15 top tips for stamp collecting
Whether you are an amateur or expert, these 15 tips are sure to aid all philatelists
Stamp collecting can take on many different forms, suited to your interests, time and budget. The stamps you collect can be thematic – based on a particular theme, catergorised by country or simply whatever you choose to collect. In this article we will talk about all aspects of stamp collecting, from trading and auctions, to blogs and stamp collecting groups. So read our 15 top tips and ensure you never miss out on an opportunity to increase your collection's value.
Find out Stamp & Coin Mart's top 15 tips for stamp collecting.
1. Auctions aren't just for the rich
There are smaller collections and ranges on offer and also individual stamps and sets of stamps. However, you can always grow your stamp collection, buying from eBay or Amazon too!
2. Trust your auctioneer
If you are a seller, trust the auctioneer. Most auctioneers will have years of experience.
3. Find out about your dealer
Anyone wishing to have a collection valued should find out as much as possible about the dealer – try looking at their website or talking to other stamp collectors to find out who they use.
4. Your stamp collection may be valuable if;
- The stamps date from before the Queens reign (pre-1952)
- The albums are neatly arranged (and with notes), with clear care taken by the collector.
- The collection is focused on one theme/country, rather than mixed.
5. Insure your collection
Even if you don’t plan to sell, get your stamps valued for insurance purposes. This need not be at a high expense, you can check the value on auction sites such as eBay.
6. Don't wait for a better deal
Don’t miss a good sale price by holding out for a better deal – as a general guide, expect to make no more than the catalogue price Catalogue prices can often be much higher than the real value.
7. Cinderella stamps
Unlike the princess in the picture, these stamps are not a fairytale. So make sure you know your Cinderella stamps. These include; poster stamps, propaganda stamps, Christmas and Easter stamps, advertising labels and local post stamps.
8. Cinderella fact
Cinderella stamps get their name as they were not invited to the postage stamps party – much like Cinderella herself.
9. Condition is extremely important
Nothing reduces the value more than a tear, stain or heavy postmark. So try to obtain mint copies or those with clear, precide postmarks.
Use a pair of tweezers for handling; this will lessen the chance of fingerprints, sweat or grease. Remember, the condition of the stamp has a large effect on its value.
If you have duplicate stamps, trade these with other collectors or visit the local hobby shop and see if they are interested or know of anyone who would be.
Join a stamp collecting club. Again this will help you with trading and selling stamps, but also will help you gain knowledge through other people. Why noy follow our Facebook page @stampandcoinmartmagazine to start you off?
13. Removal from envelope
To remove a modern, used stamp from its envelope, you should use a method known as 'soaking'. Although called 'soaking', the act is better described as floating, as you should allow the stamps to float in water, until the stamp comes away from the envelope.
14. Follow a blog
A blog is a great way to gain some insight into the hobby and all that goes along with it. A blog gives reading a more personal approach, making reading up on the hobby more informal (and a bit less daunting).
15. Find out more
Struggling to find out more about a stamp you own? Take a picture and do a google image search! Simply type ‘images.google.com’ into your search bar and press the camera icon. Insert your picture and a variety of similar images will appear, click on one and follow its link to start gaining knowledge!
So the main points to remember are;
- Use blogs and other collectors to help you find new stamps, auctioneers or even to trade stamps with.
- Treat stamps with respect by using stamp tongs or tweesers, to ensure no tears or rips which can lower the selling price.
- Cinderella stamps may not 'be invited to the party', but they can still be very valuable.
- Insure your collection no matter how big or small and whether you plan to sell or not.
- Have fun and enjoy the stamps you collect.
If you are looking for a stamp collecting group to join why not check out our Stamp & Coin Mart Facebook page?