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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : Born Again Collector seeks advice about his proposed collections . . . .

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CeeJay
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28 May 2016
12:10:52pm
Hello All !

After a short interval of 30 years, having collected randomly for a couple of years as a child, I have been re-bitten by the stamp collecting bug.

Before embarking on collecting (more seriously this time!), I'm trying to do a bit of reading up / planning and I'm seeking some advice.

Maybe I should split my query up among several forums ? But even if I got a few pointers for each area that would be great.

As well as the education it’ll bring, I'd like to gain the sense of satisfaction from being able to actaully complete out a small worthwhile collection in each area, so that's why I'm seeking advice, to see if I have chosen realistic areas / targets:

I've been thinking of building the following collections, and want to know if I can realistically hope to complete them over the next 10-15 years or so, and any advice you can offer on any of them would be greatly appreciated:

I’m considering something along the lines of the following ?

Countries :
-----------

IRELAND
From 1922 to 1971 (until decimalisation came in)

VATICAN
1978 – 2005
(Era of Pope John Paul I and II)

USA
From 1933 to 1945
When FDR was president

GERMANY
1933 to 1945.

DDR
- No idea what years would be the most interesting to collect ?
- Any suggestions ?


ZANZIBAR
No good reason, just love the name of the country and something a bit less common Happy
- but I’m thinking it might be a bit hard to complete a collection, as it’s history of stamp issues seems to be a bit complicated ? – So no ideas of what years I should collect. – I’d like stamps with the name Zanzibar clearly shown on them, rather than just postmarked Zanzibar.
- Again no idea what years to collect, and I'm open to suggestions ?

Topics :
---------
Dictators
Cars

- I'm wondering for each collection should I collect MLH or Used, as it might be easier to complete depending on the subject ?

( I don't think I need MNH, they seem to cost a good bit more in general, and I can't see many genuine MNH early stamps surviving, and I don't want to be conned with re-gums, and anyway I won't be looking at the gum when I have them in my album ? - Does this sound reasonable ?)

For Ireland I'm thinking of a DAVO hingless album ?

The others I'll probably make my own album pages with mounts.

Thanks for any advice.


CeeJay Happy











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rrraphy
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Retired Ap. Book Mod, Pres Golden Gate Stamp Club, Hi Tech Consultant
28 May 2016
01:12:39pm

Approvals
re: Born Again Collector seeks advice about his proposed collections . . . .

Welcome back to the hobby CeeJay. Good choices when you restart a collection, it is best to limit one's self, initially.

Advice is always personal, so here is mine...to do as you please with.

Albums. I have been sold on the Steiner Album pages, which you can print as you need. Low cost (leaving more money for stamps), good simple design, and you will have a standardized library, once you expand. (www.stampalbums.com, and keyword search on the DB: Steiner pages)

I use 3 ring view binders, and Avery sheet protectors (both from Costco), and I can thus print on regular stock paper (I use a cream or neutral color).
This protects the stamps, and especially if they are not MNH, with it will remove the need for mounts to protect them further.
Over the years, I accumulated many different album, some superior to others, but all these sizes colors and shapes..well it does look messy on your bookcase. So consider standardizing early. I now use only Scott Specialty Albums for my Europe collections, and my own (Steiner pages) for the rest, in color coded binders. I usually donate the recovered album pages and the recycled albums to my stamp club fellow collectors.

Stamps. As you begin to build a collection, look at Approval Books. Nothing comes close to it for acquiring a lot of low cost stamps to populate a new area. Of course you can buy existing collections, but you most likely will end up with lots of different pages and albums without necessarily the exact focus (years) you have selected.

Collecting areas. This is personal and each person has his/her own preferences. If you go with DDR, I would suggest prior to the mid 1960s, before they started issuing lots of "ugly" stamps. There are/were many Approval Books with DDR, and I am sure there will be more in the future.
Stamps are often visual work of arts, so for just the joy of it, pick an area with gorgeous stamps. I have an album on Christmas Islands which I started just because I liked the visual look of the stamps! Often I ask myself, why/ but then I look at the pages and I still get a lot of pleasure. I have started to add FDC (bought from Roy's store) just because of their visual complement to the stamps. It just looks good! Same can be said about the engraved early stamps, which many here have been sharing pictures of.

