Collecting Rubber Stamps
The hobby of collecting rubber stamps is a vibrant and interesting hobby that ranges from timeless artefacts to imaginative modern-day creations. Collectors are generally of two varieties - the kind who are interested in making a profit from the hard work they are putting in, and the kinds who are just in it because they love it. Irrespective of the category you fall in, the process of hunting for and collecting rubber stamps is the same for everyone.
Means of Collecting Rubber Stamps
The first thing you need to decide is what you plan to base your entire collection on. Most people start collecting rubber stamps because they see some really interesting or creative stamps in some store. Then, they buy those and soon, they are hooked! They go out and keep an eye out for these rubber stamps wherever they go. That is also the best way to go about buying and collecting rubber stamps. Unless you have a specific store that carries a wide variety of these stamps, especially the kind you are looking for, you cannot really plan a special trip for these stamps.
That means, every time you see a garage sale or pass by a flea market, your hobby will require you to stop and take a look. Anyone collecting rubber stamps will know that these locations are a treasure-trove for the hobbyist. Not only can you find a lot of things to add to your collection, you can also find a lot of rare and unique items that might not be found elsewhere. What's more, these are places where the stamps are sold for what they are - old rubber stamps - and that means, they are priced as old stamps, not as antiques. If you can bargain your way through everything, you might just end up getting an unbelievable deal on stamps that might be worth much more than what you pay for them.
You can also try your hand at hitting antique stores because they too tend to have a significant number of rubber stamps. However, you need to be careful with what you pay here because these stores tend to jack-up the prices quite significantly. The other option is a pawn shop, where you can also come across some rare rubber stamps and once again, the pricing becomes an issue here because the store might ask for a price that they consider the object to be worth, rather than what it might actually be worth. In most cases, they are quite ambitious with their beliefs.
Finally, you can try contacting other people involved in collecting rubber stamps. Sometimes, you might have a stamp that they need and in other cases, they might have something you want. Some of these collectors also have websites and are always looking to expand their collection. You can get in touch with them and make them an offer, either to buy a stamp out-right, or exchange something they want with something you want. Either ways, this can be the best way to get your hands on things you want, although it would be wise to get into something like this only if you have more than one stamp of the kind you are giving away, or you have enough experience to know that you are getting something that's worth more than what you are giving away.
Criteria for Collecting Rubber Stamps
Now this aspect, for many hobbyists, is very personal - the reasons why they want to dwell in the hobby and what they want to achieve with it. For some, it is a case of being handed down a collection of rubber stamps that can create that passion within. For others, it might be an exposure to rare or beautiful stamps of some kind - something interesting enough to give birth to a desire to collect stamps. For others still, it might just be something they happened to chance upon because of the lack of another hobby or merely the convenience of pursuing rubber stamp collection.
In the end, collecting rubber stamps is rarely about why you got into the hobby although it might be important in setting the trend of what you are looking for in your hobby. Most hobbyists have phases - such as a phase when they are looking for a certain kind of rubber stamp, like old or antique rubber stamps. Others might have a specific love for rubber stamps based on the design while others, still, could have a liking for the kind of handle and body the stamp has, irrespective of the design.
There are also many hobbyists who focus on stamps that carry mistakes - either on the design or in the text, which makes them quite rare. Then there are those hobbyists who are interested in anything and everything out there, as long as it adds something new to their collection.
Whatever be your reason for entering the hobby and whatever be your means of collecting rubber stamps, the success of your hobby depends on how much time and effort you spend on it. You can sit on the Internet and buy all the stamps you want, but that won't give you the kind of success you need, especially if you end up paying a fortune to get stamps that are worth but a fraction of it. Basically, if you are willing to do the leg-work and have a particular plan in mind, you will enjoy every minute spent collecting rubber stamps.