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It is fair to say collecting stamps crosses all races and  all walks of life. from kings to Joe average, it is something we humans have endeavoured to do as long as stamps have been around, gawd knows how long that is. i am guessing some one out there will know when the first stamp was issued, some would say EVE was responsible when she placed her own stamp on ADAM's head.

Seriously, a new person comes to collecting for many and varied reasons, interest, curiosity, investment, by accident or just for the heck of it. Wide eyed and full of best of ideas they gaze apon the mountain of stamps issued over time and think hmmmmmmmmm lets buy that one and that one and that one..............till they have a motley collection from everywhere from Ajman to Ziarre (is that how you spell it?)

With the collection mounting they pile them into books, boxes, under the bed, in anything that looks like a safe dry place.........aghhhhhhhhhh now every time they open a container THAT DAYS  fancy sits there silently. All this will sound familiar to many while knowing wise? collectors are cringing at such thoughts but hey we all started in such a way

So here are a few ideas from my limited knowledge that may just assist newbies to the honored profession. They may take some on board, they may toss some aside yet if it assists any any one way, we have done the right thing

1. Plan your area of collection. While there are hundreds of countries, look at an area you are interested in and research it. There are many good sites and collectors that will guide you (the net is full of them). maybe you are into birds, nakid cows, paintings........just have an idea what it is you wish to build up before lashing out and spending on this that and  anything that loks nice.

2. Find a good site with current listings for your chosen countries online and look it over. I found one that covers most countries in the world that can be printed out free of charge and is updated regular. I am sure there are many more. Gone are the days of sending off to ***A stamp factory*** for their yearly or longer catalogue that was probably months in the making, thus making their prices just a guide  but not always current

3. now you know where you are looking at collecting, most auction sites can be simplified to allow you to see what is available from that country. say type in FIJI in ebay and it will quickly list all Fiji Stamps form all manner of places.

4. The most common problem new collectors face is storage, all those nice white albums at the local $2.00 shop, nice and clean, good place to store the stamps!!!!!!!!!!! STOP. If you do that you may as well be using stamps to wipe your nether regions further down the track.  many of the cheap albums are not treated / can be acidic or just not wise as the pages mix with the paper stamps are made on and one day...............UGH.....................your prized collection is brown, rust.........hence the ref to toilet paper.........worthless and a waste of time.  So how do you ensure that will not occur? There is a simple way, you get what you pay for, out lay  for proper sheets taht are treated (available from Aussie Post and good big collectors). They may retial  at about 10.00 - 11.00 per pack of ten but down the line they potentially could save you thousands of dollars and a lot of tears.

5. Albums, the same applies, check out your local major post offices and stamp dealers who will be only too happy to show you the trusted and reliable albums you need.

yes it is basic common sense I am offering yet I am saddened so many new collectors have no idea of stumble because no one pointe dthem in the right direction.

6. Now tthe next is rather silly but we human have fingers and they are moist. It is NOT good to pick up a mint stamp with bare hands, buy a pair of good quality tweezers and gently use those when handling your stamps. it is often over looked as i found out the other day when a good mate of mine came wandering to my house and saw these mint new sets I had just been sent. With grubby hands he was about to take one in his hand to have a closer look, the stamp cringed............i almost mate looked on in horror as he froze.  I just washed my hands and dried them, he exclaimed. No you would still transfer moisture and gawd knows what else onto the stamp....I handed him the tweezers!!!!!!!!

7. Now you have your albums, your treated pages, your tweezers and the collection is looking great......lots of holes but heck you have entered into the world of stamp collecting. It can be fascinating, rewarding, educational and heck even financially a bonus in time but by starting out with just a few basics like have a better chance of building a treasured and clean collection that even old ADAM would have been proud of.

i have kept this light and fun, no mention of perfs, magnifying glasses, MUH Mh FU CTO..........ekkkkkk I will leave that for another time so as not to scare you newbies off but i trust this helps a little and maybe even opens the door to even more newbies to start thinking.....what area do I wish to collect...............?

Now where did I put that stamp from UpperCumbuck west?????????



Andrew (southern cross blue)







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