Postage stamps had been originally introduced to serve a simple and singular function. A small piece of paper would signify that you, as the sender, have paid the requisite amount to ensure, register and handle your mail to the consignee. The history of stamps has been an interesting one, especially considering how its original function has remained intact, and stamps have also become an incredibly lucrative private collector’s item.
It used to be that you would go to your local post office and sort out the postage and payment formalities with the officer on the counter, or if you were looking to add to your collection, you would go through the available designs and have a fresh crisp sheet taken out for you. Nowadays, with the advancement in technology and the level of access the internet has allowed, the process has become much easier.
If you’re looking to buy stamps online in order to post mail, the process is incredibly easy. Recognizing the ease of access that the internet allows, the US Postal Service also allows you to print postage. Although, you would be able to find discounts and deals with individual online service providers, and could find a wider range of stamp designs in the process. Websites allow you to choose the denomination of the postage and lets you print one stamp or an entire sheet. The only things you need are a printer and approved postage labels (which you can also order online). Printing postage with OnlineStamp is an absolutely easy process as you simply need to fill out the necessary information, pay the fee using your debit or credit card, and then print your postage label.
For private collectors, the internet offers more than just convenience. It’s no surprise that due to the massive demand of private stamp collectors, which range in the hundreds of thousands today, new designs tend to run out fast at local post offices. Waiting times are not always a consolation for the more meticulous stamp collector. This is where the internet comes in as the hero of the day! The USPS websites sell limited editions on its website for stamp collectors, but there’s the risk of those running out as well, and again, private websites would offer a wider range and possibly even dated stamps.
However, you need to know exactly what you’re diving into. There are more than enough people out there who will scam you if they get the slightest indication that you’re new to this. So before you do anything, decide on what kind of format you’re looking for. There are websites that will simply sell different stamps that they have in their own collection, similar to a vendor. Here’ you’re dealing directly with the website and, if it’s a decent one, there should be a proper system of payment, along with the issue of an electronic receipt. On the other hand, there are auction type websites, where private collectors put up one of their stamps and you can choose to bid on the stamp. These websites only offer a platform for private individuals to conduct exchanges.
Regardless of whatever format you may be choosing, you should consider reading the terms and conditions of the website. This lets you know what the website will take responsibility for and will tell you what remedies you have available in the event something goes wrong. It also lets you get familiar with the entire transaction process, letting you decide if it’s something you would want to opt for. If you’re spending your money, then it’s only right that you be able to make an informed decision. There are other indications which help identify if a website is legit or not. Genuine sellers will post actual pictures instead of stock images and will post additional information and the history of the stamp.
Whatever you do, choose a website that has an account registration and verification requirement. You’ll be able to track the transaction and keep a record of it in case something goes wrong. It’ll also help if you check for the reviews of the website. The website’s reviews will let you know how the customer service is and how well the website responds to its users. For reviews on the entire website experience, you can carry out a simple Google search and check the ratings.
Once you’ve decided what kind of website you’re comfortable with, your second question should be what kind of stamps you’re looking to buy. If you’re ok with buying stamps that have the cancellations mark, you’ll have an easier time finding one. If you want a date stamp that doesn’t have a mark and is sparkling clean, then be prepared to wait and pay a hefty sum. Be very careful when dealing with private sellers though as the older the stamp, the easier it is to fool someone. Make sure the pictures are genuine and talk to the seller and ask questions before you make your decision.
One benefit of the internet is that you’re not going to be limited to local stamps either. Stamp collecting is a global hobby and many other countries recognize this and issue commemorative stamps every year. The exotic and foreign designs will be an interesting addition to any collection but one should be well informed of what they are getting. You can use the Scotts Catalog, an annual index with all the information on stamps issued around the world, to help verify the information posted on the website.
There’s no doubt that the internet has offered ease, convenience, and access to people of all walks of life. The same goes for stamp collecting. Knowing there’s an entire world full of collectors and having access to them is a dream come true for those with a true passion for stamp collecting. Therefore, take advantage of this access and grow your collection with postage souvenirs from around the world, all from the convenience of a handheld device or computer.