We have to face the fact that there are others who are out for our stamps -- mail artists, art appreciators, even homeowners. Yes, in a surprise move by the USPS to market the Baseball All Star stamps released in 2012, a spokesman made the point that the uncut press sheets of the baseball stamps didn't come with advance notice in the philatelic press because they were not being marketed to stamp collectors.
In general though, there is little worry that stamp collectors will not have the opportunity to get the US stamps we need. The great a number of stamps that are made available in the U.S. is truly mind boggling. This was brought into sharp relief for me with the U.S. Inspector General's report that many more stamps than could be sold were printed in 2010-11. After all, when there are one billion Simpson stamps printed one would think that the USPS's marketing people would have a handle on the number that would sell, and print accordingly.
Philatelic Marketing Misstep
The USPS has marketed stamps to many and in many different ways, some successfully, some not so much. The Simpsons stamps were a real big loser, selling only a third of their print run, with a net loss of over one million dollars. This, when one considers the success of marketing Simpson's merchandise other than stamps, could be a surprise to some. But The Simpsons TV show has been around for over two decades. Most kids weren't happy slaves to their computers then. Nor did they routinely communicate via email and instant messaging. Most kids don't even know where their local post office is these days, forget about knowledge of USPS issues.
Perhaps one has to think of the ephemeral nature of culture. There are fewer "savers." In the current economy those who were savers have, of necessity, become sellers. Those who are savers or collectors get a bad rap on shows like Storage Wars. As often as not, "stuff" is considered junk. This is also true of stamps.
Consider that fat album of classic and modern stamps you're thinking of buying -- how many of the stamps in it do you think are in fine or very fine collectible condition? You'd be lucky to find that it is 25%. While the hunt for stamps can be a turn on, for the most part it is best to buy your inexpensive stamps from a dealer in such items, rather than from a small classified or online ad from a dealer/collector who in his marketing stresses the thrill of the hunt. Of course the tantalizing promise of perhaps finding a high catalog value winner is mostly laughable. If you find a collection that looks like it has high value stamps, be prepared to be disappointed.
Unmentioned and Unmarketed: Fake Stamps
New collectors can be disappointed by the poor condition of stamps in these collections (repaired, regummed, etc.) but worse they can be faked out by fakes. There is no country that is immune to faked early classics. Check out any old album with German and Italian states issues, early Greece, South America - really any quality area you can mention - and fakes will abound. Fakes were even marketed to collectors in the earlier days, when entrepreneurs would acquire the printing plates of a country's obsolete stamps and churn them out for purchase by collectors in packets. What would today at least get one thrown in jail was once just accepted practice.
In the U.S. one of the most popular aspects to fake of classic stamps are grills. These were the result of an experiment in the 1860s to see if indentations pressed into the stamps that would allow ink to be soaked into the paper would make it impossible to wash out, thereby rendering the stamp unusable a second time.
This experiment didn't last long and so few stamps received grills, making those that did scarce and rare, highly sought after by collectors, and for those with philatelic larceny in mind, worth counterfeiting.
There was virtually no marketing of stamps in the U.S. until the Columbians. Most early commemoratives had a deep historical connection, often connected to an exposition, a tie in that was guaranteed to sell more stamps. The Pan Americans, Trans Mississippis, Pan Pacifics, Saint Louis World's Fair, all connected stamps to actual well-promoted events, all respectable issues that some complained about for expense, need (a $5 stamp created a bit of outrage) and other infractions, though all are considers classics today.