Stamp collecting is definitely a fun and interesting hobby for those who get the bug. It gives you an opportunity to collect tiny pieces of history from all over the world. You might even consider them as little artifacts that open up a new world of exploration. By following a few of these suggestions, you'll be on your way to an enriching and past time.
First, you'll need to decide if you'd like to choose a theme for collecting, such as a specific group of countries or a timeline, perhaps only stamps with animals depicted or nature scenes. It's up to you, and the choices are virtually endless. Then again, having a "general" collection of everything is a great choice too!
You may want to start out by purchasing sheets of new stamps, maybe even from specific countries. You could even ask family and friends to save stamps for you from their mail. This is a good, easy way to begin your collection. It adds meaning to your stamps too if you receive some from someone who's important to you.
Once the word is out about your new hobby, you'll probably receive gifts of stamps for holidays and birthdays. This will help your collection grow, and special limited edition and commemorative stamps may be acquired too.
You can then begin to narrow down what your preferences are. Do you prefer old stamps over new? New stamps are easier to find, but if you're up for a challenge, old stamps are exciting to try to track down. Save any you don't want to keep for trading with other collectors down the road.
Gathering supplies is an important step as well. You'll want to keep your stamps in order and in good condition. A loose leaf binder with plastic removable pockets, small glassine envelopes and stamp tongs for gentle handling are all important tools you should acquire. Eventually you'll want to have a magnifying glass to inspect stamps closely, and stamp books or catalogue with information about stamps available.