My name is Wahid Zia. I am collecting stamps since the last 37 years (1980). I created a blog which includes the information of Pakistan all stamps. W/W new issues & all issues of Pakistan from 1947 to date are available on this blog. I invite you to visit my blog and get useful information.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

HOW TO COLLECT STAMPS

By:- Mahmood Hasan Merchant

Stamps collecting, as many of you know, are the kings of all hobbies. This hobby started with the issue of the first postage stamp, and is still popular when there are tens of thousands of different stamps in the world.

Stamps collectors come from all walks of life and from all countries and localities. Some have collections of scores of stamps, some have hundreds, some have thousands and some have tens of thousands of stamps.

The latter are usually serious collectors who do not give up stamp collecting for some time, then resume collecting, and then become dormant again. They regularly devote some of their time to this hobby and constantly look after and take interest in their collections.

There are many fields of stamp collecting. Most of us are general collectors i.e. we collect stamps of all the countries of the world. Some like to limit themselves to one or two countries. These collectors usually collect errors and varieties as well as usual stamps. Errors and varieties are stamps differing from the normal stamp in colour, perforation watermark or design.

Then there is a third group of collectors who collect stamps on specific topics. These are called thematic collectors. The themes on which they collect stamps can range from aeroplanes and cars to sports and Olympic.

BEST METHOD:- Many ways can be employed in the actual collection of stamps. Most collectors get their stamps from letters, or postcards, which they receive from friends or relatives. They then remove the stamps from the envelope or card and place it in their collection. There is a correct way of removing stamps from envelopes, which I will discuss later.

Another method is the exchanging stamps; although you have to have some duplicates stamps to do this. I think this is the most common and best method of building up a collection.

Exchanging can be on a local basis in which collectors that are friends exchange stamps with each other or on a foreign basis in which they exchange stamps with pen pals living abroad.

In this case, the collectors usually obtain the names and addresses of such foreign stamp collector from some pen friendship magazine or a newspaper. When their friendship is established, they can send a certain number of stamps to each other regularly.

This system has many advantages. First of all, if the pen friend lives in a far-flung country, both the collectors will gain by getting stamps from each other countries and those neighboring it. And if a person has many pen friends around the world, he can from a network of stamp exchange. The duplicates he obtains from one pen pal can be sent to another and those from him to yet another. Exchange of stamps, therefore, is an excellent and cheap way of acquiring stamps for a collection.

A third way of collecting stamps is buying stamps packets. This is a comparatively more expensive way and has disadvantages, especially in Pakistan. Most stamp packets on sale over here having, say a hundred stamps, reveal some of the good, picturesque and large ones on the top, while the others are hidden from sight in the packet.

The stamps on top and buy the whole lot for obviously a high price usually impress people. When they open the packet they find that the hidden stamps are either the very common ones or absolute fakes. Many collectors do collect these fakes considering them genuine. More on fakes later.

Some stamp dealers who market stamp packets are honest and sell all genuine stamps. Even then it is wise to buy packets of the least possible stamps so that all the stamps are visible and the collector can make sure he wants them before he buys the packets.

There are some dealers who sell their stamps by post and usually print a monthly list of all the stamps on offer. Buying from such dealers has the advantage that one can choose the number of stamps he wants and from which country, although there is the risk that you may get damaged or unwanted stamps for your money.

USELESS:- This brings us to the term “damaged stamps.” Many who think that a stamp is damaged only when it is torn into two pieces misunderstand this concept or has a large cut. This is why a large number of collectors keep stamps which they consider all right but which are actually damaged and not worth collecting.

A stamp, even if it has one of its perforation missing or has a slight cut near the edge, is classed as damaged. In addition, those stamps which are worn out or whose paper is thinned (usually the case when stamps are pulled off the envelopes) are also damaged.

This does not include those stamps, which have a little thinness in paper due to watermarks. Damaged stamps are absolutely useless for collection. The value of a rare Pounds 400 was reduced to 30 just because a small portion of two of its perforations was missing.

Stamps in good condition are sometimes damaged due to mishandling. This usually results when one tries to remove stamps off the paper.