Get new collectors off on the right foot

One of the questions that often comes up is: Why collect stamps?
There are lots of answers: stamps are history, stamps are fun, stamps are an investment, stamps help us expand our knowledge. I’m sure there are plenty more I have not mentioned.
For the most part, they are good reasons, with the possible exception of investment. I’ve often thought that investing in stamps is a very different process than investing.
Now, I have always believed that we shouldn’t judge what, or why, people collect, but I think there is only one really good reason to collect stamps, and that is for fun.
First and foremost, stamp collecting is a diversion. It is a way to put aside the daily grind and shuck off the stress of living in our modern world.
I sometimes think that collectors forget that.
As you get more involved in stamps, you find yourself doing research, spending money, and getting caught up in the need to build the collection. If you get into organized philately, the pressure of exhibiting alone can be intense. It is normal to sooner or later start taking your collection seriously and treat it as more than just a diversion.
However, new collectors rarely share that intensity.
That may be one reason why some clubs find it hard to build their membership. That novice collector, dropped into a room full of serious collectors, can be a bit intimidated. Beginning collections are usually little more than an accumulation, without a plan or goal; not exactly something that stands up well when compared with a mature collection.
That’s why I encourage experienced collectors to keep it light when dealing with newbies. Remember your early collecting days and try to capture that sense of fun when even a boring definitive stamp was fun and exciting.
Collectors are the foot soldiers in promoting the hobby. Bringing a sense of joy and fun to a pastime that has a reputation for being dull and boring is the single best thing any of us can do to promote the hobby.

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