More often people really do enjoy collecting stamps not for profit but for pleasure. Experienced stamp collectors usually advise beginners to start collecting stamps on a general or worldwide theme. This is not a bad idea; however, it will give beginners the notion that this hobby is tiresome and demands a lot of effort for the reason that, thousands of new stamps are produced. With the worldwide theme on hand, it may seem endless. So instead of enjoying the hobby it may lead to frustration.
Conversely, topical stamp collecting or thematic philately is much easier and more interesting as compared to general stamp collecting. It may be general in some ways because, topics can be chosen from wide varieties, it can range from Birds on stamps, flowers on stamps to scientist on stamps or any topic you wish to collect.
When collecting topical postage stamps or thematic stamps, there are no rules to follow, you can simply just set your own rules and change them as you wish; for instance, defining the scope of you collection or making literary pieces to describe your collection.
Thematic stamps certainly won’t bring you a fortune because topical stamps are most often referred to as stamps for fun and relaxation; not for acquiring riches.
To start topical stamp collecting, all you need is a topic, a checklist of stamps which are related to the topic and a stamp album.
Select a Topic. In forming a topical stamp collection, topic selection is a very vital aspect. Your topic must be something that interests you or things that fascinates you. Once the decision is done, you must take into consideration how limited or how broad you topic will be. The easy way is to opt for a sub-topic from a topic with larger scope. For example; if you chose flowers, a more specific topic can be orchids. Then you can focus on collecting different kinds of orchids.
Prepare a checklist. In order to prepare a checklist, you can scan through stamp catalogs from your local library, like the “Scott’s Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue” or the “Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue”.
Acquire Stamps. Study your checklist and classify the topical postage stamps into sub categories like; theme on stamps that feature your topic as the principal design; stamps which have the same borders or shading; stamps that feature your topic as a symbol or stamps that can be considered as supplementary for your collection.
Once done, you can start off buy purchasing stamps in packets from dealers, obtaining stamps from friends or relatives, or search on the internet. Sort your stamps according to the sub categories mentioned earlier, then you can search for additional stamps later on.
Procure a Stamp Album. For a well-organized collection you need a stamp album and better yet get a stamp tong too.
Arrange and Mount. Devise your stamps in an orderly manner, this way it will be easier to find any stamp in your collection. When arranging your stamps remember the keys for an attractive display; Symmetry, Balance and Clearness. It is rather difficult to arrange stamps that vary in sizes, so you can simply experiment as you intend to mount. When you find an arrangement that is pleasing to the eye, make a sketch of the outline then use it as a guide when finally mounting your stamps.
Consider spacing. It is imperative that you maintain uniform spacing between stamps as it can add beauty to the finished appearance. You can use “Quadrille sheets” to aid page arrangement.
Make write ups or descriptions. Write descriptions that will simply tell about your collection, but remember not to over do it; let the stamps tell its story.
As you continue with your topical collection, you will soon realize that the art on stamps are colorful, interesting and educational. Later on, as you scavenge for your desired stamps, you might encounter rare topical stamps; this will make you more interested in the hobby.