Stamp collecting is a popular hobby that involves collecting postage stamps and related objects, such as covers, which are envelopes or packages with stamps on them. Stamp collecting is one of the most popular hobbies in the world, along with comic book collecting and book collecting. There are around 20 million stamp collectors in the United States alone!
Stamp collecting is such a large hobby that it is even a source of revenue for some governments. They issue rare editions especially for stamp collectors, thus ensuring that the stamp collecting values appreciate consistently. This popular hobby is a great pastime that also is likely to leave you with a collection that appreciates in value.
If you are just beginning to collect stamps, you should consider what attracts you to stamp collecting and tailor your collection to your interests. For example, if you are interested in World War II, you could collect stamps from that time period or stamps commemorating the war. If you are interested in travel, you could gear your stamp collecting to your favorite countries. Stamp collecting is many things to many people. Let your collection showcase your personality.
The most important thing about stamp collecting as a hobby is that you collect what you enjoy. Many of the oldest stamps, like the English Penny Black, are so scarce that you cannot afford them, but there are plenty of interesting commemorative sets being issued to this day, with low print runs to guarantee they will appreciate in stamp collecting values yet low purchase prices to start.
If you are going to collect stamps, you don't need a lot of stamp collecting supplies, but it is sensible to get a decent storage system. The easiest and cheapest method of storing stamps safely and maintaining their condition is to store them in glassine envelopes. Albums are better, though, if you like looking at your stamps. You will definitely want acid-free archival stamp collecting albums to protect the results of your stamp collecting. Another advantage of albums is that you can organize your stamp collection any way you want.
If your stamp collecting leads you to a large collection, you might consider stamp collecting software. Stamp collecting software is commercially available and is tailored specifically to the needs of stamp collectors (buying, selling, tracking, organizing, etc.). However, you may want to, and if you are skilled with computers, make your own stamp collecting spreadsheet and save the money you'd spend on software for stamp collecting.