What is Topical Stamp Collecting?


Click to view and download the ATA Guide to Topical Collecting.


Topical Adventures is an excellent resource for both beginning and experienced stamp collectors. The book is available in the online store.

Most people appreciate the beautiful, colorful images depicted on postage stamps. Many people choose a favorite topic and collect stamps that picture that topic. You may choose a topic related to your profession (nursing, education), your hobby (gardening, photography, hiking or bicycling) or an animal you find engaging (cats, penguins). If you look at the list of topical checklists on this website, you’ll see that the possibilities are almost endless.

Why is topical collecting so popular? It allows people to combine an interest in a topic and an interest in stamp collecting. It’s easy to get started in topical collecting, and yet it offers continuing challenges and enjoyment for advanced collectors.

Topical stamp collecting offers you flexibility. You may collect and display your stamps any way you wish. You may choose to collect stamps that all picture your main topic, such as bears. Or you may decide to expand your collection to make it thematic, by collecting stamps that show where bears live, what they eat, etc. You may collect used or mint stamps, or even a combination. As you progress, you may decide to collect other items, such as stamp booklets or souvenir sheets.

A good way to get started is to make a list of things you like—bicycling, roses, cooking or hedgehogs. Look at the list of checklists on this site to get ideas. When you join the American Topical Association, you have access to more than 1400 checklists of topics on stamps. Your checklist becomes for shopping list for stamps. With it in hand, you can shop at stamp shows, local bourses or online.

Another good way to get started is to read a book about topical collecting, such as Topical Adventures – A Guide to Topical and Thematic Stamp Collecting. It is available in our online store. It will serve you well in making your initial collecting decisions and will help you progress with your hobby. Experienced collectors will find it a handy reference.

The American Topical Association, founded in 1949, is the world’s largest organization for topical collectors. Members in 43 countries enjoy sharing their topic and stamps they have acquired.

Explore this website to learn more about topical collecting. It offers many options for casual to serious collecting. Explore the options, and enjoy your topical adventure!

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