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Hobbies for Kids - Stamp Collecting

 

Why Stamp Collecting?

There are stamp collectors of all types from those who collect stamps for investments to those who simply enjoy gathering them.  Stamp collecting is a great hobby for kids.  It can begin with only minimal investment and it doesn't require a lot of equipment.  In addition, it can be created based on other hobbies, or interests that your child may have. All it takes to start a collection is a few stamps and your child can then expand and develop their collection.

The possibilities for stamp collecting are endless and are limited only by the imagination of the collector.  You can collect stamps by the country or by the design on the stamps . Some people specialize and collect many copies of just one stamp issue or just one type of stamp and others collect every stamp they see (worldwide).

Collecting could have a theme based on interests or it could be an educational project.  There are countless stamps with TV shows, historical figures, historical events, entertainers, heroes, animals, flowers, music, buildings, cars and sports figures.  They can collect stamps from a particular county or every state in the USA.  You can simply collect the stamps that come in your mail each day.  Stamp collecting is all about you and what you want it to be.

Types of Stamps...

Definitive stamps are the every day stamps you see that range from 1 cent to more than 14 dollars. They can be found for every country and usually have pictures of Presidents, famous people or objects on them.
Coil Stamps are the stamps you buy in a roll.
Book of stamps are the stamps that you buy in a package and there are between 3 to 20 stamps in each.
Special stamps are the extra stamps that the post office prints each year. Examples include holiday stamps
Commemorative stamps are usually bigger and more colorful than the definitive stamps and they stamps often honor people or special events. These stamps are available for a short time and only a limited number are printed.

Where to Get Stamps?

Once your child has decided to pursue this hobby spread the word to friends, family and co-workers and ask them to save their stamps.  You will be surprised at  the interesting stamps that you will receive. Don't forget about people that you know in other states or countries.  Have your write make up a little flyer or letter and mail them out asking for assistance with their new endeavor.

A great place to visit with your child is the United States Post Office which is full of stamp displays that will surely interest your child. Since stamps are inexpensive, your child can buy some stamps in the post office.  Commemorative stamps are larger than every day stamps and often feature fun art work. The United States Postal Service website is a great resource for information about stamps and stamp collecting. You can also purchase stamps at the local hobby shop, off of the internet, at auctions, or from magazines.

Required Equipment...

You really do not need a lot of equipment for stamp collecting.  You will need something to organize and protect the collection. You can use a box, or preferably some type of an album. The album can simply be a notebook, binder or you can purchase a stamp album designed especially for collecting stamps. Stamps can be attached to the pages using simple white craft glue or, preferably by using special hinges or mounts designed to preserve the stamp.

Hinges are small folded pieces of paper with glue on one side. The reason for using a hinge is that the stamp can be removed without destroying the stamp or the album.  If you use a box be sure to place the stamps in envelope and label each to keep organized.  

In addition, some other things that you should consider purchasing to help with the collection: Stamp tongs to handle the stamps; magnifying class to examine the stamp; glassine envelopes to store stamps prior to being placed in the album; a stamp catalog to help identify stamps.

Stamp Care...

Always wash your hands before handling stamps.   It is important that you always use stamp tongs. Although they look like household tweezers, they do not have sharp edges that could harm the stamps. This will reduce damage from natural oils on your skin.  Do not put stamps directly on a table always put a piece of white paper or something similar down first.

How to Remove Stamps from Envelopes?

Cut out the stamp leaving a lot of envelope attached.  Place what you cut out into a dish of water.  Let it sit for about half an hour until the stamp is free from the paper.  Peel the lose stamp using stamp tongs.  To dry and flatten the stamp put them between two pieces of folder paper towels and stack a few heavy books on top of them. Remove when they are dry.