Stamp collectors are usually fascinated by the history behind each stamp, the story that was behind it. In each country, stamps will reflect the history, artists, culture, important events, and known figures. If you sent enough mail, at least one stamp must have caught your attention, because of its great design or important event or figure on it. It’s been over a hundred years since people first started collecting stamps. To look into the history of stamp collecting, check out the information provided by The Association of Austrian Philatelist Societies.
The cost of stamps:
Before actually investing in this hobby, start collecting stamps without spending money, by saving every interesting stamp you come across from incoming and sending mail and by asking close friends and family. There are a few ways of getting stamps without spending too much money, like buying them in bulk or exchanging duplicates with other collectors.
Try to buy a beginner’s set of 500 or more stamps from all around the world from stamp-collector shops or from online shops like eBay, for a few cents per stamp.
Although they don’t seem to be worth it, try to buy bulks of 100 or more of the same stamps for pennies, which you can trade in time for unique ones by dealing with other collectors.
You choose how much you’ll invest in your stamp collection and ultimately how valuable it will be. Even the album that will hold the stamps can cost $5 – $20 if it’s a beginner’s model, or it can reach a price of $5,000 without considering the stamps, for a professional model. Statistics say that more than 5 million people buy and collect stamps, spending a total of $1.2 billion yearly. Be prepared to spend at least $75-$200 yearly on this hobby if you’re a casual collector and around $2,500 to $4,000 if you’re a dedicated one, as shown by worldwide statistics.
What should you look for
A more valuable stamp is one that is either new and has never been used or damaged or an old one that has been released in limited numbers. You can focus on collecting new stamps or used ones, or you can mix the two types, whatever works better for you. You can get stamps from a specific country or worldwide and they can be niche-oriented (like stamps with pictures of flowers, historic events or artists), or they can be mixed. Buying stamps around a topic or niche you enjoy will be more rewarding.
Should the average working Joe collect stamps?
If you’re passionate about stamps, then there’s no reason not to start collecting them, especially since you can start a collection without investing any money. Before putting your money into your collection, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Start your collection without investing, to be sure you stick to it and have the time to manage it before having money into it;
- Instead of buying stamps you need, try to get them by exchanging your duplicates;
- Don’t invest into a professional album until you have a big enough collection for it;
- Don’t invest in expensive stamps until you know what you’re buying and if the price is good;
- Try to buy bulks of stamps from collectors that either need money or want to stop collecting;
Remember that this is just a hobby and it shouldn’t take over your life. Only invest the money you don’t need and never risk your financial safety. After all, it’s all about having fun.