I collect postage stamps. Postage stamps are pieces of miniature art designed by top class engravers and master artists around the world. They can be collected used or in mint condition. As a student since my pocket money was limited I preferred collecting used stamps. Initially I used to cut out the stamps from the letters received in post and soak them in water. After some time when the glue became loose I used remove them from covers and dry them on a white paper with gum side facing up. When they became dry I put the in side thick book and put that under a few books. After a couple of days I used to remove them and put them in a stock book. After that I classified them. I live in India.Therefore, I got more of Indian stamps easily. I sorted them year wise and put them in a printed which I purchased from a philatelic dealer. Other stamps from foreign countries and the extra stamps of India were kept aside for exchange with other philatelists. This was my way of spending my leisure. As my collection grew I started looking for the stamps to fill in the gaps in my collection. I also subscribed to some stamps journals and magazines. I delved deeper into the nuances of collecting stamps.
I came across a book on investing in stamps. In that book story of two brothers from England was described. These two brothers had the same hobby of collecting stamps. One of them used to meticulously remove the stamps from the mail by the process described above and mount them in the albums. But the other brother used to keep them in shoe boxes. They collected throughout their life and left the collections to their heirs. Afterwards their stamp collections were offered to philatelic dealers. The dealer had no problem in valuing the estate of the first brother who had left meticulously mounted and well written up collection. However, when the philatelic estate of the other brother was examined by them they found an array post marks, cancellations, registration marks, postage and postal stationery of that period due post marks. This gave an awesome collection of the postal history of that period. This collection was valued at 4 times the valuation of the collection of the first brother. This story gave me inspiration not remove stamps from the postal covers that I acquire later on. I started reading about post marks and postal history. Now, after 35 years of my collecting I have a reasonably well documented collection of postal history of India, Indian States and Great Britain.
I have been able to exchange and sell my extra stamps and covers through philatelic auctions. I have built a reasonably good library of stamps and postal history books. Some times the stamps and covers have fetched me very handsome prices. This hobby has been a most rewarding experience. Whatever money I have spent on my hobby has come back to me in multifold. I thoroughly enjoyed this hobby. I recommend this hobby to everyone. While recommending I always advise collectors to acquire the best possible specimens for their collection even if they have to pay a higher price for them. All the stamps should not be touched y hands. One should use philatelic tweezers which are easily available from stamp dealers. The value of a collection very much depends on the condition of stamps. They should be preserved in pristine condition.