Starting out can take many different directions depending upon how you want to approach your collection.
The cheapest way is to start with new issues. This method can be frustrating due to the slow rate at which your collection grows. Until you get a reasonable amount of material, there is very little involvement on your part, which is not very satisfying.
A more appropriate method could be to buy a basic collection from a dealer or at an auction, and then build on it. Alternatively, you could make a reasonable initial purchase from a friend or dealer. Either way, you now have something to work with.
Once you have some material you need to make some more decisions –
- How am I going to store my material?
- If on pages, how will I mount the material?
- Where do I get pages?
- Should I use blank pages, quadrille pages, or pre-printed catalogue pages?
- What do I need to handle the material?
- How do I find out what I still need to get?
- How an I going to write up the collection, if at all?
There is much general information available in the APF Collector Series Brochures on the FAQ page to assist with the resolving of these questions. However, as the choice of collecting options is so wide, it is preferable that you discuss your particular choice with either a friendly collector or dealer.
Unless you are reasonably sure of your future collecting options, it is preferable to start with temporary storage facilities, thus allowing complete flexibility to subsequently change options. This step will defer addressing the question regarding writing up the material until you decide on a more permanent storage method.
Naturally, you will need to know what material you still need to get, so it is advisable to obtain a catalogue which adequately covers your collecting interests.
Should you ultimately decide to exhibit your material, many of the above questions will be re-assessed when deciding how to prepare the exhibition pages.
Still to Come in Stamp Collecting in subsequent Updates
Finding material for your collection.
Storing the collected material
Getting additional information
Improving your collection
Joining a Stamp Club or Society
Bidding at Auctions and on eBay
Glossary of Philatelic Terms