A worldwide collection would be enormous, running to thousands of volumes, and would be incredibly expensive to acquire. Many consider that Count Philipp von Ferrary's collection at the beginning of the 20th century was the most complete ever formed. Many collectors limit their collecting to particular countries, certain time periods or particular subjects (called "topicals") like birds or aircraft on stamps.
Some of the more popular collecting areas include:
- Postage stamps – particular countries and/or time periods
- Airmail stamps – stamps may be required for airmail, which is typically more expensive and has special postage rates.
- Commemorative stamps – stamps to commemorate events, anniversaries, etc., on sale for a limited time.
- Definitive stamps – the most common type of stamps
- Postage due stamps are special stamps applied by a post office to mail bearing insufficient postage. The stamps were issued in several denominations to make up different amounts due.
- Revenue stamps – stamps issued to pay taxes.
- Topical stamp collecting – many collectors choose to organize their philatelic collection on the theme of the stamps, covers, or postmarks. Popular topical themes are animals, dogs, cats, butterflies, birds, flowers, art, sports, Olympics, maps, Disney, scouting, space, ships, Americana (topics relating to the US), stamps on stamps, famous people, chess, Chinese new year, and many others.
- Birds on stamps
- Ships on stamps
- Insects on stamps
- People on stamps
- Stamps on stamps
- Postal stationery – includes government-issued postal cards, aerograms, letter card, wrappers, envelopes, etc., that have an imprinted stamp.
- Sheetlets – this is a format that is now issued regularly by postal administrations. Instead of issuing stamps in large sheets of 40, 100 or even 200 stamps, smaller sheetlets with 20 to 24 stamps are issued with a large selvedge area which may incorporate part of the stamp design or theme.
- Souvenir sheets – many postal services sometimes release stamps in a format that look like a sheet with a big picture. Various parts of the picture can be torn out and used as postage stamps. See example with 10 stamps in one picture. (Souvenir sheets should be distinguished from souvenir cards, which are souvenirs of a philatelic meeting or exhibition but are not valid for postage.)
- Miniature sheet – is very similar to a souvenir sheet, being in a sheetlet with a single or a number of stamps embedded in it.
- Corner blocks or plate blocks – compose a block of stamps from one of the four corners of the stamp sheet. Collectors usually opt for a block of four stamps, complete with the selvage area which will sometimes have the printing details on it.
- Federal Duck Stamps (stamps for duck hunting licenses, mainly U.S. with some other countries such as Canada and New Zealand)
- First day covers – (FDCs) – envelopes with stamps attached and canceled on the first day that the stamp was issued. Most modern FDCs bear designs, called "cachets", related to the theme of the stamp issued.
- Maximum cards – these are postcards where the stamp is on the same side as the picture and they have a close connection.
- Souvenir pages – with first day canceled stamps on a page describing all design, printing and issuing details. These are similar to first day covers except that they are issued as printed sheets of paper instead of envelopes, and the specification of the stamp is printed by the official source. See picture of first souvenir page in the US.
- Cinderella stamps – stamp-like labels that are not valid for postage.
- Postmarks or postal markings in general.
Read more about this topic: Stamp Collecting
Famous quotes containing the word collecting:
“While I am in favor of the Government promptly enforcing the laws for the present, defending the forts and collecting the revenue, I am not in favor of a war policy with a view to the conquest of any of the slave States; except such as are needed to give us a good boundary. If Maryland attempts to go off, suppress her in order to save the Potomac and the District of Columbia. Cut a piece off of western Virginia and keep Missouri and all the Territories.”
—Rutherford Birchard Hayes (18221893)