AJ's Encyclopedia Of Stamps & Philatelic Links


Basic Stamp Collecting
Tips and Links

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This is a stamp....just a stamp.....?
Intro...  As with antique and art collecting, k n o w l e d g e and discernment are the keys to common-sense approaches and the enjoyment of your hobby.
- from:  Linn's (links are my choice - A.J.)
Random notes...
As I see it, my job here it is NOT to redo what  o t h e r s have done so well but, rather, to add a few ideas gathered from experience and to bring together the best that I can find from the multitude of sources available on the internet or submitted by 'friends'. Please note that most embolded links - in the word 'others' above (and here)- have a seperate link in each l e t t e r: o - t - h ...  Enjoy! A.J. (and if you know this place my old page is here)

What is Philately? Well, it's more than 'stamp collecting'. The term was coined in the 19th century by M.G. Herpin, a French collector, and as E. Barrow of The Philatelic Society of Trinidad and Tobago notes, "The story of how the name Philately arose has been repeated many times.." but we find his posted version a bit clearer than most:

"Phil" is a prefix that connotes attraction or love, hence a philosopher is a "lover of truth" and an Anglophile is a "lover of all things English". Up until the introduction of postage stamps mail was sent postage free with the cost to be paid by the person to whom the mail was addressed. It was a sort of Cash On Delivery system which in today�s terms may seem unfair. In the 19th Century this was equated with being taxed for the delivery of mail, but the introduction of stamps and fixed rates allowed mail to be paid for by the sender. Thus the French coined the term Philately, i.e. "love of being tax-free", for those early stamp collectors. - E. Barrow (by permission)

Note: "Before the use of adhesive paper stamps, letters were hand stamped or postmarked with ink. Postmarks were the invention of Henry Bishop and were at first called a 'Bishop mark' after the inventor. Bishop marks were first used in 1661 at the London General Post Office. They marked the day and month the letter was mailed." - Md. Abdur Rahman

See Also: Origin of the Penny Post (via CBE Stamps, .uk-NY)

Renowned philatelist Armand Rousso talks about stamps and stamp collecting on YouTube.

Australia's Stamp Collecting Month 2009 Let's get ACTIVE!

The Basics Menu

  • Albums for stamps (see also: Caring/Storing below)

  • Caring for stamps
    Soaking stamps
    Mounting stamps safely (see also 'Hinges' below)
    Storing stamps

  • Collectors of stamps

  • Hinges - used to affix or hold stamps in place
    Identifying the past presence of
    Dealing with hinge remnants
    What kind of hinges should be used?
    To Hinge Or Not To Hinge?  - It can affect value.
  • Other Marks on stamps
    The 'right' way to leave your mark
    Pencil marks on the gum
    Dirty or stained stamps
    See Also: Expertizers (and the mark they make)

  • Watermarks  - not a bad thing but a hidden element; an advanced subject but references elsewhere demand some words.

  • Perforations - The Hole Story

  • Tools:
    Tongs - them funny tweezers.. INDISPENSABLE!
    Magnifying Glass - find one.
    Plastics in Philately
    Identifiers & Glossaries
    Glossary - Terms and sources used herein (usually supply type items)
    Philatelic Terminology
    Philatelic Markings Identifier

  • Value
    What Are Dealer Buy Prices? (i.e. what a dealer will pay)
    Is My Stamp Worth Anything? $.15 on average (retail) and $.01 (or less) in reality for most stamps.
    Appraisals, Insurance, charity and U.S. taxes
    Auctions - a good place to see what people will pay or accept and to sell or buy.
    Classifieds - caveat emptor!
    Stamp Shows
    Other - ways of acquiring stamps


    Some Suggested Books

    Angels to Zeppelins by Donald J. Lehnus
    "A detailed analysis of, accompanied by indexes to, the people and things depicted on all 1,355 postage stamps issued by the US Government from 1847 through 1980. ... Recommended for larger general reference collections in all types of libraries."

    Fundamentals of Philately - Williams & Williams
    A highly recommended starting point for your philatelic library. 1990, 862 pages; Includes bibliographical references and index.

    The Complete Guide to Stamps & Stamp Collecting: , by James Mackay
    The ultimate illustrated reference to over 3000 of the world's best stamps, and a professional guide ... and perfecting a spectacular collection - Paperback – March 16, 2012

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