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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : My response to a "New collector Mom"

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roy
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30 Nov 2020
01:11:38pm
I received the following email, and I thought I'd share my response:

Quote:

"Hi Roy,
I'd like to gift my 7yo son a stamp album for him to start collecting.
Do you sell albums for kids?"



Hello,

No, I don't. I don't sell any supplies, but there are firms in Canada that do. Just do a Google search for "stamp collecting supplies".

However, I would recommend against a commercial printed album for a youngster. The problem is that there are so many different stamps available and a printed album of a size suitable for a youngster will be an exercise in frustration. He will want to match his stamps to the pictures and since the pictures are a very small subset of what's available most stamps won't fit the available spaces, resulting in him using the blank spaces in the album anyway. A printed album also fosters the approach of collecting to "fill the spaces", which is not the best way to approach stamp collecting.

In my opinion, stamp collecting with a youngster should be approached in this way:

- Get a big batch of stamps. Allow your son to select only those that attract him in some way - possibly the picture, possibly a country he has never heard of, or something else. Put the rest of the stamps away for a future inspection -- new interests may develop. Dole out the stamps in a trickle. It is easy to inundate a beginning collector.

- Inspect, organize and mount the stamps that attracted him. Encourage him to study the stamp, the picture -- who is it, what is it? If it's a dog, what kind of dog? Exploring new-found curiosity is the greatest gift of stamp collecting. When is it from. Where is it from. Encourage the use of an atlas or Google maps to find out more about countries he has never heard of, or those whose names have changed (why?)

- Encourage him to organize his new knowledge in a way that he enjoys -- by time, by country, by topic, even by colour ... whatever he likes.

- use a 3-ring binder and good quality paper to organize and personalize the collection. A good example can be found in this thread
https://stamporama.com/discboard/disc_main.php?action=20&id=21245#155001
You may want to join this on-line club for the two of you. The girl who is the subject of this thread got tremendous support from the community.

- get some basic information on the history of stamp collecting and basic pamphlets on the technical details of stamps -- although that's not important at the beginning except for information on how to handle and mount stamps (use hinges, no tape or glue!)

- for this to work at his age, this will have to be the two of you together. There is a very low probability that the hobby will "stick" if he is left to his own devices -- there is too much information to navigate on his own.

- the real joy of stamp collecting is the curiosity for knowledge that it instigates -- encourage that.


Quote:

"If not, can you suggest where I could purchase a reasonably priced album?"



If you really must have a commercial album, I would recommend the Harris Traveller album -- only because it is the right size for a youngster to handle.

Good luck, it's a great hobby for those who enjoy knowledge of the world.

Roy

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lemaven
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30 Nov 2020
01:30:04pm
re: My response to a "New collector Mom"

Hey Roy, I still have an old Traveler album in great (albeit not perfect) condition - with about 100 stamps in it.

If you give this lady my email and ask her to contact me I'd be happy to send it to her, with a bunch of stamps, just for the shipping cost.

Cheers, Dave.

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roy
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30 Nov 2020
01:38:05pm
re: My response to a "New collector Mom"

Dave, the message has been sent, along with the link to this thread.

Roy

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StamperMA
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30 Nov 2020
01:57:52pm
re: My response to a "New collector Mom"

Your initial response as to how a youngster should proceed seems spot on Roy. However, when I introduced my grandson to stamps at age 5 I went so far as to violate one of the cardinal rules. I made up some personalized ("Dylan's Stamp Album) blank pages for him and gave him a glue stick and said place them on the page however you want.

I showed him my album and the special mounts to protect the stamps and said that someday he could do it that way but as a beginner he could collect stamps anyway he wanted to. I'm not sure if I was correct or not but felt that at age 5 the easier the better.

As an adult if he mounts his Graf Zeppelins with a glue stick then I'll know I screwed up!

Dennis

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lemaven
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01 Dec 2020
12:42:50pm
re: My response to a "New collector Mom"

Got a copy of your email Roy, thanks. I've reached out with the offer and just waiting for her response.

I used to create stamp albums for my neighbors kids and their friends. I'd show them a big box of mixed stamps and ask what they liked. Usually they wanted dogs, cats, horses and dinosaurs - although "Jaden" found a couple Romanian nude art stamps he really liked...which quickly ended "Uncle Dave" being nice to neighbourhood kids...

I'd respectfully disagree with a DIY approach for a young kid starting out. I think they need the structure of an album to start learning and exploring (and the written material included with albums is also educational) and then they can freelance (which could take a lot of work, time and research away from the joy of just putting a stamp on a page). Same reason I wouldn't tell my kids to start playing songs they like on the piano and later I can show them the notes on the keys, scales, etc.

You have given me a retirement idea though. I may start building a true beginner's album to get kids started. Maybe with sections: 1) Information on stamps and stamp collecting. 2) Countries of the world. 3) Interesting topics found on stamps: space, kittens, dinosaurs. 4) Famous people on stamps - including superheroes. 5) The history of our world...and so on.

That's it for now, Dave.

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
07 Dec 2020
06:30:55pm
re: My response to a "New collector Mom"

Back when I was a teenager and active in local stamp clubs, A teacher approached me and asked if I’d help with her school stamp club for 4th and 5th graders. Of course I was interested and came up with a plan to get them all involved in a stamp exhibit project and a show at years end.

Pretty much each kid had to pick a stamp or series of stamps and research the subject matter and produce exhibit pages. I brought in my own exhibit about the US Bicentennial and a few pages with stamps showing turtles.

There was a lot of enthusiasm as we worked on this every week! I even got permission to leave my high school to mentor this club! In the end we held our show, with everyone’s exhibits up on bulletin boards in the school library. The entire school attended. The kids were so proud!

End analysis was that this was a positive experience for the school. They noted that with motivation several of the students were doing better in school, we tricked them into reading, researching and learning!

And for years after I’d be around town and tall older people would approach me and introduce themselves as one of our club members. They remembered and were grateful!

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