Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Techniques - Building a Country Collection

Country-based stamp collections
can be very rewarding to create
Most collectors cannot possibly afford to build a comprehensive world-wide stamp collection, so many turn their focus on collecting the stamps of a specific country. Depending on the country you select, this can be an attainable goal within a few months or a lifetime.

Stamps from so-called dead countries, which no longer exist, can sometimes be acquired easily with the help of a dedicated stamp store or with the help of the internet. Trying to complete a collection for an active stamp-issuing country that has issued stamps since the early 1840s is nearly impossible, unless you are independently wealthy, which probably precludes most of my readers.

Here are several steps to help you start a country-specific collection:

  1. First you will need to decide on a country to collect. It is helpful to look through stamp albums to get a rough cost for how much the stamps of that country would cost. Maybe you want to collect stamps from your native country, or possibly the Old World country from which your family emigrated.

  2. Next determine if there are specific types of stamps you want to collect from the country. Are you interested in regular issue stamps? Air mail stamps? All catalog-listed stamps that the country issued? This will help you to narrow your search for the stamps to collect.

  3. Next, determine how you will mount and display your stamps. Will you use home-made stamp pages that are created with a word processor? Will you use ruled graph paper to organize your stamps? Will you buy a dedicated stamp album for your country? This question needs to be addressed so you can begin accumulating your stamps and tracking the ones you have and the ones you need.

  4. If you are to purchase stamps in packets, purchase the largest packet of different stamps that you can afford. This is an important first step for a stamp accumulation. Starting off correct will greatly decrease your time and cost to collect the remaining stamps.

    Suppose a dealer offers 200 different stamps from a country for only $2 and 300 different stamps from the same country for $15. Generally you will be better off to purchase the larger group of stamps for two reasons.

    • One, the 100 extra stamps that you get will probably not be random selections, but will be better stamps that you wouldn't normally get in the 200-stamp packet. Thus you will end up with 100 more stamps, but they will have a higher value that the corresponding 200 stamps in the lower-priced packet.

    • Two, the larger packet will probably include the 200 stamps in the smaller packet. If you were to go back later and buy the 200-stamp packet after first buying the 300-stamp packet, you will probably end up with 200 duplicate stamps. Thus, the largest packet of stamps is usually your better purchase.

  5. Mount your stamps. Once you have placed your stamps in your album, you will be able to create a want-list, which is a list of stamps that you need to complete your collection. You might record your wanted stamps on a computer, but be sure you have it on paper too. When you travel to stamp stores or stamp shows, you want to be able to quickly find out if you need a specific stamp.

  6. Next, zero in on auctions, stamp sites, and stamp organizations that list stamps of your country. This will be your life-line to completing your collection. You will probably have to buy the higher-value stamps individually. With some savvy bidding and negotiating, you can probably complete your country within your budget.

These are just a few techniques to build a country-based stamp collection.

Related Techniques:

1 comment:

Miloje Chastven said...

You are really correct when suggesting to collect some "dead countries" - because when my client ask me about my suggestion, I also recommand them to build one country first - small better, because to start with some like USA, or other that issue too much and too expensive - it will be just life task!

I have good experience - where people listened to my suggestion, and within few year completed collection of Bohemia and Moravia, with next step to upgrade it with varieties and more rare items from this country.

Some shifted to next country collection and made it with Serbia and Montenegro inscription only.

best regards from Israel