One of the great attractions of Stamp Collecting is the myriad of options available. Consider the following collecting alternatives -
- Stamps for a nominated country, e.g., Australia, New Zealand;
- Stamps for a nominated period, e.g., nineteenth century, post decimal;
- Stamps for a nominated region, e,g., Europe, Polar region;
- Stamps for a nominated theme or event(s), e.g. flowers, birds;
- Stamps for a single issue;
- Mint or used stamps;
- Single stamps or blocks;
- The process of producing stamps, etc;
- Production errors and variations;
- Simple or specialist collection;
- Postal stationery, e.g. pre-stamped envelopes, aerogrammes;
- Postal history, postal rates, delivery routes and postmarks;
- Different methods of carriage of mail, e.g., air mail, traveling post office mail;
- Study a postal authority service, e.g., express post envelopes, parcel post;
- First Day Covers;
- Maximum cards;
- Any combination of the above.
Unless you have either a previous collection which you now wish to re-discover, or you have inherited a collection that you are happy to continue, it is strongly recommended that you are NOT too ambitious initially.
Like most hobbies, there are costs associated with stamp collecting, with material ranging in price from as low as a few cents to many thousands of dollars.
There are probably two important questions that you need to consider prior to deciding upon your collecting option –
- How much money am I prepared to spend upon my collection? And
- How much time am I prepared to devote to it?
A realistic answer to these questions will go a long way to determining your initial collecting options.
Another important factor to consider when making this early decision is that there is every possibility that your options will change once you acquire a better knowledge of the hobby. Generally, most new collectors are over-ambitious with their selected scope of collecting options, which breadth will later be contracted. Excess ambition can stem from the desire to collect a reasonable quantity of material in a short period.
It can be quite useful when making this decision to discuss it with a friend who is also an established collector, or with the local stamp dealer. If there is no local dealer, there are regular stamp fairs held during the month, and the dealers in attendance will be only too glad to assist.
Should you still be looking for ideas before deciding what or how to collect, browse through the website Exponet. Exponet is a virtual International Stamp Exhibition, containing, at the time of writing, 407 exhibits from 40 countries, a wide variety of material on display. The address for Exponet is http://www.exponet.info.
At some stage during your collecting life you will be faced with a further important question – Am I going to exhibit my material or not? The answer to this question will have a significant effect upon many aspects of your collecting.