How to Start a Stamp Collection

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Did you know that you can be a stamp collector by saving just the stamps that come into your house on family mail?

You don't even have to buy a stamp album to be a collector; you can make your own. A good album may be made by using a ring binder notebook, and some plain white paper to fit it.

When you have the album ready, you can start to work on the envelopes you have saved from the mail. First, cut around the stamps, but not too close to them. Then fill a shallow bowl full of clean, cold water. Soak the stamps for about half an hour; then they will slide right off the envelope paper. Place them on newspaper to dry, picture side down. When the stamps are dry, put them between two pieces of clean paper and press them in a book to make them flat.

Now you are ready to mount the stamps in your album. For this you will want some real stamp hinges, which are pieces of transparent paper that have a special kind of glue on one side. You can get a thousand of these hinges pretty cheaply at any hobby store. Never use glue or paste in your album. Real hinges, when they get dry, will peel right off if you ever want to move a stamp, without tearing the album or the stamp.

It is best to put stamps on one side of a page only. Also, the album will look prettier if you don't put too many stamps on one page.

Some of your friends will probably help you save stamps. When you acquire stamps like ones you already have, you can swap with other collectors.

After you get a lot of stamps, you can keep them in sections. You might start a section of Presidents, animals or flowers. Or it might be fun to separate your stamps just by color.

Stamp collecting is very popular among adults as well as with younger people. If you start even a small collection, you'll soon see how fascinating this hobby can be.