A customer wrote with some stamps heís looking for. The stamps he wants are less popular back of the book items that must be NH with a graded certificate above 80. There is one small problem though.

The supply of these stamps is very limited. Because they arenít highly popular, the prices are still reasonable. However, graded NH copies are generally three or less copies known in the population at this time. A few more may come along, but the available copies come on the market very infrequently. In this case, most of the mint copies only come in hinged condition. Never hinged copies are scarce to rare.

Obtaining these stamps in that condition will take a lifetime. This collector is older. He may never obtain some of the stamps he seeks because the one or two copies known in the condition he seeks may never make it on the market before he dies.

Iím the last one to tell someone else how to collect. This customer will have to be satisfied that it will take many years to find the copies he seeks. In some cases, copies may never come available.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when collecting.

Consider your budget. There is an old expression, ďChampagne tastes on a beer budget.Ē What can you afford? What collector doesnít want to own a VF, NH copy of Scott #245, the $5 Columbian? Thatís a lot of money for a stamp. Most people cannot afford to spend that much money on their hobby. Circumstances may dictate that all that you can afford is a well centered used copy with trivial faults at a fraction of the price of a NH copy.

What is the available supply? If youíre only willing to collect mint full panes of error stamps, youíll never fill that #C3a pane in your collection. There is only one pane. It was broken up many years ago into singles and blocks. Sorry, there are no known full panes. I encourage you to collect stamps that have an available supply. Otherwise, youíre going to have to be content waiting for the copies you want to come onto the market.

As always, have fun in what you collect. Thatís what the hobby is all about.