Stamp collectors have been around almost the same time as the first postage stamps were issued since the 1800s. The hobby of collecting postage stamps, similar to collecting coins, is more of a solitary pursuit that informs or educates stamp collectors about a particular tradition of a country, its culture, beliefs, ethnicity, values, history, art, religion, government, ecological environment, development and progress, and many more. Of course, like any other product created by humans, postage stamps can contain misprints, errors, and other oddities that surprisingly make such stamps valuable (in some cases, very valuable), not to mention very interesting at an educational point of view.
Different Types of Stamp Collectors -- which type are you?
Despite the presence of technology which is highly appealing for the interest of the youths of today, there will always be some of them who are stamp collectors at heart, ones genuinely interested in collecting stamps.
There are many stamp collectors all over the world, but which type of stamp collector are you, or (if you are new to the hobby) what type of stamp collector do you want to be? Stamp collecting is considered to be one of the most flexible hobbies in the world, where you can collect according to what your heart desires. You have the freedom to choose how to make your way in the world of philately. Below are the different types of stamp collectors. Depending on your preference, you can be one or more of the following types of stamp collectors:
The Follow-the-History Stamp Collector
Numerous times it had been mentioned that stamp collecting can educate us about many things of this world. Truth is, collecting postage stamps can serve as the momentum for following up (or updating your knowledge) on a topic/theme of interest. This type of stamp collector is usually a history buff, or someone who likes history very much.
The Specialist Stamp Collector
Before you are considered a specialist, you must have put in a great deal of your time with basic stamp collecting. Specialist stamp collectors are probably deemed as the least understood of all stamp collectors, as they do tend to spend a great deal of their time (and their money) on some tiny characteristic of a stamp or stamps. For instance, plating is one of the most common activities of specialist stamp collectors. Plating refers to the reconstruction of a sheet of stamps by means of examining variations in the printing of used stamp specimens, and then rebuilding the sheet.
The Traveler Stamp Collector
Traveler stamp collectors are those who caught two bugs -- the travel bug and the philatelic bug. Traveler collectors are those who are addicted to travel. Adventurous by nature, these people are known for living in the moment, and they possess a great love for exploring lands foreign to them. While in a foreign country, they take the time to find the post office to purchase stamps -- further proof that they have traveled to that specific area. Postage stamps, for the traveler stamp collector's point of view, are further manifestation of their love for travel.
The Just Stamps (or Any Stamps) Stamp Collector
You are one who does not collect first day issues/covers, philatelic or postal history stamps. You choose the straightforward way to collect stamps -- buy and put them in your albums.
The Everything Stamp Collector
Everything stamp collectors are those who are fascinated with stamp collecting/philately as a whole, and wants to experience every part of it. Made up of more than simple stamps or covers, the everything stamp collector will acquire anything related to stamps, including essays, covers, postal records, and many more. This type of stamp collector is also called a magpie collector.
The Fun Stamp Collector
Actually, all stamp collectors are considered to be fun stamp collectors. One of the reasons why people collect stamps and become stamp collectors, is because it is fun for them. Fun stamp collectors are those who buy whatever stamp-related items strike their fancy, whether they are simple stamps, first day covers, or postal history. Fun stamp collectors also tend to subscribe to at least one of the philatelic publications. Also, they can be those who have a thematic/topical stamp collection that portrays a subject connected to their real lives. For instance, think of a pet lover who likes to collect cats and dogs on stamps, or an entomologist (study of insects) who collects insects on stamps.
The Social Stamp Collector
A subvariety of the fun collector, but more advanced. The social stamp collector is someone who is actually not deeply involved in buying and collecting, or spending long hours over his/her collection. Instead, the social collector is active beyond what is contained in his album and is very open about all aspects of stamp collecting. Social stamp collectors are those who keep the stamp scene alive in this digital age, by creating and/or participating in online sites to create communities who share the same stamp interests.
There may be other types of stamp collectors not mentioned above, but the important thing to keep in mind here is that there is absolutely no wrong way to collect postage stamps. No matter what type of stamp collector you are, you will always have a common connection with other stamp collectors, and in case you cross paths with others who collect stamps, your differences with them will actually be a good thing, as you will share your experiences about stamp collecting, and together, there is a likely possibility that you and your fellow stamp collector's stamp collections and knowledge can grow at the same time.