Tips For Stamp Collecting In The XXI Century

Unlike what many people believe, technology has come to help philately and here are our tips for stamp collecting in the XXI century.

The intention of sharing these tips for stamp collecting in the 21st century is to help make this hobby even more entertaining and at the same time take it to an even higher level of specialization.

One of the advantages – and disadvantages at the same time – that philately has as a hobby is that it has been in existence for more than 150 years and for most of the time it did not have drastic changes, until the arrival of technology (internet and email).

For a long time, mail was the most popular way of communication (long distance and business) both for having had a channel and improved processes through 2 centuries (XIX and XX).

Philately was for a long time a way of easy access to different areas of general culture such as politics, geography, history, art and sciences among others.

As expected, with internet making its entrance – and access to a long distance communication becoming almost immediately and free – the use of mail suffered a great impact and philately was not far behind.

We can quickly name other aspects that affected philately as a hobby:

• Access to long distance communication immediately.

• The low cost of electronic communication.

• The desire for immediate gratification and adoption of technology as a hobby by the new generations.

Although the entrance of technology to the field of hobbies affected philately, it was not all bad news. And we are here to see the positive side and use technology to improve and strengthen philately as much as possible.

1. More access to philatelic material. before the Internet, if we wanted to buy stamps, it could only be done in local stores and if you were lucky, you would receive auction catalogs by mail. Nowadays, curiously thanks to the same factor that affected philately – Internet -, we have access to thousands of pages where we can buy philately. Among the largest we can quote eBay, Delcampe and Amazon. And if you search in detail, you can find first-class material at a great price.

2. Buy accessories online. If it was previously difficult to find philatelic material locally, finding accessories was quite a challenge. As with the stamps, today we have access to hundreds of accessories at unbeatable prices. For example: Amazon has a wide variety of accessories. Also you can visit the Ultimate Stamp Collecting Supplies List.

3. Technological tools to study material. A few years ago, philatelic tools were quite rudimentary: magnifying glasses to see errors, manual perforation gauges and liquids to see watermarks among others. Nowadays it is quite different, thanks to technology. For example:

a. Instead of having to use magnifying glasses to see details on stamps, you can use digital microscopes or special smart phone lenses. This facilitates the observation of details without having to be holding the magnifying lens all the time. As easy as taking a picture and then observing the details on the screen.

Tips For Stamp Collecting
Smart phone lens

                    b. To measure the perforations in stamps, the giant of philatelic supplies SAFE created the Perfotronic 2. It is an electronic device that can measure the perforations of a stamp with accuracy of 1/100 mm. Practically total accuracy when measuring perforations. And best of all, the handling and possibility of material damage is reduced.

                    c. Last but not least, is the SAFE watermark detector. Best of all: it does not use liquid watermark detector. Everything done electronically. Like the Perfotronic 2, it significantly reduces material handling and in this case there is no need to treat stamps with chemicals.

SAFE Watermark Detector

4. Sell remnants to have extra money to buy more material. It is no secret that when you collect stamps, you get duplicate material or material that you simply do not need. The interesting thing about all this is that there is always going to be someone who needs it. Whether through direct contact via email, philatelic forums or electronic auctions, you can sell that material and get more funds to do what we all want: buy more philatelic material!

5. Showcase your collections before exhibitions. THIS IS THE BEST USE OF TECHNOLOGY FOR PHILATELY! Sorry to use capital letters, but I’m very excited about this point. For all those who participate in both national and international exhibitions, this tip is soon to become an almost mandatory practice for its effectiveness and ease for both, the collector and the judge. What is it about? Very easy, after completing the assembly of the collection, it is scanned (digitized) and published on a web page. The link is shared with the judges (or with the organizing committee to redirect them to the judges) so that they can study or analyze the collection before the exhibition. It is no secret to anyone that during the exhibitions the time of a judge or team of judges to assess the collections is quite reduced. By sending the collections in advance to the judges, we guarantee that during the event, when qualifying the collections, they will arrive with all the information we want them to have. And so, have a fair and supported qualification. Now, the ideal is to have a web site on web hosting provider (space on the internet) that is accessible and easy to use. That’s why I recommend A2 Hosting. This company offers packages at reasonable prices. The software to create and edit the web site is free (and the most used in the world). For more information about the plans, click here.

6. Have a blog to explain the rarity and importance of the material that is included in the collections. Linked to the previous point, having a blog (or digital diary) helps us to better explain our collections. We can go deeper into why a piece is considered rare; what are the varieties and errors of a stamp; the story behind an issue or a piece of postal history and any other features that we want to highlight from our collection. The blog can be held within the same web hosting of the previous point, so we recommend the same provider.

7. Digital collections. This is a trend that is growing rapidly in the philatelic world. It is quite simple and consists in collecting digital images instead of physical material. Although currently it does not have the general approval of the philatelic world, it is gaining more and more followers. Digital collections can be had locally on your computer or online on a web page. If so, as in points 5 and 6, we recommend the same provider.

8. Forums to request or exchange information. It has happened to all of us that at some point we have or get material that we do not know enough about. In the past it was quite complicated because if you did not know an expert on the subject, that doubt was almost impossible to solve. Thanks to the Internet, today everything is solved by going to forums such as StampCommunity, raising our question in the indicated sub-forum and in a matter of hours we will have several answers.

Clearly there can be many more tips for stamp collecting in the 21st century. The previously shared tips are those that we have used or heard before. If you have other advice, please share it in the comments section.


