Stamps of the World !!
(see also the map of the world)
Many collectors want to save stamps from many or all countries. Now, we aren't going to tell you how educational this can be, cause this isn't school, right? This is mainly for fun!! But, if you happen to learn some things about geography and history as you go along, and your grades improve, that isn't bad either, is it !!
The thing is, countries change. They change names, or shapes. They group together, they split up. How confusing can it be? After all, every country issues postage stamps, so there are stamps out there not only for the countries that exist today, but also for the countries that used to be !!
Here's an idea. Suppose someone were to collect stamps of only countries that no longer exist? Hmmmm, its a thought!
I began with a world collection. A few stamps from many countries. It was good fun, and interesting to see the different languages used on stamps of different countries. Except Great Britain! Because they were the first to use stamps to stick on envelopes, they decided they did not need to tell anyone what country the stamps were from! So, if you find a stamp, maybe with a Queen's head showing on it, maybe saying it's face value (the price someone had to pay to buy it from the Post Office new) is 5p, or 5 pence, but with NO COUNTRY NAME on it, you can bet its from Great Britain .
After a while, I decided to just collect stamps from Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. Later, I decided to just collect stamps from Canada and the United States. Later still, I decided to concentrate on just some special aspects of Canadian stamps. Didn't we tell you that you could decide for yourself just what you want to collect? As I got older, I just began to 'specialize'.
But, guess what? I still have the original world collection and it will be given to a granddaughter or grandson, or both, when they get old enough to want to start collecting stamps.
One thing to remember. If you decide to collect from many countries, and you want to use a good catalog that describes the stamps, you might need to get more than one catalog. You can find catalogs of foreign stamps that show you estimated values of the stamps in dollars and cents, even though those countries may have money called lira, pesos, francs, etc. Check it out with your local stamp club or stamp shop.
Another reminder. If someone gave you a collection to start with, be sure to ask them, or someone else who can tell you, just how valuable the stamps are. This will help you decide how to take care of your collection, and which ones to trade, if you want to trade. My first collection was just cheap stamps that I could really mess around with, and it didn't matter if the dog snagged one and ate it. I saved them in an album that had pictures of many stamps from many countries already in it. I just had to find the stamps and hinge them into the album on top of the right picture.
The important thing is that you are enjoying the hobby. And, it would help if you had a good atlas of the world to help find the countries that issued the stamps you want to collect. Hint: try a search engine on the Internet!!
To see some examples of stamps of several countries, just click on the small pictures.
Did you think all stamps were square or rectangular? Some are not. This is an example from the country called South Africa, or Union of South Africa. When this stamp was issued it cost four pence to buy. It was also imperforate, so stamps had to be cut out of the sheet.
This pretty stamp is from Spain. And what do you think is the name that the Spanish people call their country in their language? With some hard detective work, you can likely decide what city this stamp has in its postmark.
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