Ok, so I have been a stamp collector since I was 10 years old and thought that this would be a better subject matter for my blog. I have one so might as well use it, right?
Anyway I just joined an online stamp club called stamporama.com and someone suggested I make youtube videos related to stamp collecting. So this post is a link in to the youtube video.
The reason I am doing this is because I want to introduce new people to the hobby, and make it fun, easy and not expensive. There is so much online about it, and yet not enough. First I want to say you don't have to spend a lot of money on this. I will separate areas by price points and what you need to get started. I will include some links to websites that have good prices, along with suggesting some stores you may have around that will have supplies for you.
You literally can start for "free" with things you have in your home. If you are going to collect anything that's not on paper, or take stamps off the paper, you really should get a pair of stamp tongs (NOT TWEEZERS) These will run you $5-10. Literally that's probably the only thing you "have to buy" Not a bad investment if you aren't sure you or your kid will stick with it. You probably have paid more for a video game they NEVER play.
Stamps - on your old letters, in your mailbox, with your bills or parents bills.
Storage - Start simple. A shoe box (CLEAN Not something your brother keeps his gym shoes in) or one of those empty sample boxes your mom gets in the mail every month. Ziplocks are great too but it's still easier to put the stamps in a ziplock in a box. These are great if you want to sort them by country or type. You can also get plastic storage containers at the Dollar Store.
This is what I started out with.
If you want a way to display your stamps, and believe me you will, want an album.
Make an album. You can take a 3 ring binder, you probably have one already from last school year in your closet. Make sure it is clean. You want to take good care of your stamps. And 3 ring binder paper. This would be more temporary solution because you need something acid free to protect the stamps and lightweight paper won't hold up long. but if starting out and probably broke till next Christmas this will work. In addition to tongs you should only need to buy stamp hinges and/or mounts. Mounts are a little more expensive, but using a hinge on a mint stamp will damage it and make it less valuable. If you are going this route, save your mint stamps in a box until you can afford some mounts. Hinges cost about $3 for 1000 of them. I will make a video showing you how to do this
You can get starter kits with stamps, hinges and albums for about $10 online. Some come with the tongs some don't. If it's $10 it probably doesn't and you need the tongs.
A stamp stock book you can find them online for about $10 (these you don't need hinges. I personally don't like hinges but this is your collection and you can do whatever works best for you!)
In Closing be sure to check out http://www.stamporama.com and The American Philatelic Society for lots of great information on stamp collecting!
Until next time, Happy Hording