Philatelic and Postal History Primer
Introduction//Stamp Types//Collection Types//Getting Started//Associations

Portsmouth Grove, Rhode Island
Dead Post Office - Scarce Cancellation


I think we are all born with a little bit the the collecting bug in us. Some of us collect coins, some collect old bottles, and some collect insects.  We collect rocks, newspapers, salt & pepper shakers, spoons, art, autographs, sports cards, antiques, and of course stamps. We have been collecting one thing and another since the dawn of time. 

We become collectors for a variety of reasons. People may collect antiques or art for their historical and cultural significance or for pride of ownership. They may collect rocks for their aesthetic appeal. They might collect items out of plain curiosity or whimsy. Stamp collecting, by far the most popular form of collecting, combines all of these elements and more.

Stamps subjects include magnificent artwork, beautiful sculptures, folklore, dress, and traditions of people around the world, heroic figures, great events, antique autos, world-wide flora and fauna and many other topics too numerous to list here. 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, himself an ardent Stamp Collector once stated that, "Stamp collecting dispels boredom, enlarges our vision, broadens our knowledge, makes for better citizens, and in innumerable ways enriches our life."

Postage Stamps were first issued by Great Britain in 1840 and by 1860 less than a thousand different stamps had been issued world wide. Stamp Collecting was certainly a lot simpler in those days and nearly everyone was a collector of world-wide issues.

There was not a lot of thought or consideration given as to whether the stamp was used or mint, whether the glue was intact, whether it was on or off cover, the type of paper or watermark on the stamp, the type of cancellation or any other aspect of the stamp or the envelopes condition. Early collectors were simply interested in obtaining one of each stamp. As stamps became more numerous and the numbers of collectors increased; philatelic societies were formed, collectors began to interact with each other and all of these different aspects of the stamp's physical make-up became more important.

Today there literally hundreds of different ways and methods of collecting stamps and postal items. In these next few pages, we will discuss the many different types of stamp collections, how to get started, supplies that will aid you in your collecting efforts, and associations and contacts to enhance your collecting experience.

Introduction//Stamp Types//Collection Types//Getting Started//Associations

RI Historical Society
The Post Offices
Home Page
RI Tercentenary Issue History
RI Philatelic Society
Recently Added Pages
Philatelic Primer
Rhode Island Around the World
Rhode Island Town Postmarks
Other Websites of Interest

Philatelic Terms & Definitions