Stamp collecting is a worthwhile hobby. Stamp collecting and philately as well are popularly shared by many people all over the world as their favorite past time. It is one educational endeavor where a person can spend considerable effort and time.
What Is Stamp Collecting?
Stamp collecting is concerned with saving postage stamps from the letters. It involves earnest efforts to search out old stamps. It also includes the collection of objects related to stamps like envelopes with stamps on them. The stamp collector is very likely to find another stamp collector just about everywhere due to the popularity of the past time. In United States alone, the population of stamp collectors reach 20 million.
Stamp collecting, however, must not be confused with philately. Philately is the study of the stamps. Studying the stamp does not necessarily include the collection, nor does stamp collection necessitates the study. Most collectors simply enjoy the act of acquiring stamps.
Ways of Collecting Stamps
Most serious stamp collectors are not just into accumulating the stamps. They choose a certain aspect or detail and focus on it. There are just so many ways by which a stamp collector may narrow down his or her focus.
One way is to collect only the stamps of a certain country, it may be of the own country or a foreign one.
Some would be interested with the illustration featured in the stamp, for example cats, butterflies, airplanes or religious figures.
There are people concerned only with stamps released on a certain year, like the year they were born or when a certain historical event took place. This can be more challenging yet still very much rewarding.
With the onset of the email technology, people now are less likely to receive a letter in their mailboxes. Thus the chances of acquiring more stamps are lessened. Still, the search goes on even if one cannot convince enough distant family and friends to communicate through snail mail.
The Stamp Catalogue
A stamp catalog or also stamp catalogue is a list or directory of postage stamp types. This will simply consist of a register of descriptions and prices of the stamps. This is not to be undermined. This is an essential tool for any serious philatelist.
Initially, this catalogue were just used to help the dealers with the prices. Stanley Gibbons for one, still uses the stamp catalogues for that purpose.
As time went on, philately as a past time developed as well the function of the stamp catalogues. The catalogues started featuring additional details regarding the stamps. It can include the date the stamp was issued, the color variations and many more. Philatelist recognized its significant purpose that it cannot help but to become widespread to most people.
Stamp catalogues have different coverages. Only a handful is out there that cover the worldwide coverage: Michel catalogue, Stanley Gibbons catalogue, Scott catalogues and Minkus catalogue.
This worldwide coverage is very considerable given that there are thousands of new stamps released every year from different countries. Each new stamp will have to be described. Furthermore, the prices of the stamps must also be taken into account. For some publishers, the prices are determined by collecting the data from dealers and auctions.
Some catalogue publishers even give out specialized volumes. These contain additional details, most of the time according to nationality.
Most countries would have their own catalogues or their ‘national catalogs.’ The postal administrations may come up with these catalogues. The experience with them however is that they do not supply the full details of the stamps featured. The leading dealer or publisher in the country can also initiate the effort to put up a catalogue.
Some examples of the ‘national catalogs’ are the Brusden-White in Australia, Ma catalog and Yang catalog in China, Facit in Sweden and Anfils in catalog in Spain.
Stamp shops have stamp catalogues that can be purchased. At present, thanks to the Internet technology, stamp catalogues can easily be accessed for purchase online. Most web sites on stamp collecting can link to another site that offers these stamp catalogues. The price range would usually depend on the kind of stamp catalogue.
Discounted rates can also be offered by some web sites. Take note however that the discount may only apply to certain catalogues, usually those that covers a certain period only.
What may sound better is a free stamp catalogue. Free stamps are usually offered by stamp companies or even a particular web site on stamp collecting. Some would offer free copies of their catalogues. The free stamp catalogues may not be as comprehensive as the worldwide catalogues but they can still be very useful resources for a dedicated stamp collector.
One can easily avail of these free stamp catalogues offer as they are often used to promote the web site or to serve as a token for being a regular in the web site. So, simply grab the chance of this offer. There is nothing to lose only a free stamp catalogue to gain.