For Beginners: What to collect?

There are so many great choices! How much money to spend is an important question. Getting started should be about having fun, and spending lots of money usually isn't any fun when getting started. The best starter category by far is Kiloware, which is composed of stamps that have been clipped out of modern envelopes (known to collectors as covers), and sold in bags. The more desirable stamps, such as Japan and France modern commemoratives (stamps that celebrate something), are usually sold in small bags in the range of 1 ounce to 6 ounces, and the more common stamps, such as modern U.K. definitives (stamps that are issued to fulfill mail service and don't celebrate an occassion), are usually sold in larger bags, by the pound, or by the kilogram (1 Kilogram is 2.22 pounds).
Fun with Kiloware: I built most of my Germany Women and Sites collection from Kiloware. The yield for this country is high from the number of stamps in a pound to how many have recognizable postmarks. I have had a lot of fun with these.
Postcards: I haven't collected these. The few that I have are related to one of the issues that I collect. I have seen many beautiful postcards, and this aspect of collecting can be a lot of fun.
Topicals: This is one of the most fun areas of stamp collecting. Most of the stamps that are usually collected for topicals are issued by countries that tend to flood the market. Still, a beautiful butterfly 3-dimensional stamp from Bhutan looks really great!
Commemoratives: These stamps tend to be of higher quality than definitives, and are the backbone of country collecting. A want list for any country that is still issuing stamps would be composed mostly of commemoratives.
Definitives: These stamps tend to be of lower quality than commemoratives, and are the backbone of specialized collecting. Definitives are printed sometimes over the course of twenty years, where commemoratives are mostly printed in a single printing. An example of how much study depth is involved in specialized stamp collecting is the work involved in telling apart the five distinct printings of the Argentina 1935-51 20 pesos value. The Scott catalogue lists only two, but there are at least five distinct issues.
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