we see it. We shall study the processes by which postage stamps are made, delve into the ancient and modern art of paper making, learn the art of steel engraving, the rudiments of lithography, and the different means of providing those little holes that surround the edges of your stamps. For all of these points are necessary and fundamental to the true philatelist and all enter into the hobby in greater or less degree - as you yourself will decide - for this complete freedom of self-expression is one of the most pleasant aspects of stamp collecting. There is need of basic knowledge but you will make your own rules of what you wish to collect.

We shall explore briefly the history of the modern world for we must know the whys and the wherefores of stamps in general and some stamps in particular. And we shall learn in passing just how closely postage stamps, and the service they represent, are associated with the progress of civilization over the centuries. Truly it has been repeated that stamp collecting is educational and in our introduction to the hobby we shall learn just how fascinating education may be. For here is an entirely new, and tremendously interesting, contact with the world and what makes it "tick." Every turn is a challenge, a quiz, that gets a firm hold on you and won't let you give up until you have triumphantly discovered the answer.

We shall review the many kinds of postage stamps and their functions and, perhaps to our surprise, we shall discover that some nations are actually in business issuing postage stamps solely to be sold to stamp collectors, that this income is in several instances the sole revenue of these nations and stamps their principal export! We shall learn that postage stamps in modern times are issued for so many reasons other than the payment of postage on a letter that often this prosaic duty has been forgotten entirely. We shall study the various ways of collecting stamps, general collecting, specializing, "subject" collecting and all of the many ways in which collectors diligently pursue their hobby. And lastly, but far from least, we shall learn the mechanics of the hobby: how to start, the tools needed and how to use them, the literature available and where to get it, stamp clubs, stamp dealers, exhibitions, ways and means of adding stamps to your collection, duplicates and what to do with them, and all of the other problems that you are likely to encounter. In fact, we shall explore the world of stamp collecting to its last detail. Shall we begin?