Happy collecting, and remember, this is one's own very biased viewpoint Winking!


rrr...

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
28 May 2016
02:57:50pm
re: Born Again Collector seeks advice about his proposed collections . . . .

I think you are approaching this too rationally! Collections generally find me. I buy lots, I sort through them and things grab me. My first love is my Ben Franklin (reference my avatar). I started buying old postcards and I kept seeing that stamp! I always admired Ben Franklin and I thought the stamp design to be classic and great engraving. So when I saw something related, I picked it up. Before long I had an enormous specialty collection on this one stamp.

Completion? Why? That just spoils the fun. I'd like to think it's never over. I can always find some interesting new variety or cover. I recently decided to see how complete a USA collection I had in my 45 year old hoard so I started sorting. I found so many interesting things... stamps, blocks, first day covers, interesting usage on cover, old postcards with the same theme or national monument on them... so I thought, "Why put any limits on myself?"

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So I decided to create a free form album, kinda stock book unto itself. I bought 500 of these clear 2 pocket pages to start. I then created the pages on my printer with 110lb bond stock, sliced the page into two 5x7 cards to fit the pockets. Presto! Album page!

Here's a page in your proposed US collecting time frame. The NRA stamp of 1933. I had a mint single and a plate block. Then I found the huge plate block in a mint postage lot I bought cheap. So I thought it would be a spectacular piece to add, how many people have a block that big? So that replaced the standard plate block of 4 I had in that spot, which was added to my trading stock.

Then from my box of cool covers I've put aside over the years, I found this registered mail cover. It's not a first day cover, just interesting use.

And you can add as many pages as you want. The back side of this page has another cover using this stamp, a commercial cover from "Riley's Auto Express" that fits into my own automotive interests. And there's still a spot for a first day cover if I find one in my travels.

Have I put limitations on what I can collect? No, if it feels good, I add it. This is supposed to be fun! Hope I've given some inspiration. The rest of the folks here think I'm crazy?

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katie333
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28 May 2016
04:36:31pm
re: Born Again Collector seeks advice about his proposed collections . . . .

I say collect whatever speaks to you ... I can virtually guarantee where you decide to start and where you will end up will be two different places! Winking

With that said, you have to start somewhere and if those areas you outlined interest you then go for it. If your goal is completion then setting the limitations you've considered is probably reasonable. If you end up enjoying yourself, you will likely end up expanding your scope. Your topicals will send you on a fun chase, and I'm not sure that particular collection will be 'done' as stamps continue to be issued every day.

I use Steiner for all my albums except for my recently obtained (yes, I'm guilty of adding yet another new collection) Stamp From Every Country for which there is a nice free album online from the Smithsonian. I also have a couple of topicals for which I make my own album pages which is also a bit of fun. For any DIY albums you'll need a decent printer and some nice cardstock paper.

As to MNH, MLH or Used, again, personal preference. Sometimes the cancels can be interesting in their own right - or sometimes they just obliterate the stamp image. MNH is indeed available, but often at a premium, especially for older stamps. I saw a perfect example of the Canadian Quebec Tercentenary stamp from 1908 recently sell for $500 CAD with a catalogue value of $450. Cost will play a factor here too.

And finally, I have always found success in buying large lots from a few trusted sources. The act of sorting and searching is very enjoyable for me, so even though I could take the same money and go buy exactly what I need to fill holes, I'd end up with a lot less stuff and a lot less fun. Fair warning though, I have a whole closet and 4 cupboards full of stamps, albums and supplies ...

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Bobstamp
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28 May 2016
06:23:33pm
re: Born Again Collector seeks advice about his proposed collections . . . .

Welcome back! You are living proof that the philatelic disease can lurk in the dark recesses of your mind for decades.

Random thoughts:

• Completion — the only stamps I hardly ever look at are complete sets, or album pages, or exhibits. I am always on the lookout for varieties of stamps I already have, interesting cancellations on stamps that I already have, covers bearing stamps I especially like, as well as collateral items — postcards, poster stamps, labels, etc. — that will enhance my existing collections.

Completeness is subjective. Is a collection complete if you don't have a particular stamp that you can't possibly afford even if you could find one? Is a collection complete if it doesn't contain all of the listed varieties listed in stamp catalogues? What if a stamp isn't listed in one catalogue but is listed in another? Should a "complete" collection contain it or not? Should a complete collection include plate and inscription blocks? How about press sheets? Should a complete collection contain EFOs? They're stamps too, even if they suffered trauma in their production.

