Buying and Selling Stamps

October 10, 2015 by  
Filed under How To, Spotlight

Buying and Selling Stamps

The first postage stamp ever produced was by the British government back in 1840. The image used was that of Queen Victoria and was referred to simply as the “Penny Black”.

Within the twenty years following it’s introduction, the number of stamp dealers and stamp collectors grew by the thousands. Buying and selling stamps soon became mainstream and a new hobby had been born.

Buying and selling stamps is participated in all around the world.

Collectors were now thriving throughout Europe and North America. The rest of the world wasn’t immune either. Collectors began to dot the entire planet.

This holds true still today as evidenced by the range of collections and their prices which have grown exponentially. For example, the Penny Black can still be found. Currently you could pay anywhere up to $200 for a good used specimen. On the other hand, an unused specimen, while rare, could cost you up to 40 times that …or more.

Think about that next time you grumble over the cost to mail a letter.

Let me give you even more perspective on this fascinating hobby. As far as twenty years ago stamps were already being sold at auction for one million dollars or more. Yes… one million, that’s not a typo.

People of all ages and backgrounds are fascinated by the intricacies of postage stamps. They may collect examples based on a historical reference, general theme or specific characters. But it doesn’t stop there. You could also see collection worthy examples based on a geographical region, specific plants, animals, or a notable event.

True enthusiasts are always in search of hard to find specimens. Such an example would be postage stamps issued with a printing error.

What you’ll need.
Actually, beyond a passion for collecting not much is needed to enjoy this hobby. But the basics that are required include stamp tongs to handle the stamps. These look like tweezers but with soft rounded tips. This is necessary as the oils from your skin will ultimately damage the stamps when handling them.

For storing your collection you will need a stamp album or stock book with plastic sleeves. You will also need a magnifying glass to observe fine details. All of these are available at any stamp dealer or stamp shop. You could also search online for all the items mentioned.

Decide on a niche and search for the appropriate price guide and catalogue.
Stamp shops also carry stamp catalogues. There are hundreds of these available. You will find catalogues listing countries, periods in history, flora and fauna, people etc.

No matter where you are, chances are good you will find a group, club, or organization dedicated to stamp collecting. One of the biggest in the U.S. is The American Philatelic Society. It has greatly increased awareness and expanded the reach of collectors especially since the internet arrived.

Countries themselves have taken an active role in exploiting the popularity of stamp collecting by printing limited-run, commemorative issues. Some nations have even come to rely on it as a revenue generator.

“Buying and selling stamps is a good departure from video games.”

This is truly a great activity. Not a great deal of knowledge is required to start and the cost of entry is low. Gift stamps can be found everywhere as can commemorative stamps.

Children often start this activity after they’ve been given a gift of stamps. What a perfect gift to bring back from your travels abroad. It may even have the added benefit of encouraging hand-written mail with a pen-pal to exchange stamps from abroad. I wish you the best of luck with buying and selling stamps.

Best of luck and collect well.


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