Sunday, March 2, 2008

Seven Ways to Add to Your Stamp Collection

Sooner or later, the stamp collecting bug hits full-force and you want to get your hands on every stamp that you possibly can. Unless you are independently wealthy, though, you will not be able to purchase all of the stamps that you want for your collection.

Here are some suggestions on how you can expand your collection. You won't find any rare or highly collectible stamps with these suggestions, but by following these few simple ideas you can be on your way to filling some of your stamp album spaces cheaply:

  1. Save every stamp that arrives at your house. Regardless of whether the stamp is a commemorative or a definitive issue, someday you may regret tossing it out. Also, some collectors in foreign countries will trade for your common stamps, as they don't have ready access to these stamps.

  2. Tell everyone you know that you are a stamp collector. Whether they are a parent, child, cousin, co-worker, member of your church or civic organization, it doesn't matter. The more people who know you collect stamps, the more people who might just start saving their stamps for you.

  3. Ask those around you to use nice stamps when they mail you. Many people love the nice commemorative stamps that the post office has, but never explicitly ask to buy them; they just buy whatever the clerk hands them.

  4. Use stamps on all of your outgoing mail. If it is going to someone you know, ask them to save it for you. If it is going to a complete stranger, hope that they are a collector or know a collector.

  5. Contact the mail rooms where you work. I have picked up a surprising number of stamps just from the discarded envelopes that are lying around.

  6. Join a stamp club or organization. Some long-time members have so many stamps that they want to get rid of, that they will gladly offer them to beginners. Some collectors save stamps from their everyday mail, but don't want to bother with soaking them off, and are delighted to pass them along for others to use.

  7. Post a message on the internet. There are various stamp collecting forums on Google or Yahoo that you can join for free. Join them and participate! In the past month, I've seen messages from one person who was tasked by a well-known philatelic society to give stamps away to anyone who asks.

These ideas will help you expand your collection, especially if you are a beginning collector. You probably won't find a rare stamp or something that you can sell for a major profit, but you will be able to learn more about stamps and stamp collecting, fill up a few album spaces, and maybe have a duplicate or two to trade with other collectors.

Have fun!

1 comment:

Joshua McGee said...

If you are an experienced collector, buy Avery 5160-compatible labels in bulk (the "King of Labels") for about a third of a cent apiece. Put a nice design and quip on it: mine show a Penny Black and read "Philately: The King of Hobbies, the Hobby of Kings!" Every time you send a letter, stick one of those labels on the envelope. It might trigger the person receiving it that they know a stamp collector, or someone who might like to become one!

Experienced collectors will also know that obsolete (but still fully-valid) postage can be bought below face -- generally 88% - 93% of face value. While a 6 cent Johnny Appleseed stamp might look boring to you or I, to a kid it would be terrifically exciting to show up on his mail! How many other ways can you save money and promote the hobby at the same time? As long as you can add in your head up to the right postage amount -- and leave enough space on the envelope -- go ahead and make up the rate with six to eight different "old" stamps. And remember that label!