• IRELAND From 1922 to 1971 (until decimalisation came in): Good idea. Or maybe not. Lots of Irish stamps issued after decimalization are just plain dumb, but some nicely reflect older issues. Why not just collect the Irish stamps that interest you? I collect Ireland, sort o,f these days. Once I planned for completion of both mint and used Irish stamps, but couldn't afford all of the new issues and Lighthouse album pages for them, and suffered brain death trying to ID the early overprints.

• USA — From 1933 to 1945 when FDR was president: An interesting idea. Lots of inexpensive, easy-to-obtain stamps. But if you're too strict, you won't be able to include the stamps commemorating his life that were issued after he died! I would want to spread a wider net to include Teddy and Eleanor Roosevelt, social and economic programs that all of the Roosevelts pushed for, and the war itself, which Roosevelt had so much involvement in. You might even get his friends and allies involved — Churchill and Stalin. And historic meetings he was involved in, such as the Casablanca Conference.

• GERMANY 1933 to 1945: Germany proper, or the Third Reich? Occupied countries? Local, postwar overprints? German legions? POW mail? Concentration camp mail? Propaganda forgeries?

OK, now I'm feeling overwhelmed, and I bet you are, too. I got back into collecting after my own 30-year lapse when I was introduced to some classic Canadian stamps (Large Queens) which I had never been aware of. I started with a Canada album and plans to complete it with used stamps. Now my collections include a few Canadian stamps, a great many worldwide stamps issued during and representative of about six different wars. I collect astronomy- and aviation-themed stamps. I buy more covers than stamps these days. And I seem to start a new collection about every four to six months. Ours is more than anything a variable hobby. Therein lies much of its appeal.

Bob








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CeeJay
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29 May 2016
07:58:39am
re: Born Again Collector seeks advice about his proposed collections . . . .

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for all the excellent advice and tips.

That's one of the nice things about stamp collecting, the willingness of people to help and encourage others.

I totally agree that the term 'complete' is totally personal and subjective, and I agree one could argue that no collection will ever be complete. I'm happy with starting off by getting a few small sections that are 'complete' to my own satisfaction, while also embarking on the never complete aspect. A bit like life, for me the journey and what I learn along the way is as important as the destination. Happy

The Steiner pages are exactly what I'm looking for. I'll need to stock up on a good selection of mounts, probably strips I can cut to suit ? what sizes do people recommend having to hand ?

Apart from the obvious anything else that's handy to have about in general ?
also in terms of watermark / perforation equipment, any tips ?

The Smithsonian, stamp from every country is also an excellent idea, and my excuse to buy some kiloware, and who know where that will lead !

As for topics, has anyone advice on collecting them ?

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katie333
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29 May 2016
09:10:13am
re: Born Again Collector seeks advice about his proposed collections . . . .

As with many hobbies, the cost of supplies can be pricey. There are few supply stores online where you can pick up things like mounts, watermark fluid (if so inclined) to get you going. Agree with Anglophile on the size of mounts. Sometimes you can get lucky with box lots of supplies as well. Message me if you'd like some names.

I've got two topics and they are often the most fun. What I have been doing is adding new items to my collection by searching through the hordes of stamps I already have, as well as other inexpensive places like 5c books at my local club, and the Stamporama approval books. Once I have enough together on a certain theme (for example, I collect books on stamps so I've got numerous pages of stamps that feature the bible), I group them together on a page and add a commentary to it. I made a rough shell of the basic page, which is just a square outline with some light embellishment. Finding the stamps for this collection is a great source of enjoyment. Books are often small on stamps but can be somewhat common.

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bobstew617
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29 May 2016
10:02:03am
re: Born Again Collector seeks advice about his proposed collections . . . .

CeeJay, welcome back!

I do echo Anglophile's comments, since I am also a member of the EPA, but I would say don't overwhelm yourself in the beginning.

I used to be a WW collector when younger, then I pared my collections WAAAAY back, and that's when I was really able to enjoy the stamps I was working with and the hobby aa a whole.

Over time, I have added a few new countries here and there which have rejuvenated my interests.

The last thing, I know I will never complete a collection, but it's sure fun trying!!

BOB

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