Few hobbies match the flexibility of stamp collecting. It is suitable for nearly all ages. You can collect stamps all 12 months of the year regardless of the climate where you are located and it does not require any special skills or great wealth. Stamp collecting has provided us with a wealth of educational opportunities, integrating all subject areas.
Philately is the study of stamps and postal history and other related items. Philately involves more than just stamp collecting. Stamp collecting is the accumulation of material related to the payment of postage and the carriage of the mails. In addition to traditional postage stamps, many philatelists — the fancy word for stamp collectors — also collect covers, envelopes that carried mail. Some individuals also collect markings or labels applied to mail including postage meters.
Stamp collecting provides hours of educational opportunities as collectors research the images depicted on the stamps. My daughter has learned how to identify birds by scientific order. My son has learned how the engine has changed transportation and he is now learning about bridge construction and engineering.
If one chooses to exhibit, additional learning opportunities abound. In the months we have been exhibiting, the kids have learned word processing, aesthetics of display, how to care for mint stamps, and oral & written communication skills. Stamp collecting has become so important to them that they each do extra chores to earn money to buy mint stamps themselves and make lists of stamps they hope Santa will leave in their stockings.
Collecting and exhibiting has also enabled us to travel; we attended the APS Stamp Show last year when it was in Sacramento where my daughter’s Birds of the World exhibit placed high enough to earn an invitation to the Youth Champion of Champions at the annual NAPEX show. While we couldn’t attend that show (it was in Virginia), we were able to submit her exhibit by mail and her entry was selected for the WESTPEX Flora and Fauna Award.
A couple of great links to help you get started:
- American Philatelic Society – the largest, non-profit organization for stamp collectors in the world. Founded in 1886, the APS serves collectors, educators, postal historians, and the general public by providing a wide variety of programs and services.
- American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors – a worldwide organization of stamp collectors who exhibit their collections competitively and work together for the betterment of philatelic exhibiting and judging standards and practices.
If you have enjoyed this post, you may be interested in my earlier posts about stamp collecting, the fascinating hobby of philately.
- NOVAPEX 2013
- APS Stamp Show 2012
- A Little Philatelic History
- Stamp Collecting Made Easy
- Stamps Stamps Stamps
Do you collect stamps or related ephemera? Tell us a little about what you collect and how you got started.