A beginners guide to stamp collecting

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17 November 2018
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Stamp collecting has been a hugely popular hobby for well over 100 years. Discover more about stamp collecting, why it's so much fun, and how to get started with our beginners guide…

What do Her Majesty the Queen, Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood and Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova have in common?
Like millions of people around the world, they collect stamps!

What is it that makes stamp collecting such a popular activity? Check out the Q&A below and perhaps you will want to join those who enjoy stamp collecting!

What stamps can I collect?

There are no strict rules. You are free to collect what you like. You may decide to collect the stamps of one country or more than one. You may want to collect stamps that illustrate a theme that interests you, such as birds, football or fashion. You could study the history of the postal system. It is entirely up to you.

How much will it cost me?

You can spend as little or as much as you like on stamp collecting. It is possible to build an interesting collection with very little outlay.
Equally, it is possible to spend a lot of money to add to your collection.

Always check the price of the stamps before you decide what type you would like to collect, starting a collection and quickly learning that the best specimens cost thousands can be disheartening.

Just as you can choose your own theme, country or niche, you set your own budget.

How much time does collecting stamps take?

Again, it's your call! It can take as much or as little time as you wish. Some people spend most of their free time on collecting, while others just devote the odd hour now and again.

Many collectors choose to focus on their collection in the winter, when the nights are darker and it's cold outside.

Is stamp collecting a solitary pastime?

As a stamp collector you can, if you want, pursue your interest without anyone else involved. You can buy your stamps online and slowly build your collection from the comfort of your home.

Alternatively, it can be a very sociable pastime, with regular meetings of collectors, both locally and nationally. Joining a philatelic society can be really rewarding, giving you chance to gain and share knowledge with fellow collectors and make new friends.

Is it anything more than just collecting bits of paper?

It absolutely is, as stamp collectors tend to develop an enquiring mind and never stop learning. Traditionally, the hobby was seen as a very educational pastime for young collectors, ticking the box for geography, history, art, politics and more. Stamps can tell us so much about our world and its history!

Remember, with stamp collecting YOU make the rules and decisions.

What next?