What to Collect?

Your stamp collection can be whatever you want it to be, there is no right or wrong way to collect!

You choose what you’d like to collect by:

Worldwide Collecting

Many people begin by collecting everything worldwide. The countries of the world issue a total of about 10,000 postage stamps each year! Unless you have a lot of money, space, and time, at some point trying to collect every stamp ever issued is probably unrealistic.

Country Collecting

Traditionally, collectors specialize by choosing a single country to collect, most often their home country, the country where they spent a memorable holiday, or a country whose stamps just look interesting. For a few countries obtaining every stamp issued is possible without having to spend a fortune. However, for most countries, there will probably be at least a few stamps that most of us cannot afford. Thus, some collectors will narrow their speciality even further, perhaps limiting themselves to stamps issued since they were born, or from a specific reign or era.

Mint or Used

Most people come to prefer either mint stamps or used stamps. Mint stamps have never been used and (preferably!) look the way they did when they were sold at the post office. Used stamps have served their intended purpose of carrying the mail. There are several advantages to collecting used rather than mint stamps. Most stamps cost less used than mint, although there are exceptions. You do not have to worry about preserving the gum on used stamps and can use inexpensive stamp hinges to mount your stamps on album pages. Sometimes the cancellations on used stamps are of interest. The choice to collect mint, used, or a mixture of the two is your decision alone.

Collecting by Type

Some individuals collect stamps based on the type of stamp, such as airmail stamps or coil stamps. This category may appeal to you if you are interested in stamps used to pay special services such as special delivery or postage due. However, the majority of philatelists collect stamps of all types.

Thematic Collecting

Another increasingly popular method of collecting is by theme or topic. Thematics give you an opportunity to explore all types of stamps from all over the world. Most are relatively inexpensive and allow you to customize and organize your collection however you want. Think of any topic and someone probably collects it. Animals, birds, flowers, ships, space, Scouts, Disney, and sports are some of the most popular topics. However, exhibits have been put together on far less common topics such as rainbows and even outhouses on stamps. Thematics are also great because you can choose what types of material to include. Most thematic collectors look for special postmarks that relate to their topic. Other philatelic items such as first day covers, postal stationery, stamp booklets and so on also offer great opportunities for thematic collections.

Other Ideas

Some collectors prefer to collect stamps of a certain shape or colour. Be creative! If you see colourful stamps coming in the mail that interest you, collect them! One individual may choose to collect only yellow stamps, stamps issued on their birthday, and aa third may be building a collection with cancels numbered one to one million. The important thing about stamp collecting is not the value of your collection or how many other people collect the same thing, but rather personal enjoyment.