The Next Step In Stamp Collecting - Part 1

Having acquired the beginner's outfit, as described in the foregoing chapter, the next step is to get to work on your treasures. A good site for operations is the dining-room table as it offers plenty of room and, also, the rest of the family can sit around and put in their "two cents' worth" on occasion. Perhaps, later you will wish to make this a one-man project and retire to your den, but right now it will be more fun to let everyone in on the act for you are going to need much help sorting that initial packet of stamps. Put your album aside (after it has been duly admired by all and sundry), along with the watermark detector and perforation gauge. Open the packet of stamps and dump the contents out on the table. Now, using your tongs to handle the stamps, start sorting them into three separate piles, as follows:

  • 1. Stamps you can identify as to country of origin. You will find quite a few of these for you will recognize the names upon them.
  • 2. Stamps you think you know but are not quite sure of. This will constitute a much larger pile.
  • 3. Stamps you cannot identify at all. This will be your largest pile.

Now on the first time through the packet of stamps you will not have made much progress. In comparison with the others, Pile No. 1 will be small indeed. But by the time you have gotten to the end of the packet you will have recognized many characteristics on stamps that clearly indicate they have a common origin. Then you are ready to tackle Pile No. 2 and will be able to put not a few of them into Pile No. 1. And now you will find Pile No. 3 will yield contributions to both Piles Nos. 1 and 2.

You will note that I am advising you to cast into one pile - Pile No. 1 - all stamps that you have identified as to country of origin. Do not try to separate them into separate countries. To do so would provide you with so many little piles you would become hopelessly confused. Even the most erudite collector will not attempt to break down the assortment into its ultimate parts in one operation. Make only three general piles as indicated. Having made two trips through the packet of stamps you will have about exhausted the possibility of identifying further stamps at this time. (You will be surprised how much the rest of the family will have helped you up to this point.) Now put aside Piles Nos. 2 and 3 and concentrate on Pile No. 1 - the stamps you have identified as to country of origin.