I've only been collecting for maybe 5 years. I collect US stamps. At first, I started with year sets on eBay
. Next was Stamps2go for filling the inexpensive gaps. I started learning more and going to shows and buying a few stamps from dealers around that time. It was then back to eBay
for single moderately-priced stamps and working with some dealers directly. Now, I mostly buy from dealers and auctions like Kelleher and Siegel as the gaps get harder and usually more expensive to fill. eBay
is tough for me now as the inexpensive stamps I'm looking for are either not there or misidentified and the expensive ones are more expensive on eBay
than direct from a trusted dealer or dedicated auction house.
One thing you could try is to find a dealer who has the material you want and buy a few hundred or a thousand dollars worth of the specific $1-$20 (or whatever) stamps you want. The dealers will discount for volume. Some can work off want-lists and do approvals for your budget, or you can see them in-person at a show and peruse their stock.