Download CRRPS’s Philatelic Magazine Timbre For Free

Download CRRPS’s philatelic magazine Timbre Vol. 37 for free. Edited by Alvaro Castro (most articles are in Spanish), this issue contains great articles:

  • Colecciones aceptadas para Thailandia 2018 (Accepted Collections For Thailand 2018).
  • Próximas Exposiciones (Future Expositions).
  • El Pez Vela de 1937 (1937’s Sailfish).
  • Vuelos desde Honduras y hacia ella (Flights from and to Honduras)
  • Belice: Un paraíso escondido (Belize A Hidden Paradise)
  • La Producción y las Marcas de Agua en la Prefilatelia Centroamericana – II Parte (Production And Watermars In Central American Pre-Philately II Part).
  • PANAMA: Butterfly Country And Butterfly City.
  • Butterfly – Mariposa
  • Mophila Report La Gran Flota Blanca (Mophila Report The Great White Fleet)
  • Los puentes en Angostura, Turrialba (The Angostura Bridges, Turrialba).
  • Años conflictivos en la filatelia del Centenario (Conflictive years in Centenary’s philately).
  • Actividades de la Asociación (Activities).

Download CRRPS’s philatelic magazine Timbre Vol. 37 for free!

Make sure sure to visit the ultimate stamp collecting supplies list.

Make sure to review our tips for stamp collecting in the XXI century.

To keep your stamps and postcards safe from stains and getting damaged we recommend Lighthouse stock books.

Stamp Magnifying Microscope: Celestron 5 MP Handheld Digital Microscope 

Stamp Magnifying Lamp Desk Clamp-Mount 90 SMD LED Adjustable Spring-Arm

Make sure to view these amazing full stamp pane protective storage bags.

Manual perforation measurement gauge which has a really low price.

Electronic perforation measurement gauge, that has a higher price, but is easier measure perforations.

Costa Rica Revenue & Postage Society Timbre 36

Download Costa Rica Revenue & Postage Society’s magazine number 36. Edited by Alvaro Castro, this issue is full of interesting articles waiting for you.

This issues has articles on Costa Rica stamps, Panama and Honduras Philately.

Costa Rica RevenueRemember to visit the Ultimate Stamp Collecting Supplies List.

Make sure to review our tips for stamp collecting in the XXI century.

How To Protect And Store Postal Cards And Postcards?

I’ve reached a point that I need to start protecting all the nice items I’ve bought: stamps and lately…postal cards and postcards. Protecting stamps is easy: stockbooks and albums, but how to protect and store postal cards and postcards?

How To Protect And Store Postal Cards And Postcards?

The most common damage made to postal cards and postcards is creased corners…and believe me it hurts to see a postal card or postcard with creased corners. It has happened to me and I wish it doesn’t happen to anyone.

How To Protect And Store Postal Cards And Postcards?

So, the same question again: How To Protect And Store Postal Cards And Postcards?

Lucky me, a couple months ago I was just looking for philatelic supplies and found these protective sleeves! They have fit all my postal cards and postcards and managing them is still as easy as before!

How To Protect And Store Postal Cards And Postcards?

These protective sleeves give your postcards the protection they deserve! Each rigid-edged protector is crafted of clear, “non-migrating” PVC vinyl that contains no plasticizers. This means they won’t harm your collectibles.

Help your postal cards and postcards retain their value while they’re being How To Protect And Store Postal Cards And Postcards?displayed or stored. These sleeves will protect them from everyday disasters such as dust and water. As simply as pulling your postal cards or postcards out of their envelopes or paper tubes and sliding them into one of these protective sleeves. No matter how you choose to make use of them, your important items will be safe and sound.

Here are some Specs:

  • Made of clear, high-impact 16 mil PVC vinyl with a 40 mil opening.
  • Overall size: 4″ x 6 1/8″ Inside capacity: 3 3/4″ x 5 7/8″. Open on the long side.
  • Pack of 25 protective sleeves.
  • Reusable.

How To Protect And Store Postal Cards And Postcards?

Make sure to view these amazing full stamp pane protective storage bags.

Also, do you want to protect all the items in your collection? Check the ultimate stamp collecting supplies list. We’re sure you’ll find something useful!

Make sure to review our tips for stamp collecting in the XXI century.

Costa Rica Stamps – Postcard With Mixed Franking From The 1901-1907 Issues

Finding a postcard with mixed franking from the 1901-1907 issues is not that easy.

A common practice for Costa Rica stamps during the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s was to demonetize issues as soon as the following was allowed to circulate.

In October 15th, 1907 the 1901 issue was demonetized to give its place to the 1907 issue. Everything seemed normal…until there was a shortage of the  1 céntimo stamp from the 1907 issue. As a temporary solution the government decided to make the 1 céntimo from the 1901 issue valid again.

According to my good friend Alvaro Castro Harrigan: there were two values from the 1901 issue that were valid to circulate along the 1907 issue, the 1 and 5 céntimos. The 5 céntimos was allowed to circulate only during a short time in 1908. Meanwhile, the 1 céntimo was allowed to circulate indefinitely until 1910.

The latest postcard with mixed franking from the 1901-1907 issues that I had seen was from February 1909…until now. I was able to find a beautiful postcard sent from Puntarenas to the United States during January 1910. The postcard has one 1 céntimo from the 1901 issue and two 2 céntimos stamps from the 1907 issue. Before parting to the United States, the postcard went to San Jose as usual.

postcard with mixed franking from the 1901-1907 issues

postcard with mixed franking from the 1901-1907 issues

To keep your stamps and postcards safe from stains and getting damaged we recommend Lighthouse stock books.

For this kind of studies, we recommend the following tools:

Make sure sure to visit the ultimate stamp collecting supplies list.

Make sure to review our tips for stamp collecting in the XXI century.