Those who continue collecting beyond their school days find it an exciting and reliable escape from this hum-drum world of ours. There are few other hobbies so wide open, so full of freedom of development along the lines of your own choice. This can be done only if you have proper guidance and planning.
Listed below are some do’s and don’ts;
1. Now-a-days a worldwide collection is an impossible task. So pick one country or group of countries either political or geographically related. Or you can pick a theme that interests you like history, art, literature, birds, animals and space. Your theme can be anything that you choose.
2. When you buy an album, buy a loose leaf album. With a loose leaf album, blank pages can be inserted for mounting multiples, covers and related material.
3. When you have decided what to collect, there are two things that you should do as soon as possible. The first is to join a local stamp club that welcomes junior members and to meet others interested in the hobby. The senior members will always be ready to answer your basic questions about philately and guide you in the art and science of this hobby. The second is to acquire a catalogue. If this is beyond your means, then make use of the library of your stamp club. Here you will find vast amount of philatelic literature, which will be useful in acquiring knowledge in improving your collection.
4. Attending stamp exhibitions is also very important; because it is here that you might find one or more exhibits in your field of interest. If you are lucky, the exhibitor may be present and you will get a chance of exchanging ideas, where you will learn to know the material better. At most of the stamp exhibitions you will find dealers selling philatelic material, which can be bought at reasonable prices. If you are in doubt, always seek the guidance of a senior collector.
5. Once you start collecting, it becomes necessary to have a check-list. Do list all the material you will need that you are aware of. You will add items as you talk to collectors and visit exhibitions. As you buy, tick off the items you already have as this will save you the problem of buying unnecessary duplicates.
6. Do have a stock-book to store your stamps until you mount them on your album pages.
7. If you think that you would like to exhibit, most stamp clubs have programs on how to exhibit, or seek out a collector whose style of exhibiting you enjoyed. I am sure they will be only too happy to help you.
8. No matter weather you are an accumulator, a collector, a philatelist or an exhibitor, learn to use the tools of the trade. These include knowing how to read a catalogue, how to handle stamp tweezers, how to read a perforation gauge and how to use a watermark detector.
Having given importance to the dos, we now come to all the don’ts;
1. Don’t handle stamps with your fingers more often than you can help: Always use tweezers.
2. Don’t cut stamps from envelopes before you know the cover has no significance.
3. Don’t soak stamps cut from colored envelopes with others – the paper dye might run and ruin hundreds of stamps.
4. Don’t mount damaged or dirty stamps in your collection. They spoil the appearance of an album page and are nearly always valueless.
5. Don’t use anything but the best hinges you can afford for mounting stamps, particularly unused stamps.
6. Don’t mount a stamp until you are sure of its country of origin. Ask a more experienced collector to identify it for you if you cannot do it yourself.
7. Don’t try to peel hinges before they are dry. You may damage the stamps or the album page.
8. Don’t mount your stamps haphazardly. Arrange them neatly and according to some definite plan.
9. Don’t use a catalogue without reading carefully any introductory or explanatory notes.
10. Don’t class a stamp as a duplicate until you have checked on every detail of its design, perforation, watermark and paper.
Having read the above do’s and don’t’s you will find that your collection is a joy forever.
Source & Courtesy : South India Philatelists\’ Association