I like most on this thread collect to feed my hoarding instinct, and love to find the history behind the stamp as well as the history of the region it hails from, I collect for the joy of the learning and having something that has a story to tell, as well as the art, I do not do it for expected financial gain I'm not in that league anyway, I own one penny black that is my pride. I also collect stamps with the subjects of my other hobbies, photography, astronomy and computers, so it ties them all together.
Looking at the posts it seems if there is a general philosophy of stampcollecting it is: The love of history and its study, and to satisfy our collecting (Hoarding) instinct
For those who are postal history/covers/cancels kind of people, I think some of them would be just as happy if there were no stamps actually involved in the process. For example, I know a guy who complains that the underlying stamp makes the cancel harder to read. If you're like that, I get it. I understand and still love you.
But I don't care much about any of that stuff. I look at cancelled stamps and see them as being defaced, and most covers, to me, are hideous. And I don't particularly care where the stamp has been.
With all that said, my philosophy is that one should collect however and whatever they want. I collect stamps for the ideas presented on them. I'm hesitant to call this "topical" collecting because it's more nuanced than just having hundreds or thousands of stamps with Elvis, trains, works by Michelangelo, or pigs. For example, I bought a few stamps with aqueducts, and I used them as motivation to learn all I could about the history and geography of water storage and delivery. Then I sought out and got more stamps that had related ideas, such as pipelines and canals. This was the start of my little duct stamp collection, which I hear is a popular collecting area.
rmatossian. I didn't think of the way you collect your "Topics" I really lijke your Idea, I think I'll make a side collection/project with that in mind, as a break from my normal subjects. Then go back to them maybe with a fresh eye and approach.
for me in the beginning was all about history. I like to read/research about WWII and at certain point I would like to have something from that period, searching in the internet I found stamps and that was the beginning of everything.
Having a piece of paper of that difficult period is priceless for me. This makes me thing what that single stamp pass through until get in to my collection.
A few years later, during a PhD-sandwich in Italy, I start to collect stamps from Italy and Vatican City. That collection for me is all about history and art. Those stamps have so many beautiful images of paintings and places that makes me very happy by having and see every once and while...
My Philosophy about stamps is simple "To have a decent WORLDWIDE COLLECTION " .I want to see how extensive of a collection I could make ,taking it past anything anyone else has done in the past and have fun doing it .
I collect to connect with history and to my grandfather who was a stamp collector and small-time dealer. I also like the beauty in engraved stamps, in clean cancellations, and even in handwriting on covers. I prefer to collect "quality" stamps, usually one-at-a-time, and do not want boxes and boxes of duplicates and clutter, though, I do sometimes assemble a hoard of certain issues to study. I enjoy the challenge of avoiding frauds and fakes, identifying difficult stamps, including shades, and finding difficult-to-find stamps. I like dabbling in plating and "flyspecking," but I don't think I'll ever be proficient at it. I like creating my own albums that allow me to break out of the tyranny of the catalog to show off all the interesting "varieties" whether listed in the catalog or not. I am to have all well-centered stamps with no post-production flaws (though I make exceptions all the time). And my goal for now is a "complete" collection of US stamps, including fairly deep BOB plus possessions. "Complete," to me, means a good representation of each issue and its varieties, but not every ridiculous major catalog number (though I admit I would love to own a couple of the ridiculous ones like #5 or 64a)
My grandfather died when I was 3 and I never knew him (at least I don't remember him at all), but we had the same name (son named after father, who was named after his father, etc, etc). Right there I felt a tie to him, even though he was no longer. I grew up hearing stories about his stamp collection that was kept in his house. After his wife died, and it was time to sell the house (and split the contents) I showed an interest in the stamps, so I got them. My father (his son) guided me in the endeavor - a great bonding experience.
The fascination of owning something of the grandfather that I never knew morphed into a fascination of the history that stamps represented. I found myself 'hearing' about things that I didn't know existed, and that prompted me into learning more about them. Stamps caused me to learn more about the world than school ever did.
That soon morphed into a need to create order out of chaos. There is an immense satisfaction (for me, anyway) in taking a carton of loose stamps and 'processing' them into my collection/stockbooks/etc.
