What to Collect ?????

Part of the fun of stamp collecting is that you are pretty much in charge of what you want to have in your collection. And the possibilities are endless !!

Remember Aunt Bertha's priceless collection of mint stamps? Well, maybe they are so special, you just want to keep them in a safe place and look at them from time to time. Maybe you want your collection to be YOURS!! You want to get down and not worry about any mistakes you might make. Good for you !!

To help you decide, here are some ideas for the kind of collection you might start. Actually, you can start several different kinds, if you want - as we said, its all up to you.


Let's say you live in Kansas and you want to collect only used stamps of the USA. Or, you live in Manitoba and want to collect only mint Canadian stamps. Or, you live on Scorpio-4 and you want to collect stamps of the Klingon Empire. Oops, maybe a bad example?

Stamps of particular countries, mint, used, or both, are the most common kinds of stamp collections. Peter meets Jessica down at the mall and says, "Like Jessica, I hear you're into stamp collecting - I collect stamps of Spain - what do you collect?" And Jessica says, "Peter, that's really cool! I collect Bechuanaland." And Peter says, "huh?"

Well, Peter soons learns about Bechuanaland, and gets an A+ next history test !!


Some people like to collect stamps of maybe any one country or lots of countries, but which are all of the same subject, or topic. Sometimes, these collections are called "topicals". These can be a lot of fun, and also an inexpensive way of getting to know about the stamps of many countries.

Take birds, for example. There are thousands of different stamps showing birds. Space craft are not so common, but there are still many stamps showing those. Sports is another topic shown on the stamps of all countries.

When you want to get fancy, maybe you would like to collect stamps of just one sport, like soccer. Or, maybe just stamps of the Olympic Games.

Sometimes you can find very exciting "extras" for your collection


Stamps often are marked, or "cancelled", by the post office to show that the stamp has been used, and to prevent people from using them again. A long time ago, the mark might have been made by running a pen over the stamp.

Most often, post offices used a kind of hammer wet with ink to hit the stamp (OUCH !!), leaving a circle that had the name of the town or city and the date on which the stamp was cancelled.

Where are we going with this? Well, some people collect stamps that have interesting cancellations on them. For example, say that you live Dandelion, Alberta; and your cousin lives in Dandelion, California. You might both collect stamps that have been cancelled with the name "Dandelion". Your goal might be to find a stamp cancelled from Dandelion for every year you can, or every month if you want.


Some collectors save the envelopes that have stamps on them, and they usually call them "covers". This can be very interesting, because the covers sometimes show information about the actual events that took place between mailing and receiving the envelope. The cover in this picture was an Air Mail letter sent to Canada from Australia. We removed the address so people wouldn't send us huge presents for being so nice!

Let's say that your grandfather mailed your grandmother a letter a long time ago, when he was on a trip to the arctic. The envelope could show markings that tell where the letter was posted, it could show the name of the boat that the letter travelled on to get out of the arctic, and it could show the date and place of the destination. If gramps messed up and didnt put enough stamps on the letter, the cover could also show "Postage Due" on it.

The cover, which was kept in the family all these years, shows the history of an interesting event, special only to you. It might even show the tears of joy from grama when she received the long-awaited letter.

Often, the Post Office will issue special envelopes on the first day of issue of a stamp, showing information about the stamp. These are called "First Day Covers", and are collected by many people. This cover was issued to celebrate a project that successfully raises Peregrine Falcons at a military base in Alberta. These birds have been threatened by chemicals that weaken their eggies. The Canadian Wildlife Service raises them in a protected area, then releases them to live natural lives. This First Day Cover was issued at the base in Wainwright, Alberta.

See another example .

There are many other kinds of things that covers show.

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