For many persons, however, limitations and exclusions are necessary from the start. In their case a choice must be made, and the safest choice will be that of the British Colonies, or, if a still more restricted line must be drawn, one of the Continental groups of Colonies. A glance at a priced catalogue will be the best guide for selection. If it must be an economical selection, the catalogue will speak for itself. There is abundant choice in every direction. There are colonies with few and simple and inexpensive issues, and there are others that require ample means and patient research. But the cheapest countries, from an expenditure point of view, are foreign countries—such as Sweden, Norway, Denmark, German Empire, Italy, Chili, China, and so on.
Great collections of postage stamps, like great collections of pictures, in these days acquire an international rank and reputation. The great stamp collections of to-day are in a few hands, and have been built up by lavish wealth and lavish industry. Wealth alone will not suffice to gather together a really great philatelic collection. There must be patient research, and there can be no research apart from that full knowledge which comes only to the industrious and painstaking Philatelist. The gem that is wanted to complete the finest page in the rich man’s collection has not unfrequently to be personally sought for in the byways, the alleys, and lanes of stamp collecting; and despite the keenest search of the wealthy, it sometimes, after all, falls by grim mischance into the laboriously gathered collection of the man of very limited means.