Sometimes people ask me about building a stamp collection for a child or grandchild. I ask them if the child is interested in stamps or not. Most times, they are not. But the person is hoping to get them interested in stamp collecting. Forming a collection for them may be the motivation this child needs to get into stamp collecting.
I have many sellers who tell me that they collected stamps for years and enjoyed it. But no one in the family wants their stamp collection. Or sometimes itís a family member looking to sell a collection because the collector passed away and no one in the family has an interest.
Therefore, in my experience, building a collection for a child or grandchild is risky. Maybe theyíll take an interest. Maybe not.
If you are still interested in building such a collection, I have some advice for you.
Donít build a collection of, say, German stamps because that is what you collect. If a child is going to take interest in a stamp collection, they are more likely to take an interest in a collection that means something to them. Ask the child what interests them. Maybe itís butterflies. Maybe itís sports? Maybe it is the stamps of a particular country?
This is going to be a hard pill for some to swallow. Letís say a child has an interest in sports. You might think that building them a specialized collection of Germany is the way to go. Iíd argue that a topical collection of stamps about sports and athletes is a better option. Yes, this means that special German stamp with gauge 13 perforations and an inverted watermark worth $1000 isnít of as much interest as a $5 set of stamps from Greece commemorating the ancient Olympic Games. Donít cringe when you decide to buy those ďwallpaperĒ 3D stamps from Bhutan with the soccer players on there. Donít let your personal biases influence how you expose a child to stamp collecting.
Another suggestion is to limit your purchases. Why put $10,000 or more into a collection when you donít know for sure if they are going to take an interest in it? And if they donít take an interest, then what?
Put tens or hundreds of dollars into a collection and see where it goes from there. If the child has an interest, asks questions, and actively looks to expand the collection, maybe itís time to put some more effort and money into it and keep encouraging them. If they are still interested after six months of being exposed to a collection, keep it going. There is promise there.
A child may be genuinely interested at first, but I donít think thatís a good indicator that there is long term interest. Maybe encourage them and see where it leads. If they are still interested several months later, that could be a good sign that there is long term interest there.
And if there is no interest at all? Well, then you didnít take out a second mortgage on the house to finance their collection. If you put a few tens or hundreds of dollars into it, itís not the end of the world even if you have to sell the collection at a loss just to dispose of it. You tried, but not every child is going to take to stamp collecting like a moth takes to a light.
In my opinion, I would not rush into a valuable collection that costs you a lot of money. Start slow and keep building and see where it leads to. Thatís my best advice for building a stamp collection for a child or grandchild.