Once you have decided to start a stamp collection, there are a few basic tips to deciding what you would like to collect and how to properly care for your stamps.
The type of collection you would like to have is completely based on your own personal preference. Some stamp collectors like to get one particular type of stamp in a very high volume. Some like to only have one copy of a particular stamp for their collection. Some like to collect stamps from particular countries. Other focus on collecting stamps that is specific to certain holidays or special occasions. And yet, others focus on stamps that are designed with particular people or places in mind.
Whatever you decide you like to collect, stamp collecting can be a very easy and fun hobby to enjoy. Once you have started your collection, you must be careful, from the very beginning, to be sure to properly care for your stamps. Even a couple of bad handlings of a stamp can lead to damage on the stamp itself.
The two big tips for the beginning stamp collector is to make sure to purchase stamp tongs and not to spread stamps out for viewing on plain table surfaces. Stamp tongs are not to be confused with regular tweezers. Although they appear to be similar, tweezers have much sharper points at the ends than stamp tongs and may damage the stamp. Stamp tongs must be purchased specifically from a place that sells products for stamp collecting; to be sure you have purchased the right thing.
The reasoning behind not spreading out the stamps on a plain table surface is that no matter how clean the surface may appear to be, there is dust and other particulates on the table that can alter the surface of the stamp. The easiest thing to do is to place a sheet of plain, white paper down on the surface and place the stamps on top of that.
The last major part of stamp collecting is to be sure you have the proper materials to store your stamps. Envelopes can be used in the beginning, but even plain, white envelopes have been found to contain certain oils that can be damaging to stamps over time. The best type of envelope for stamp collecting is a glassine envelope, which is a semi-transparent and found to have little to no effects on the stamps stored in them.