July 2019

Five steps to start collecting

start collection

Philately is a timeless hobby for those with a keen eye for detail and an appreciation for history and culture.

Your introduction into the world of stamp collecting can start small, with just a packet of whole-world stamps, an album and a few stamp hinges.

Buy the largest packet within your budget

Stamp packets come with an assortment of items and can be obtained from letters, at reputed dealers and through kilowares which can provide as many as 2,500 items.

Ensure the packets are marked  “All Different” to avoid receiving duplicates.

The packet will include stamps of different conditions — some unused, others fine-or-postally used. Choose between one or the other for a cohesive collection that looks attractive when neatly lined in an album.

Unused stamps usually cost more as they bear the face value of the stamps plus the dealer’s usual commission or profit. On the other hand, some stamps – especially those from the more remote territories – are often difficult to find in postally used condition and cost more than unused ones.



Choose a country or theme

Your philatelic interest can be personal and specific to your interest.

Postage stamps are miniature works of art – colourful, well-designed and superbly printed. Some of them depict famous people and events, while others show birds and animalsflowers, railways, ships and aeroplanes, buildings and bridges, coats-of-arms and flags, space and sport.

Over 200 countries in the world currently issue postage stamps – stamps for everyday use called definitives or stamps issued to mark anniversaries, national and local celebrities or occasions called commemoratives. The great dominions of AustraliaCanadaIndia and South Africa were formed of provinces and states, each of which issued their own stamps.




Identify your stamps

Stanley Gibbons has been producing catalogues since 1865, provide philatelists with an essential work of reference. Updated frequently, the document provides a complete and detailed list of all the postage stamps issued by every country in the world from the earliest days.

Information on dates of issue, commemorative events, face values, colours and designs, and the current prices of the stamps, unused and postally used are available.


Stamps of the world


Start Organising

As you begin to accumulate stamps, store your stamps in ‘slip-in’ collecting books or ‘stock-books’ to keep your stamps in order and in good condition. These have strips or pockets on every page and you simply slip your stamps into them, organised in any method you prefer.

Some collectors use stock-books permanently for convenience, but others invest in albums once their stock-book is reasonably full.




Use professional accessories

  • Stamp tweezers – Your first essential item of equipment should be a pair of these light plated metal with slender, flattened tips or ‘spade’ ends that enable stamps to be picked up without causing damage.
  • Magnifying glass: Stamp designs appear in detailed close-up and are seen to be miniature works of art.

For the advanced collector

Differences to the normal perforation and watermarks can enhance a stamp’s value.

  • Perforation gauge: Perforations are a stamp’s ‘teeth’ and their measurements vary according to the type of perforating machine used. Measure the perforation to determine if your stamps are rare.
  • Watermark tester: Place your stamp under the optical block in the pull out slide, tighten the slide in its recess and turn on the light. Repairs, thin areas and watermark variations will be quickly and easily identified.


tweezers davo


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