7 tips to make you a better stamp collector

Tell the world

Don't keep your collection to yourself, let the whole world now you're a philatelist. Family, friends and fellow collectors can be an invaluable tool when forming your collection.

Chances are they'll think of you every time they see a stamp from now on, so ask them to save any that might be a good addition to your album. They may even point you in the direction of a world-class rarity that you've been seeking, or buy you a prize stamp as a gift (but only if you've been good).

Choose your album wisely

There are hundreds of albums to choose from when considering your collection. Beginner's albums often have specific places for each stamp and will even provide information about the country or maps, while more advanced professional albums will give you more freedom to arrange the stamps but may not always suit your specialist area.

Consider the paper you are choosing and make sure it's acid-free. Layout is another important factor, as damage can occur if the stamps get tangled once the album is closed.

You may choose to make your own homemade album, which is the preferred choice of many collectors. This not only allows you to tailor the album to your needs, choosing paper, layout and design, but will also add that personal touch.

Stamp Album
Clear plastic sleeves will prevent tangling and tearing when the album is closed

Invest in tongs

From the moment you start your collection, it is never wise to touch your stamps with bare hands. Make sure you invest in a sound pair of philatelic tongs to avoid leaving nasty fingerprints or damaging your collection. At the very least, you should purchase a pair of white cotton gloves.

Philatelic tongs are not to be confused with tweezers, which have a sharp edge that is likely to do more damage than your fingers could ever do.

Tongs should not be confused with tweezers (note the rounded tips)

Collect first, invest later

Investing in stamps can be a lucrative area and may even be your motivation for starting a collection, but like most investments, it takes time to learn the ropes and make sure you are placing your money in the right area.

When starting out, buy the best you can afford and concentrate your collection on a specialist area. Once you have developed the knowledge required, you may then be able to sell your stamps at a profit to buy better additions to your collection.

If investment is your main goal, contact our experts who will provide all the knowledge you need to be successful.

Join a stamp collecting club

If you are to gain a thorough understanding of philately, you'll need to connect with other collectors to stay on top of the market, so join a philatelic society or club. You will be amazed at the knowledge fellow collectors are willing to share. Join internet forums, subscribe to philatelic newsletters and participate with those that share your passion. You never know, you may gain a few friends along the way.

Catalogues are an invaluable tool

Catalogues and price guides can be costly, but they are an invaluable tool when pricing your collection and finding your way around a complicated area. You will want to build a small collection of these to keep using as reference material every time you find yourself with a few questions.

Auction house catalogues are often published online, so these can be easily found for a quick search. However, hard copies are infinitely more valuable as a source you can turn to time and time again. Those published for the most important sales will also hold their value, so can be sold on when you are finished.

Wikicollecting.org provides a useful central hub for auction house catalogues.

Delve deep in yard sales

It's worth digging deep in those boxes at a flea market or yard sale. Previously unknown treasures have been unearthed and bought for a fraction of their true value. Strong collections are often sold by family members who have no idea of what's contained inside.

But it is not just for these rare gems that you are searching. You may buy a large, cheap holding that can provide the necessary duplicates and extras that you need to bolster your collection.

Paul Fraser Collectibles can help you form your dream collection, one that will be the envy of all your fellow philatelists. Call +44 (0) 117 933 9500 or email info@paulfrasercollectibles.com.

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