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How do I start collecting stamps?
Will it cost me a lot to start a collection?
What kinds of stamps are there?
How do I remove stamps from envelopes?
How should I organize my stamps?
What kind of stamp albums can I buy?
How do I put a stamp in the album?
Is there anything else I need?
How can I tell what a stamp is worth?
How should I judge the condition of a stamp?
Where else can I find stamps?
What other stamp materials can I collect?
Other philatelic collectibles
Are there any stamp groups I can join?
About Stamp Collecting
How should I judge the condition of a stamp?


Stamp dealers put stamps into categories according to their condition. Look at the pictured examples to see the differences among categories. A stamp in mint condition is the same as when purchased from the post office. An unused stamp has no cancel but may not have any gum on the back. Mint stamps are usually worth more than unused stamps. You can begin to judge the condition of a stamp by examining the front of it. Are the colors bright or faded? Is the stamp clean, dirty or stained? Is the stamp torn? Torn stamps are not considered "collectible." Is the stamp design centered on the paper, crooked or off to one side? Are all the perforations intact? Has the stamp been canceled? A stamp with a light cancellation is in better condition than one with heavy marks across it. Now look at the back of the stamp. Is there a thin spot in the paper? If so, it may have been caused by careless removal from an envelope or hinge.