What is the difference between topical stamps and other stamps?


The difference lies in the themed nature of topical stamp collections. Various countries around the world issue more than 10,000 stamps every year to appeal to the preferences of collectors, and those collectors often focus on certain themes when collecting. Animals, historical figures, major events, sports, and space travel are a few of the most popular topical stamp series and collections.



What are some handy tools to use with a stamp collection?


Stamp collectors use tools for handling stamps as well as for inspecting them and verifying their authenticity and characteristics. Stamp tongs allow collectors to handle stamps without direct skin contact so that oils and dirt on the hands do not damage delicate stamps. Stock books and albums are essential for safe stamp storage. Magnifying glasses help collectors detect small details and differences, and specialized tools such as perforation gauges and watermark detectors focus on very specific details on the stamps.



Are used or unused stamps worth more?


Many unused stamps qualify as mint condition. In unhinged condition with the original adhesive intact on the back, these stamps have the highest catalog values. Collectors refer to used stamps as "cancels." They are worth less, but collectors still seek them out for their history and character. Some collectors prefer cancels because of the interesting postmarks they bear.