Sometimes collectors make the mistake of collecting something because they feel it is a popular area. Or worse – they collect something because they think it will go up in value. They change collecting interests frequently as they jump on the latest hot collecting topic.

In my opinion, your best choice is to collect something you like.

Collectors generally fall into one of three groups.

First, there are collectors who stop almost as quickly as they start. They lose interest in the hobby or something else happens in their life to take them away from the hobby.

Second, there are collectors who collect for a few years before stopping. Many times these collections are put away with intentions of “I’ll get this out again someday.” Twenty years later, the collection is still hidden away in the hall closet.

Third, there are collectors who are actively collecting for many, many years.

My point is that many collections are held for years before they are disposed of. Yes, there are “investors” who aggressively collect something with the intention of getting out in, say, five years. To me, these folks aren’t really collectors. And I think folks like this represent a very tiny percentage of our hobby.

What is popular today may not be what is popular tomorrow.

Someone may choose to collect the stamps of Paraguay today because they are popular. There is a society for the stamps of Paraguay. A famous collector has an exhibit of Paraguay that wins awards at national shows. Catalog values have been on the rise. Many folks seem to be interested in the stamps of Paraguay. You decide to follow the pack and collect Paraguay too.

Forward the clock twenty years and Paraguay isn’t even a blip on the philatelic radar. The society folded five years ago due to lack of membership support. Catalog values have been stagnant. Perhaps Paraguay merged with some other country and does not exist today.

I encourage you to not follow the fads. Follow your own interests because today’s fad will be tomorrow’s dog. And then you are going to be disappointed when the society goes away and dealers stop offering material in that area. You feel like, “I put all of that time into my collection and now what?”

If you want to collect the Potato Tax stamps of Bolivia (I have no idea if these even exist), go for it! Who cares if anyone else is collecting this stuff? Sometimes there are opportunities to own rare items because no one else is competing for them. These rarities do not require a second mortgage on the house. Sometimes you can be the trail blazer in writing up articles about your collection and the material you find because no one else has ever written about the subject before.

Collecting items because of a fad or because you believe they are going to go up in value is not the way to go. Collect what you want. Collect for fun! Do not worry about what others think of your collection. If you are happy with it, that is all that matters.