Stamp collecting is a centuries old tradition in which an individual endeavors to search for, find, and purchase unique and rare postage from their local, national and international communities. The stamp collector often sees his or her philately hobby as a great way to remember history and value certain traditions. Below are some terms to be familiar with when beginning a new hobby as a stamp collector.
Philately – The act of collecting postal stamps as a form of amusement or hobby.
Pony Express – The premiere American system for circulation of U.S. mail in the 19th Century.
Mail Carrier – The individual which carries letters, envelopes and packages from the Post Office to the destination.
Steam Ship – The conveyance in the late 19th and early 20th Century used to carry mail across the ocean to foreign countries. Postal rates for international shipping was more costly then, just as it is now, so the stamps have more value.
Penny Black – One of the world’s rarest stamps, issued in May 1840 for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It is the world’s first prepaid adhesive postage stamp.
Unused – Never having been used. The acted of being unused puts a much higher valuation on the stamp.
Professional Buyer – An individual who goes to auctions and speaks to dealers as a representative of an interested collector.
Fluctuate – To change continually. The price and value of a stamp often fluctuates at or before auction based on the minimum price the dealer will accept and the value the stamp collector places on the stamp.
Stamp collecting is a fun way to pass time for many hobby enthusiasts. This differs from philately in that hobbyists do not necessarily study the stamps. Old vintage and rare stamps are easy to find at great prices.
Collectors use auctions to find great prices on stamps for their album. There are always many buyers and sellers at these auctions with items providing great value to collectors. These valuable stamps are perfect for someone in a stamp collecting club or looking for more rare postage stamps than what can be purchased at the local post office.
The circulation of stamps for hobbyists is quite simple. Dealers shop around antique stores, auctions, and local suppliers for the lowest prices on valuable stamps. They then sell these valuable collectibles to hobby enthusiasts or individuals wanting to enhance the envelope or package they are sending. Dealers often sell books of stamps worth hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. While that amount might seem high, these provide great value to stamp lovers.
Stamps are readily available for purchase in so many different places. Collectors can search through thousands of online websites. For those living in a large enough metropolitan area, there are almost always local shops with great collectible items available. Some people even travel the globe studying stamps. They are considered philately experts or philatelists. They seek out and admire the most rare stamps in the world, but may not actually own any. No matter the type of stamp sought after or purpose for locating them, there are always plenty available and easy to find.