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An Educational Past Time: Stamp Collecting
Stamp collecting, also known as philately, is a popular
and educational past time. Stamp collectors save stamps from
letters, especially those from other countries. They also
search out old stamps that represent a past time. Stamp
enthusiasts can be found everywhere. Their notebooks and
glassine envelopes filled with stamps are fascinating to
look through. Many of the stamps they collect are very
valuable as well.
Materials needed for starting a stamp collection include a
stamp album and special mounting tapes called hinges. Tools
you will find useful are a pair of small tongs or tweezers
for carefully lifting delicate old stamps and a magnifying
glass for finding minute details. The beginning philatelist
can start with the stamps on the mail that arrives this very
day. To remove a stamp from an envelope, carefully tear away
the envelope from around the stamp being careful not to tear
the stamp itself. Now soak the stamp in warm water. The
remaining piece of envelope will turn loose, allowing you to
lift the stamp from the water with the tongs.
Lay the stamp on absorbent paper. When dry, place a heavy
book on top of the stamp to flatten it. As a past time,
stamp collecting requires precision and neatness. Place the
dried and flattened stamp in the album by using one of the
hinges, or store it in one of the tiny glassine envelopes
unique to stamp collecting.
Many collectors specialize in collecting currently available
commemoratives as a past time. Stamp designs are varied,
beautiful and interesting. Commemoratives are those special
stamps that are released by the post office for a limited
time. They can commemorate special people or events. Most
nations print commemorative stamps from time to time.
American stamps have featured wild life, artists, antiques,
and many other themes. In fact, there is an annual contest
in which American school children compete to draw the best
picture of a wild duck. The best duck art is featured on a
A fun way for a young person to build a collection of
foreign stamps is to find a few pen pals in foreign
countries. This activity helps people make friends as well
as broadening their outlook. There are also companies that
will send out introductory collections of foreign stamps in
order to get stamp collecting customers on their mailing
lists. These collections are usually colorful and contain a
Stamp collecting is an educational past time. Stamp
collections can sometimes become very valuable to the right
people. If you are looking for a new hobby or past time,
stamp collecting might be for you!