Stamp Collecting Buying Guide
Looking for new hobby that will get your gears turning and keep your hands busy? Stamp collecting is a great outlet that allows you to work on your organisational skills while advancing your history knowledge banks. More formally known as philately , stamp collecting is a popular hobby all over the world, helping people to understand standard mail as an important and ever-evolving means of communication within and between nations. But to get started on your exciting stamp collecting journey, you should stock up on all the tools that will help you organise, maintain and improve your soon-to-be impressive collection. Check out this guide for some simple suggestions.
- Stamp Tongs
- Tongs are used to handle stamps because they are less likely to cause damage to a stamp than human fingers, and they also make handling a lot easier.
- They are most typically used for identification and mounting purposes.
- Stamp dealers often sell very inexpensive tongs that have low-tension spring handles to make their use much easier.
- Perforation Gauge and Millimetre Rule
- This device can help you determine the gauge of of the perforation of a stamp as well as measure the full-size of the stamp.
- It can be printed on paper, cardboard, plastic or metal.
- There are several different variations of this tool available on the market, most with a millimetre ruler section and a series of points within a given space that delineate the perforation.
- Stamp Hinge
- This is a small piece of thin yet durable paper with a special gum adhesive used to mount stamps in albums.
- Stamp hinges come in a variety of sizes and styles and can be found at hobby or craft stores.
- They usually come in packages of one thousand.
- The best stamp hinges have gum that is peelable, meaning it will not damage the stamp if carefully removed.
- Magnifying Glass
- This helps you identify important characteristics of the stamp, whether it be damage or intricate design work.
- Different models are available, including straight handles, foldable handles and permanent mounts. Some can hang around your neck to free up your hands for stamp handling, while others have light bulbs that can illuminate your stamp as you examine it.
- Watermark Detector
- This is a simple device made of a glass tray and black bottom that identifies the stamp watermark--proof of its authenticity.
- To use it, you place the stamp face down in the tray and pour a small amount of carbon tetrachloride over it. The liquid then makes the paper of the stamp translucent, and the black bottom of the tray can then be seen through the thinner parts, i.e. the watermark.
Stamps should be kept in stamp albums , which can be printed or blank.
- Printed albums provide the collector with illustrations and spaces to write individual descriptions of each stamp. These are best suited for beginners, since they offer more guidance and structure, but many collectors use them throughout their entire lives.
- Blank albums are often constructed with durable loose-leaf pages and linen hinges that make them easy to open and help them lay flat. Some blank albums may have a faint quadrille background that will help you align your stamps neatly, but that is all the help you will get. That's why these albums are best suited for advanced collectors who have a lot of experience in album layout and may feel constrained by the set spaces that printed albums provide.
- All stamp albums vary in price, depending on their intended use. Children's albums are much cheaper than advanced albums or printed albums suited for a particular genre of stamps.
- Stamp album pages should be smooth but not glossy, allowing you to write with pen on the page without fear of ink blotting and streakage.