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Choosing Country To Collect

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New Member

Italy
2 Posts
Posted 11/25/2020   11:02 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add ignorans to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi everyone,
I am new to this Forum and happy to be here. I am curious to know your thoughts when it comes to choose where to start a new collection. How do you decide what country to collect? What is your decision based on? Did you change your way to choose a country to collect over the years?

Happy collecting,
Gianluca
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Pillar Of The Community
United Kingdom
5264 Posts
Posted 11/25/2020   11:07 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hello, Gianluca. One method is to look at a country whose culture, history etc you're interested in. That's one reason I specialise in France. Another element is the attractiveness of the stamps issued by a particular country.
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United States
1777 Posts
Posted 11/25/2020   11:36 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add shermae to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I would look at a lot of stamps either in places like eBay or just images you find on google. See which countries appeal to you, then dive deeper.
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Learn More...
United States
957 Posts
Posted 11/25/2020   11:41 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add danstamps54 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
ignorans!

I have a worldwide collection but I don't collect worldwide. The countries I concentrate on are those that I have some connection to. I collect US, my home country; Brazil, I had a pen-pal there a long time ago; Canada, I live close to the Canadian border; and Germany and Ireland because my ancestors came from there.

Beyond those countries, I tend toward countries for which I have a good sampling of stamps or have philatelic challenges like watermark variations, perforation differences etc.

I'm sure you will find a country or countries that spark your interest.

Dan
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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
Pillar Of The Community
3226 Posts
Posted 11/25/2020   12:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It is something you have to discover for yourself, and it may not be a country, but rather a topic spanning the world.

What turns you on? A sport, an animal, a transportation mode, worldwide postage due stamps (there are only about 10,000 and most are inexpensive), certain types of cancels (like slogans, or your birthday), an engraver (hard to beat Slania), etc. The American Topical Association has countless lists to give you some ideas.

https://americantopical.org/Checklist-Topics
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Edited by John Becker - 11/25/2020 12:59 pm
New Member
Italy
2 Posts
Posted 11/25/2020   1:16 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ignorans to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you John, Dan, sherman and Geoff for your thoughts, very interesting! I hope other members of the Forum will like to share their reasoning about choosing a country to collect.

I started as a boy by randomly collecting stamps of the Italian republic (since I am from Italy). Then I stopped (studying/working/life, you know), and now after some decades I decided to start again, or maybe I should better say to really start collecting for the first time. I decided to start collecting US stamps, mainly classic ones, because I am attracted by US culture and I love how classic stamps appear (especially those dedicated to Presidents). However I must say it is not easy to find good material from the US here in Italy, and buying it directly from the States kills me in terms of shipping expenses.

I am also interested in Great Britain's stamps, but since it is another huge collection I decided to start with Scottish stamps for now (because I love Scotland since I visited it a few years ago).
I am a bit "scared" by Nordic countries and by other more exotic countries (like Asian ones) because of the language/alphabet that is often quite unintelligible (at least for me). But you never know in the future...

I am also working on two topical collections, one is about space and I would like to focus on the US vs. Russia "war" for the conquer of space; the other is about cycling (as a sport) on stamps from all over the world.

All the best,
Gianluca
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Valued Member
Ireland
247 Posts
Posted 11/25/2020   3:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add FitzjamesHorse to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I collect Ireland. I am Irish so it is fair to say that Ireland chose me.
A stamp album on one country is like a "Greatest Hits" album in a record collection.
A one country album has the best in History, Sport, Music, Art, Literature etc.
In terms of selecting a country......well its about "connexion" and "admiration" and in some cases language.
As a western European, I share the same values as Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Spain and Portugal as well as Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
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Valued Member
United States
146 Posts
Posted 11/25/2020   4:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DStamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I tend to browse dealer's stocks for whatever catches my attention.

In 2015 asked a show dealer, Ed Dimmick, whom I'd bought from for a number of years what he had that he was surprised did not sell.

He pulled out a small selection of 14 Victorian Lagos and Southern Nigeria stamps. I bought them and these two countries are now 3 stamps from "Victorian completion" and I am slowly expanding into other Victorian era issues.


In 2011 A&H Stamps (A.G. Hyman), another show dealer, mentioned that he was retiring and he had some interesting Egyptian and Epirus material he'd decided to sell. He'd noticed that I tended to by stamps from unusual areas and started me into both Egypt and Epirus.
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United States
1030 Posts
Posted 11/25/2020   9:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add erilaz to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
When I was a kid, I just collected whatever stamps I could get. A few countries eventually grew large enough to require separate albums:

United States – The stamps were the easiest to get, because I live there.
Canada - This was my uncle's specialty, so I got a lot of his duplicates.
Germany - I've been fascinated by the country and the language ever since I was a kid.

Nowadays, I'm mostly into topical collecting, and the topics range almost as widely as my interests. My main topical collection is of stamps, postal stationery, and postal history pertaining to Esperanto and other artificial International Auxiliary Languages. I've been interested in these kinds of languages since I was a teenager, but I didn't start this collection until I was 30 years old, when I found the wonderful postcard in the images below. It's German, it's Esperanto, and it has a zeppelin on it. It was just too cool to pass up.

