Collecting Stamps & Postal History
"Stamp collecting" is the accumulation of material related to the payment of postage and the carriage of the mails. In addition to traditional postage stamps, many philatelists -- the fancy word for stamp collectors -- also collect covers, envelopes that carried mail. Some individuals also collect markings or labels applied to mail including postage meters. Others will even collect Christmas Seals, revenue stamps and other ephemera.
Most individuals collect for relaxation and enjoyment although many secretly hope that they will discover a rare and elusive stamp that will make them wealthy. Some individuals collect as an investment. While the American Philatelic Society does not promote this, stamp collecting is a better investment than many other hobbies. As stamps are miniature works of art, it's nearly impossible to collect them without gaining a large amount of knowledge. Stamps also usually provide a much greater return on your investment than other hobbies. While you might not get back more than you invest, how much return can you get on your golf scorecard?