Collecting United States stamps is a fun and rewarding hobby enjoyed by people of all ages and all walks of life. It is highly accessible and, for many people, is extremely affordable and rewarding. People who view stamp collecting as a hobby often derive the most enjoyment out of discovering new stamps issued in the U.S. and seeing all of the fun, beautiful, and exciting designs that come out every year. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that over 5 million people participate in the hobby of stamp collecting; these people are known as “philatelists.”
One of the best ways to start collecting stamps in the U.S. is to buy new issues of stamps as soon as they arrive at your local post office. These stamps are simply face value, so you can easily control your costs and determine how many you can afford to buy. Once a stamp is no longer being issued from the post office, you will only be able to buy them via dealers, which involves some kind of mark-up, as that is how dealers make their money. Many websites, including the website for the United States Postal Service (USPS) will provide approximate dates when new stamps will be available. This ensures you can get stamps shortly after they are issued.
Another great way to collect United States stamps is to tell your friends and family that you are starting a stamp collection. You will likely be receiving new stamps as gifts for years to come, and these individuals often do not mind setting aside their mail for you so that you can collect their stamps.
If you can get the right permission and also do not mind getting a little dirty, another way to get United States post office stamps is to ask if you can check out their trash before they take it out. While not exactly glamorous, this can be an affordable way to get stamps, and you will often be surprised at what the post office was about to throw away.
When you are a stamp collector, you often have a limited budget for buying United States stamps. There are also many historical stamps that you have already missed, even if you are keeping up with the main stamp issues moving forward. This is where dealers and other stamp collectors come in handy. You can often buy packets of stamps at a dealer for a very cheap price in order to augment your stamp collection or even to get it started. This ensures you get some of the stamps that you missed prior to becoming a collector.
There is also a vast market for trading in United States stamps through the Internet, and through hobby shops. Meeting with other collectors is often fun, as you can connect over a hobby for which you both share a passion. Collectors also often have many duplicates, meaning you can start trading to obtain stamps that you want or need for certain sets you are compiling. There are many creative ways in which you can obtain stamps issued in the United States.