There are few pursuits that can match the hobby of stamp collecting for enjoyment, relaxation, entertainment and education. There are numerous ways to collect beyond buying stamps and placing them in albums: there are many opportunities for personal creativity. Here at About.com Stamps I will cover some of these, as well as the basics of putting together a stamp collection you can be proud of.
Stamp collecting is one of the few hobbies where participants can get back every penny they put into it -- and often more -- if they eventually chose to dispose of their collection. But In the final analysis it is the knowledgeable collector who realizes the best return on his investment. An oft-repeated phrase among stamp collectors is "knowledge is power." That knowledge will also allow you to enjoy the hobby to the fullest, while building collections of meaning and value.
I've written for a variety of stamp publications including Scott's Monthly, Linn's Stamp News and Stamp Collector, among others. I wrote the stamp column for the biweekly New Jersey newspaper Wayne Today and co-edited stamp newsletters for the Metropolitan Air Post Society, the Association of Bergen County Philatelists and The American Air Mail Society. I've been a member of the American Philatelic Society, The American First Day Cover Society and The American Topical Association. And for a decade's time ending in 2015 I contributed a bi-monthly philatelic/postal history column called Covers to the print publication The Journal Of Antiques And Collectibles, published in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.
Over the past thirty years I worked for a number of stamp dealers, including Jacques Minkus, who, with his stamp and coin counters in Gimbels stores across the nation, was known as "the man who brought stamp collecting to Main Street, U.S.A." I have learned the ins and outs of the stamp business, which allows me the perspective of the stamp dealer as well the collector.
Stamp collecting has long been associated in the public's mind with the "loner," an image as false today as it was one hundred years ago. With a myriad of collector's organizations and clubs, many now online, it is a hobby easily shared with others.