Philately, or the study of stamps, is a huge field of study that has captured the attention of many Americans over the years. This fascination with stamps and the history that surrounds them has led to a hobby related to philately, which is collecting stamps.
Usually, stamp collection begins with the acquisition of a first couple of stamps and the choice of a particular classification of stamps where the collector will concentrate his or her efforts on. The continued acquisition of the stamps for the collection is done either through personal letters, the postal office, trading with fellow collectors, or collectible stamp dealers, rare and high quality stamps under the chosen classification.
However, while it may seem that a philatelic hobby is far too difficult or obscure, it actually is not. The collection and study of stamps is not a completely novel idea; over 110 countries worldwide have a sort of society for philatelists (or stamp collectors and enthusiasts).
In the United States of America, philatelists banded together in the year 1886 under the umbrella of the American Philatelic Society (APS). For more than a century now, the APS provides its members not only an avenue to meet fellow enthusiasts, but also various services and informational programs to assist in the pursuit and enhancement of the collecting experience. Over this huge span of time, the APS has been kept alive by donations, sale of its various publications, receipt of payment for its services, and receipt of its members’ dues. The community of APS is not a small one that may be overlooked. In the country, there are more than 44, 000 philatelists formally part of the APS. There are many others who are new to the trade, or are yet to find their way to APS. This huge number is proven by the fact that various states hold annual philatelic conventions for enthusiasts in the area to meet and convene. Another philatelic association in the United States known equally for its expertise is the Philatelic Foundation.
Various classifications and concentrations of collection are available. Some of them include postage stamps from other countries (particularly those of age), postage stationery (including air letter sheets, government-issued post cards) that preceded the printing of the first stamp in the form we know today, revenue stamps, or first day cover stamps.
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