I now specialize in early US. I like the fly-specking that the earliest stamps 'require'. I like the colored cancels, the various postmarks, the wide variety of shades, etc. It requires an eye for detail.
Even though my philosophy has morphed from one reason to another over the years, I still get a real kick out of an unknown (before now) stamp that has an unknown subject that calls out to me to get on the internet and learn more about the subject.
My philosophy about philately has evolved over time.
As most of us did, I began as a kid with no concept of what I was doing other than filling in holes in a Harris U.S. album.
As I grew older, I started working more toward a quality collection, paying more attention to what I was doing.
By my thirties, I had been exposed to other areas of philately, not just the mundane filling in of "holes" in my U.S. National Albums. I had been exposed to FDC and postal history, although these didn't take right away.
By my fifties, I had embarked on a concept of collecting "in-depth", meaning that I was interested in collecting items relating to each stamp from conception through use and included all aspects of the stamps, including essays, proofs, errors, freaks, mint, used, cancellations, postal uses, FDC's, solo uses in period, fancy cancels, unusual destinations, etc.
Somewhere in my fifties, I picked up on the ultimate "crack" of philately, precancel collecting. Did you know there may be upward of 2,000,000 stamps necessary to complete a U.S. precancel collection? Eureka! I had something I could pursue for several lifetimes and never go broke!
Today, I enjoy collecting stamps as much as I ever have and look forward to whatever new "treasures" I can add to my collection, whether they be monetarily valuable or not. Each stamp added helps tell the story of that issue, regardless of value.
My children worry about what they are going to do about their dad's "obsession" with stamps. I've told them I intend to collect until they finally send me out for burial at sea (retired Navy Chief) and I don't intend to take the collection with me. If they can make a few ducats selling it, great. I've enjoyed it thoroughly my entire life.
I completely agree with Stampman2002, my collecting philosophy has also evolved over time.
I collected as a kid, haphazardly filling a paper Harris Worldwide album with whatever I could find or afford. My paternal grandmother was responsible for getting me started and it gave us much to talk about through her lifetime. For many years as a teenager and adult, I collected off and on but never really gave much thought to what or how I was going about it.
When I became serious about collecting again after retiring from the military, I set some specific criteria for what I wanted - to build an amazing mint U.S. collection for my own personal enjoyment. The fact that some stamps are valuable is nice, but investment was not and is not a primary consideration.
I was no longer focused on superior mint never-hinged stamps as I knew that I would never be able to acquire all of the U.S. stamps in that condition. As a result of that one single decision, I've actually found some amazing stamps that are nice to look at and enjoy.
I also believe that having access to a good library of philatelic books, publications, and literature is critical to the serious collector. I've acquired some great books that I was able to learn much from. I'm also fortunate to live 20 minutes from the Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library, which is an amazing place.
Plate number coils (PNCs) have been my specialty since 1988. When I first started collecting them, I only wanted strips of five (PS5s), but over the years I began to add strips of 3 (PS3s), used singles, first day covers (FDCs), USPS souvenir pages, commercial covers, EFOs (errors, freaks, and oddities), and most recently purple machine cancels (PMCs).
I'm extremely fortunate that I have a wife that supports my regular expenditures on adding to my collection and even buys select stamps for me on special occasions. Without her support, I wouldn't have a $1 Columbian or 65¢ Zeppelin air mail stamps. I know that once I'm gone, the stamps will make somebody else happy and she will enjoy whatever financial benefits come from it.
@Walkman82: ""I'm also fortunate to live 20 minutes from the Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library, which is an amazing place." Indeed, it is.
Depending on traffic, I'm about an average of 30 minutes from it (no need to go to a casino to gamble when one can drive on I-25!). While I'm a "bowling alone" type of collector, I am coming to visit the Library more. And they've been the primary beneficiary of my stamps as I've downsized from a world-wide collection to some individual country, and regional type, collections that I find more enjoyable.
Gain knowledge of the world and history, because otherwise world history is not really an interest of mine
Compare/contrast design and content from one point in history to another
Something to do that isn't electronic based!
