What is philately and why should you start collecting stamps?

Postage stamps: Photo credit: Pixabay.
Postage stamps. Photo credit: Pixabay.

Collecting stamps (philately) is a special hobby where you collect small pieces of art and history that can show you many other interesting things. They can show you how things were in the past and if you study each stamp or unknown stamps you learn a lot about history.

Every stamp has a unique story, history and they show something meaningful that happened or existed in the past.

Every country also bring out their own flavours of postage stamps per year, so the hobby really never ceases to keep you busy.

So how to start collecting stamps? Most collectors start at a young age and some take over collections from their parents or family. If you gain interest in postage stamp collecting, then you should investigate in buying a “kiloware” online. You can buy a kilogram (or less) of stamps on eBay and just sorting through that which can keep you busy for hours and hours.

In such a haul of stamps you may even get stamps through the seller who will send you visa post. So, you never really know what you will find.

You can find online communities such as Stamps on Show and send an envelope where you will get one back from Thailand with modern stamps on it. The possibilities are endless, and you can have multiple people sending you “snailmail” what stamps await you? So exciting.

How to take stamps off paper? Most stamps simply soak off in lukewarm water but modern self-adhesive stamps do not soak off in water. You must use a chemical to loosen the stamp gum. I personally find that Ethyl Alcohol works best for these. When they come off, they are still very sticky so you need to rub some powder on the back to stop it from sticking to other stamps.

Why collecting stamps are really fun? Firstly, it is extremely fun and interesting. One minute you see a beautiful nature scene on an African stamp and the next moment you suddenly look at historical figures such as Adolf Hitler. Yes, you do get historical stamps with taboo characters and images but what should you do? Some people are offended by the sight of him but you simply can keep it in your collection or simply trade it off to the next philatelist. You cannot change history and owning a stamp with Hitler on is like owning a tiny slice of history even if it means bad history.

You can also get stamps that are circular, or triangle shaped.

1989 triangular shaped Christmas stamp of Netherlands.
1989 triangular shaped Christmas stamp of Netherlands.

Some stamps have “perfins”. Perfins are holes in stamps that discourage theft of stamps from companies or agencies. They could be a collection on their own.

A UK Machin stamp with a PAC perfin.
A UK Machin stamp with a PAC perfin.

Why not start today? Stamps on Show is a site where you can send an envelope and you will get a return Envelope from Thailand with modern Thai stamps on. Give it a go.