What is Stamp Collecting?
Stamp collecting is the collecting of postage stamps and related objects. It is related to philately, which is the study of. It has been one of of the the most popular activities in the world since the late nineteenth century with the rapid growth of the postal service, as a never-ending supply of new stamps has been created by countries that have tried to promote their distinctiveness by their stamps.
For proper stamp collection, a few simple equipment items are recommended. Stamp tongs help to treat stamps easily, a magnifying glass allows to see fine details, and a book is a convenient way to store stamps. In some case, the stamps need to be applied to the album covers, so stamp hinges are a cheap and easy way to do this. Hinging stamps can destroy them, however, thus decreasing their value; today most collectors favor hingeless mounts that are more costly. These are clear, chemically neutral thin plastic holders issued in different sizes that open up to receive stamps and are gummed on the back to stick to the pages of the album. The option is a stockbook in which the stamps fall into plain pockets without a raise. Stamps should be stored away or damaged from sun, water, and humidity. Stamps can be displayed by country, topic, or even size according to the wishes of the collector, which can create an eye-friendly display. There are no rules, and the individual collector's decision is entirely a matter. The collector can buy, download or create albums commercially. In the latter cases, better long-term stamp protection is offered by the use of acid-free paper.
Stamp catalogs are the primary tool used by serious collectors to organize their collections, as well as to identify and valuate stamps. Most stamp shops have catalogs for purchase of stamps. Some catalogs are available online, free of charge or for a fee. There are hundreds of different catalogues, most of which are based for specific countries or periods. Collector's clubs aim to provide their members with free catalogues.
The United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a collector of stamps; during his presidency he designed numerous American stamps for commemoration. Ayn Rand revived her interest in stamps from youth late in life and became an avid collector. Many figures in music and sport are considered to be collectors. As a kid, Freddie Mercury, band Queen's lead singer, collected stamps. The British Postal Museum & Archive collection includes his childhood stamp series. The Beatles' John Lennon was a fan of childhood coins. The National Postal Museum is keeping his stamp collection.
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