When people first start collecting, they often turn to old letters in the attic or ones they’ve received in the mail themselves. This results in many stamps from their own countries, unless, of course, they have family or friends that write from overseas. However, these stamps can carry various subjects, and people tend to gravitate towards certain ones. Let’s look at the different niches stamp collectors covet!
Postage stamps come in several different forms and are mostly sorted by country of origin and time period. However, not all postage stamps are equal. Some people prefer to collect airmail stamps, as they have a higher face value, commemorative stamps if their interest also lies in historical events, and postage due stamps, as they are printed in special amounts.
Others sort their collection topically, such as birds, ships, insects, people, and meta-stamps. You can even find collections of different types of art, years from the Olympics, Disney-themed stamps, and sports. It really depends on the underlying interest of the collector.
While many people think that all stamps are postage stamps sent through the mail, this isn’t the case. While those are the most popular, there are several kinds that people collect beyond a regular postage label. Some stamps are actual ink stamps pressed upon an envelope, bearing information about the postage paid. Many of these come from the government or overseas.
Other types include complete sets of unused stamps, which can come in large, miniature, sheetlet, and coil. These are often purchased straight from the letter carriers and saved or traded and bought upon the stamp market. Rare collections can go for very high amounts.
One exciting collection aspect is the revenue stamp. These stamps were created to show the issuer had received funds for tax purposes. They can be found on old hunting licenses and different types of packages imported from overseas.
Beyond those, you’ll find niches that get very specific. For instance, some people focus solely on stamps that were canceled the same day the stamp was issued. These are called first-day covers, and you need both the stamp and the envelope it was placed on in your collection. Cancelling refers to the ink set upon the envelope by the carrier, saying the stamp has been used. Many countries take the time to also place an actual “first day of issue” postmark upon the envelope as well!
Regardless of which kind you decide to collect, remember to have fun and protect your stamps by carefully placing them within an acid-free book so that they remain preserved for as long as possible. Be sure to research the care of stamps before starting your collection, especially if you’ll be placing older stamps within.