Getting Started

Stamp Collecting is a Hobby for Everyone

Few hobbies match the flexibility of stamp collecting. It is suitable for nearly all ages. You can collect stamps all 12 months of the year regardless of the climate where you are located. It does not require any special skills or great wealth. Some individuals begin as young as age 4 and collect their whole lives. Many people start collecting stamps that represent a topic they enjoy.

What is Stamp Collecting?

“Stamp collecting” is the accumulation of material related to the payment of postage and the carriage of the mails. In addition to traditional postage stamps, many philatelists — the fancy word for stamp collectors — also collect covers, envelopes that carried mail. Some also collect markings or labels applied to mail including postage meters. Others will even collect Christmas Seals, revenue stamps and other ephemera.

Why Collect Stamps?

Most individuals collect for relaxation and enjoyment although many secretly hope that they will discover a rare and elusive stamp that will make them wealthy. Some individuals collect as an investment. As stamps are miniature works of art, it’s nearly impossible to collect them without gaining a large amount of knowledge. Stamps also usually provide a much greater return on your investment than other hobbies. While you might not get back more than you invest, how much return can you get on your golf scorecard?

Who Collects Stamps?

Stamp collecting has often been called “the hobby of kings and the king of hobbies.” The ABPS estimates that more than 1 million people in Great Britain collect stamps. Stamp collectors include individuals from all walks of life. King George V may have been the most famous British collector, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt the most famous U.S. collector; other well-known collectors include actors Sam West and James Earl Jones; explorer Jacques Cousteau; tennis superstar Maria Sharapova; musicians John Lennon, Freddie Mercury and Ron Wood; racing driver Alain de Cadenet; and French President Nicholas Sarkozy.