I am always forming small collections which I then show at Club meetings (normally the annual meeting of the British Society of Russian Philately). Sometimes these collections are put together from my dealer stock, sometimes they are quite separate. After a few years, or less, I normally break them up.
The kind of collection you are making determines where you should best look for material - on ebay, in auctions, by post from dealers, at stamp fairs and exhibitions. Some collectors are always looking in the wrong place. If your wants are very limited or very highly specialised, a general stamp fair is unlikely to yield very much. So my first Collecting Tip is this: Look in the Right Places.
Since I spend a lot of time in stamp fairs, I try to form collections from material which can be found in general dealer boxes - which is to say, anything involving modestly priced postal history. Choose the topic right, and the collection builds up quite quickly.
My second Tip is this: Always work on (at least) two collections at once. Maybe one more specialised and expensive, and one less so and maybe just for fun. This way, if going to a Fair or studying an Auction catalogue or a trawl through ebay yields nothing for one collection, it may at least yield something for the other. So your time is not wasted.
I have two collections - projects, really - in hand at present. I am collecting examples of the lowest tariffs in Imperial Russia - 1 , 2, 3, 4 and 5 kopeck frankings. You will rarely see these in auction catalogues, which concentrate on high value frankings (some of which are over valued in my opinion), but you will find them in dealer boxes.
And while I am going through the boxes looking for these, I also look out for anything with a 1917 cancellation - very easy to find and usually very cheap since they rarely look pretty. I don't know yet what I will do with these, but eventually an idea or two will emerge and I will then mount the material
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