Collectors seek postage stamps for many reasons, interests

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Ron Alfin, LEFT, president of the Sun City Stamp Collecting Club, and Bob Whyte, treasurer, share a love for finding and saving postage stamps. EDWINA HOYLE

Whether a hobbyist prefers solitary pursuits or social activities, stamp collecting might be the perfect choice.

Ron Alfin, president of the Sun City Stamp Collecting Club, said that postage stamp collecting is more about the "thrill of the quest," and their club is always seeking to expand with new members.

"The strength of the club depends on getting more people with diverse interests because it offers the chance to sell or trade with each other," Alfin said.

Currently the club has about 90 members whose particular interests are varied. He explained that it's easy to get started. Many beginning collectors simply pick an area of interest and buy stamps in that category. Then, through the club, members can expand their collections by trading or selling.

No matter what interests an individual, there are stamps to collect - from baseball, birds and butterflies, to locomotives or lighthouses, flowers or flags. Alfin said that some collectors search for stamps from certain countries, while others collect stamps with themes like transportation.

He added that one club member collects stamps that were cancelled by the post office on his own birthday. Others are interested in stamp art. They use the stamps to create colorful collages to form images such as portraits or flowers.

Alfin's advice to novice collectors is to make your own rules about what you want to collect and what your budget is each month. "It's just a hobby," he said. "But it's easy to get obsessed. Make a budget and stick with it. You can use a 5- to 10-cent rule if appropriate to you. Most stamps aren't expensive - and you don't have to buy stamps that cost hundreds of dollars."

Club treasurer Bob Whyte said the club is not only a way to share a passion, it is a social organization that holds monthly meetings, wine and cheese socials, stamp auctions, a Christmas party, and they even serve ice cream.

Dues are only $1 per month. The club celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

The Sun City Stamp Collectors Club is one of the largest clubs in the Southeast and members belong to the Southeast Federation of Stamp Clubs and interested members travel to stamp shows in Atlanta, Columbia, Charlotte or Myrtle Beach.

For more information about the club, email ralfin@hargray.com.

Edwina Hoyle is a freelance writer in Bluffton.

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