As a network engineer by trade (and computer gamer by ...evolution?) I spend far too much time on the computer; thus, being able to have a hobby that doesn't rely on me being on my computer very much is important for me.
In terms of what I do, and why I do what I do:
I don't worry, for the most part (some Canada an exception), about MNH/MH/Used/CTO; if I like the stamp, I like the stamp.
I have a large WW album that I found at a vintage store, in excellent condition that houses my general worldwide collection. My plan is to build out additional albums (using Steiner pages in most cases) for countries I have specific interests in - at this point looking to DDR, USSR, Italy...
I'm well aware that there aren't many people who will be interested in looking at my stamps so I have decided that I will store, organize, and collect my stamps in the way that makes the most logical sense and generates the most enthusiasm for me to continue.
Mootermutt: sorry you don't accept emails. Your story aligns somewhat with my own and I was hoping we could compare notes. Walkman: agree completely with your sentiments. Having a parent, sib or grandparent to share a hobby or passion with is a true blessing. Having a wife who indulges our interests is also a blessing. Gleiska: there is something reassuring and comforting that I find dealing with old methods as opposed to the new. I would much rather read a handwritten letter than a text or email, read a book or newspaper with the product in hand and not on line. Of course, letter writing is a lost art, I believe to humanity's detriment.
I've been collecting stamps since 1963. I started collecting because of my interest in history and geography. It was really exciting as a 9 year-old to get stamps older than I was and from faraway places on the globe. I still appreciate history and geography but now I also appreciate the philatelic intricacies of the stamp itself.
I have collected in many different ways: the traditional albums (Scott, Harris and Minkus); self-made pages and Steiner pages. I've settled on Mystic pages for US and Steiner pages for everything else. I can modify Steiner pages to my liking so it's almost like a self-designed page with much less hassle.
I think I've tried at one time or another to collect most everything that moved through a mail stream. I have a collection/accumulation of just about every area of philately. Heck, in the 70's I got this bright idea to try to collect Pitney Bowes meters …. By meter number! How's that for a fool's errand!
I have collected worldwide and also gone deep into the weeds with specialization (Soviet Occupied Germany by gum and paper type?). Neither approach was satisfying for me. I still have a worldwide collection but I no longer collect worldwide. I've settled on concentrating on a few countries at a time. Currently they are: US, Canada, Brazil, Germany and Ireland to 1990. I'll add more countries as these country collections approach saturation. That is, when I've reached a point where the remaining stamps are beyond my budget and/or interest. I collect primarily by design type. I don't necessarily follow a catalog. One and done is fine for me unless I am interested in the variations.
I also collect postmarks (Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan) and postal meters, especially meter slogan cancels.
I generally collect used pre-1940 stamps and MNH afterward. I do make exceptions. If I have a set that is mostly mint, I don't mix in used stamps. I look for mint stamps to complete the set.
When I start a new country, I like to look for a collection from an advanced beginner/intermediate collector that appears to have had some TLC. Of course the key issues are missing and it may have been picked over before it was sold. I just use it as a backbone to begin my collection. I re-catalog the stamps to get a feel for the area and then mount them (all split back) in my pages. I then try to fill in the empty spaces and upgrade some of the dogs. It is satisfying to me to try to "amp" up someone else's collection that he/she has worked on for years.
I've also mellowed in my selection criteria. I no longer get my undies in a bundle over pulled perforations, re-perforations, re-gumming, and perfect centering unless the seller tries to represent them otherwise. Every stamp has a unique history and those issues are just part of its history. If it appeals to me, I buy it. I do avoid bad thins and tears though.
No one in my family is interested in my collection. Heck, my 21 year-old grandson can barely mail a letter! Everything is on the Internet. My experience with clubs has been poor too. I've usually run into an old-boys club that views collectors and collections like a dog with a tree. Unless you can mark it high enough, you don't count.
Experienced stamps need a home too. I'd rather have an example that is imperfect than no example. I collect for enjoyment, not investment. APS Member #223433 Postmark Collectors Club Member #6333 Meter Stamp Society Member #1409