Stamp collecting (known as philately by enthusiasts) is a hobby enjoyed by collectors worldwide. Most philatelists start their collections at a young age. They start by steaming stamps off envelopes and placing them in albums. Or, perhaps you got into stamp collecting by purchasing a package of stamps at a dealer or department store. As in other collecting hobbies, enjoyment is derived not only by the acquisition of new stamps, but in the search for rare and valuable stamps. The discussion in stamp clubs abounds with tales of the rare English "Penny Black" (officially recognized as the first stamp) or complete set of 1892 Columbus exhibition stamps that was had for pennies on the dollar at a garage sale. Philately has enjoyed popularity for many years because of the investment and resell value of stamps.
To the stamp collector, there is no greater thrill than scouring through old stamp albums and shoe boxes of loose stamps or getting the monthly approval package from the mail-order stamp catalog. Who knows what treasures can be found in the unlikeliest of places!

The beginner philatelist is encouraged to begin their journey by informing others of their desire to become a stamp collector. Grandparents, great-aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends are all valuable resources to the stamp collector. Most everyone knows someone who at one time collected stamps. Many of these collections are gathering dust in attics and cellars. Many people would gladly give away these collections to someone who exhibits an interest in collecting. You never know what people may be willing to part with.