The collection that I've begun most recently (about a year and a half ago) is "One Unused 19th-Century Postal Card from Everywhere." I really love the aesthetics of those early postal cards, and it's been an enjoyable hunt.




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Valued Member
United Kingdom
282 Posts
Posted 11/25/2020   10:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Noocassel to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
When I started collecting I went for my home country Great Britain (actually the UK). I realised I didn't know all the jargon of stamp collecting After buying the SG book "Philatelic terms illustrated" I started collecting things that illustrating terms and phrases used in philately. I really enjoy learning, and chasing appropriate stamps. there are lots of stamps can be used to illustrate phrases, and I don't have to stop at collecting just one specimen to illustrate each word or phrase. It's a great topic to collect.
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Valued Member
493 Posts
Posted 11/25/2020   11:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add stamps101 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This is merely an addition to everything that has been said and not necessarily a way to choose a country or area or topic, as others have touched on. But as a side thing to consider, it can be helpful to analyze what type of person or collector you are. If you are a completist and must work to own the entire country, you may want to look in the catalog at what that would entail budget-wise and possibility-wise. Completing the early US for most is unattainable but collecting Israel is something that can be realistically done on a modest budget. Maybe you like to collect unique items no one else has and so collecting covers would be the way to go. Maybe you like analyzing perforation combinations or watermarks and all the varieties so the Australian States or Hungary could be a good option but if this bores you and you simply want to collect the basic stamp issues, pick somewhere else or you might find yourself overwhelmed and losing interest.

I mention this because all of these factors have influenced my journey. Factors such as budget, complexity, ability to complete a reasonable portion, etc are things I take a look at. But I also have a love for my home country (Canada) and for countries with what I consider to be beautifully engraved stamps so I also seek GB, Ireland, Iceland, and Switzerland. I may start a country that I know might be outside my budget so I set a goal of what years or parts I want to acquire. If a blank page frustrates you, remove page 1 from your album lol.

Keep in mind that you also don't need to collect according to the way a catalog lays out stamps. I've seen collections where all the 1c denominations are lumped together and the 2c and so on. All the blue stamps in one area. These aren't always ideal organization methods, especially for the next collector, but it is YOUR hobby and enjoyment. Lots of folks on here organize in their own way. The catalog is a generalized system to provide one option of organization and categorization. It isn't necessarily the best or right one. (If you do chose your own <add: obscure> method of organizing, consider adding a write up about what and why you did it that way - just a consideration :)

The biggest thing is to find what you enjoy and pursue it. This is an amazing hobby with amazing people and an amazing history. It's global. It's interconnected. It's limitless. And you can learn a lot. Have fun with it!!
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Israel
575 Posts
Posted 11/26/2020   10:20 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Rob Roy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Stamps101 seems to be the closest to my thoughts.
I collect worldwide, limited by my budget.
If you want to choose one country or postal identity, I'd recommend making a list of the countries that interest you. It can be the history of the country, the design and engraving, unique features in that country like pneumatic and train mail, tabs and double tabs, whether you want revenue and other nonpostal stamps too, and so on.
Then comes the choosing. Budget is the main consideration and within that, you fine-tune your choice:
If you want as many as possible or as complete as possible - a younger country is more likely to be available.
If you want stamps to represent the country's history, then it will be a country with revolutions, occupations, unions, provinces or islands or states, and so on.
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Valued Member
United States
397 Posts
Posted 11/26/2020   10:52 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hoosierboy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Welcome ignorans

Collecting for the enjoyment of collecting, whatever that might be, is the name of the game. Don't hesitate to ask questions especially if you need basic information and especially more advanced sources of information for any possible topic. You should be able to find folks on this board a little further along on their collecting journey glad to share experiences.

Personally, my collecting journey began with a post card from my great great grandfathers post office sent to my grand mother and passed on to me when I was thirteen many many years ago. Whatever paths you follow on your collecting journey enjoy the trip and sharing it with others.

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Edited by hoosierboy - 11/26/2020 10:53 am
Valued Member
United States
52 Posts
Posted 11/26/2020   1:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add JRockne to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I've become a bit of a door collector.

Whatever walks in the door!
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Valued Member
493 Posts
Posted 11/26/2020   4:31 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add stamps101 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Whatever walks in the door,
Whatever's on the floor,
Some from a friend,
Some from a store,
Always always
MORE MORE MORE

- If Dr. Seuss collected stamps...
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Valued Member
United States
61 Posts
Posted 11/26/2020   6:27 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add dbuss to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Another approach you might take is to choose a so-called "dead country." For example, Newfoundland, Bavaria, Transvaal, Dutch East Indies, Ceylon, etc. In some cases these "countries" have continued under different names such as Indonesia and Sri Lanka. But by sticking with the original name you have a beginning and an end in terms of years under which stamps were issued for that particular entity. One of the benefits is that you can concentrate on completion and you can avoid the expense of keeping up with the huge proliferation of new issues. Of course there will be rarities that will make completion difficult but your collecting now has a clearly defined objective. Good luck with whatever approach you might choose.
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