Found - My Old Stamp Collection!
at some of the stamps I found. I'd forgotten that Mom had casually helped me by occasionally purchasing mint stamps at the post office when she went there. I'd also forgotten that I'd purchased some older stamps myself. I decided to do some research and see their value now, and the cost and effort it would take to get started at collecting again.
Learning About Stamps
Philately (the study of stamps), as I discovered at the local stamp store, is pretty involved. Stamps can be:
- Printed on different types of paper. Did you know that some stamp paper is UV tagged and fluorescent when see under a Ultra-Violet light?
- Created with different adhesive types. Older stamps used gum (glue), most newer stamps are self-adhesive, like stickers
- Separated by:
- a manual process (like scissors) These are generally very old stamps.
- perforations (the lines of holes you rip to separate a stamp). Because there are different types of perforations, there are actually special rulers to determine which type a stamp has.
- machine cut - with self-adhesive stamps
- Mint or Used - generally mint stamps are worth more, but there are a bunch of factors that can come into play, like:
- their 'face value' (the original cost of the stamp)
- a used stamp's cancellation mark - some people actually collect these!
- was there an error in the printing? Scratched plates, missing ink, ink scum, hickies, mis-aligned or missing perforations can cause a stamp's value to skyrocket
- Older or newer, obviously. Older stamps were printed using a different type of printing process
- Given a 'Scott' number. This essentially a code that uniquely identifies the stamp in its country of origin and can also make users aware if its an anomalous stamp in some way, depending on the code any predicates it might have.
Stamps and... God?
How does God figure into stamp collecting? I got to thinking about this last night and realized there a bunch of interesting parallels. I'll just highlight a few of the main ones here:
We are all unique and precious in God's sight.
God uses our imperfections to make us better.