The Fun of Trading Stamps!!

Let's face it, like any other hobby collecting stamps can start to cost you money. It really doesn't have to, it depends on how serious you get, and the kinds of stamps or covers you collect.

One way to keep costs down and increase your fun is to find other collectors to trade stamps with. What you do is decide which copy of a particular stamp you want to keep in your collection, then use others as 'traders'. Just so we know what we are talking about here, collectors often call the extra copies "duplicates".

Another word of caution here. If you are trading stamps with your best buddy, then you know you can trust each other. And if you have a local stamp shop with a good reputation, you might even be able to trade there. But, be careful about trading with people you don't know very well. Until you are experienced enough to know the real value of your stamps, you might trade with someone who would take advantage and give you a bad deal. You sure wouldn't want that to happen!

Sure, you will make mistakes, and sometimes you might even get a great deal for yourself, but remember this is a hobby and if you want to make and keep friends, be up front about your duplicates and what you want to trade for.

Suppose you collect stamps showing sports subjects and I collect stamps showing butterflies. We get together and talk trading. Turns out, I have a stamp showing a soccer player on it, which I don't want to keep; and you have 2 of the same stamp showing a Tiger Swallowtail. The butterfly stamp is pretty and you want to keep one, but you will trade the other for my soccer stamp. How do we decide if this is a fair trade?

Well, we might keep it simple and just go for it - we trade them - even. But suppose my soccer stamp was more valuable than your butterfly stamp? And we have agreed to be really fair about this. How do we tell?

The best way is to look in the catalogue. Every stamp catalogue shows an estimated value for every stamp it lists. And, since values can change, they print new ones every year. So, we look in the catalog and find that your stamp is valued at 35 cents, and mine is valued at 70 cents. We can then decide if we want to keep track of our trades, so that next time your stamp might be more valuable and we can even it out. If you decide you want to actually use money, it is recommended you get your parents' permission first. And remember, the estimated value in a catalogue might be too high for friends' trading purposes. Confused now??

Well, every hobby should have a challenge to it, and maybe one of them is the decision on how to trade for or purchase your stamps. By all means, get the advice of a knowledgeable adult you trust.

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