Valentina

My goals are small this year. It is more about an attempt to get organized. I have a collection passed down from relative, which has been sitting unsorted for years. One reason that it has gone undone is because most of what is in there is a mix of stamps from Canada, and from the 20's to 50's.

Organization is key to stamp collecting and I have some real beauties that I need to get sorted out.

That means I need to:

  • to mount all of my Netherlands & former colonies (Surinam, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, Dutch Indies, Indonesia) stamps on self made album pages
  • to learn about postal history collecting of Curaçao and get some (more) covers
  • to write up and complete Tunisia, Cameroon, and Mali after independence (until 1970)

I have some stamps that I'd like to get authenticated before I take any further action with them.

I also have a lot of extraneous stamps, including a lot of on- and off-paper US kiloware, that I'd like to gradually sell off and reinvest whatever proceeds I get from them into my collection.

I also want to collect all of the stamps from all of my families weddings. Not just the nieces but also of my brothers, sisters, and parents. I know they only have the sentimental value, but that is a value none the less. A lot of my nieces are opting for custom postage so that makes it even more rewarding since these really are in short supply. Even if they aren't worth anything. A lot of websites like weddingstamps.info give you the chance to print your own stamps for weddings. They are real stamps. So I want to make a real collection for them.

Some of my collection was organized during my drinking days. I'm hoping to get everything organized in a way that makes sense, as well as mounting all the loose stamps I have lying around (if but only for storage).

Plus my youngest wants to start collecting Japanese stamps. We use Wunderlist, you can even add images etc. I like that there are desktop and mobile apps, which keep everything synced. She can use here phone and I can use my computer.

It allows us to connect in ways I never thought were possible.

Valentina

A lot of collectors don't even know they were collectors. They will suddenly find a stamp collection from when I were 6 years old that I did with my their parents.

A kiddie Album.

As the name suggests, these were aimed at children and are usually filled with cheap stamps that could be bought in bulk (the albums you have probably came with 1,000 stamps included). While the odd rarity can sometimes turn up in such lots, anything obviously valuable would have been picked out along the way.

Unless you remember spending a lot of money on the stamps back then, it's probably not worth anything. You could take pictures and put it on eBay.

Maybe someone will pay you something for the albums.

My advice would be to take the album to Goodwill or the like. The chances of any of the stamps being worth anything is not high enough to justify the time and effort it would take for you to do the research necessary to find out.

If you really feel like sifting through them, you can always check if your local library has a copy of the Scott Catalogue.

Scott covers pretty much every officially issued stamp from pretty much every country. The values will be far beyond what you might actually get for most stamps on the open market, but it's at least a good starting point.

That said, Scott has a pretty steep learning curve, too. I've been looking at those books for years and I still get confused.

So, for US stamps, I use a copy of Mystic Stamp Company's US stamp catalog. Again, the prices they have will be far more than what they're worth, but they have pretty much every US postal stamp (barring some of the excessively rare, inordinately valuable ones) printed in full color. It's my best friend for inventory purposes.

As a rule of thumb, though, most stamps aren't worth much of anything.

My collection was pretty similar when I got back in the game, so I know this from experience. There is a chance, however, of one or two gems being in there, although that chance is infinitesimal at best.

I hope this helps somewhat!

Valentina

Pick one stamp to save up for then buy it. Once you buy it they save for another and continue the process.

Valentina

Well, stamp collecting is a hobby for people with money... I would not expect kids to collect stamps, as well as most young adults. I know how hard is having expensive hobby when you have no time, low income, family. So it was never surprise for me, that stamp collectors are usually old. Just imagine: your kids are adult, you have more time, more money - perfect time for expensive collection.

I know that it is not needed to have big money to get small collection. But I can imagine, that most of collectors dreams about old stamps, nice rarities, etc. etc., it is harder to find something exciting about stamps you see everyday. Well, there is always way to combine collecting money with history... But reading is much less thrilling for most people, than having hundreds years old stamps.

If you treat it like an investment, you're gonna make a bad investment.

Stamp collecting is a hobby that costs money. In contrast to many other hobbies you'll get a lot of your money back when you decide to sell but it's not an investment.

But most stamps you can find some history on, variations of and many pictures of, share your collection and look at others via several different sites.

Ebay has some pretty massive collecting going on but I think there are some huge potentials and significant draw backs using an online platform for collecting.

I started with proof sets as it's pretty hard to misjudge one (some are stuck way better than others but all in all it evens out), then branched into some slabbed stuff and been happy, it's when I go out on a limb and get a raw coin that I get disappointed, only two haven't disappointed me, low dollar stuff, had it been high dollar I 'd be on medication for depression.

Valentina

I love large format paper, but my draw back to it is the type of album your limited to.

Downfalls to 8 1/2 x 11 is less stamps per page and more cramped room for those large series. The pros though are that archival safe paper can be found at any office supply store, no need for large format printers, endless styles of albums to choose from.

They don't have to be three ring albums to mount your pages in.

There are several vendors that offer two post screw (like old Scott albums) pressure binding (like some of the higher end European albums) and three post screw types. Personally I like three rings, because when I'm transferring from my stock pages to paper I can have my stock page opposite of my mounting page.

If I need to stop for some reason I close the binder and all is safe.

Another factor to figure in is people have not perceived the hobby as "newbie" friendly. Buying an album almost requires a degree in marketing forensics. Then the albums that are widely available for the beginning hobbyist are often the worst albums in the world (sorry HE Harris that's you).

Our hobby is dying and sadly it's due to an elitist view by old school collectors (myself included).

I would love to see the hobby flourish once again, but it's not going to happen unless we make it more "new user" friendly. When I was overseas there was a stamp store or coin store in every block. By the time I left (late 90's) I was lucky to find one every mile or two.

Granted the USA has never been as big as Europe when it comes to stamp collecting I would love to see kids start it again.

If you make it accessible and interesting they will try it. The largest problem is clearing up the myth that it takes tons of money to start collecting (that comes later 😅).

Either way large or small thin or wide three holes or none.

It's easy to start collecting. Keeping them in the hobby is important.

Valentina

I've been a big fan of Mystic's Heirloom album, but my problem with it has been its lack of spots for singles from each se-tenant, which I collect in addition to the se-tenant itself.

To deal with this I have been making my own custom additional albums for my collection. I have just been doing it in Microsoft Word by drawing shapes with the right dimensions, adding images which I collected from various websites, and positioning stuff manually.

I will typically print the pages in order and fill them as I go. So I've got about 80 or so stamps ready to mount but haven't built the pages yet. I whip up a few new pages here and there as my free time permits.

It's a lot of work, but I'm pretty pleased with the results.

My largest issue with past Mystic Albums have been space for variations and the quality of the binder, but I have the same issue with Scott albums as well. If I were to just go out and buy an album pre maid I think it would be Schaubek or Palo Delux.

Both have decent paper and binder quality.

Yes, there are some issues with Mystic's binders. They came out with some new ones recently that are supposed to be better quality, but I haven't tried them out yet.

They can also be found decently priced.