Collecting stamps is a popular hobby worldwide that provides many different opportunities to get involved, depending on what interests you. You can find people who collect all kind of stamps, people that focus on a certain niche, or even stamp dealers that handle them professionally. These small artifacts provide a glimpse into exotic places or historic events, and serve as a fun catalyst to learn more about history. However, collectors might have trouble recognizing some of the stamps they come across. These tips will help you identify stamps you are thinking about buying.
Identifying the Country
Great Britain was the first country to release postage stamps, and they are the only country that is not required to print its name on the actual stamp. However, that does not mean a collector will be able to identify the name of the country on the stamp, since it may not be written in English. Stamp identifiers are used to distinguish the country of origin. You could buy one from the American Philatelic Society, or find other ones online.
Identifying More Specific Information
Sometimes, serious stamp collectors will want to dive deeper into the origin of their stamps than just the country it was issued in. In this case, a catalog is the best bet. Collectors use catalogs to decipher more detailed information, such as date of issue, a description of the stamp, the value of it in mint condition, and more. If you are a serious stamp collector or thinking about getting into the hobby full-time, you can purchase all six volumes of The Scott Postage Stamp Catalogue, which is considered the standard among US stamp collectors.
If you are interested in seeing how much your stamp collection is worth, come visit Coins of the Realm. We have been accurately grading stamps, coins, gold, and more in Gaithersburg, MD for over 40 years. Call us at (301) 340-1640, or visit our website for more information.