ALBUMS & TWEEZERS & MAGNIFIERS - OH NO!

     Welcome back to Everything Stamps and our weekly timeout for stamp collectors and talking about stamp collections. Today I want to talk about 4 elementary items that you will need to get your stamp collection jump started. Certainly there are more and sometimes even these four items can become anything but elementary - BUT let's start here.

     ALBUMS - If you are going to collect a country or several countries of stamps you will be able to find many different kinds of albums from very little money ($30) to a lot of money ($300 per volume sometimes three or four volumes per country) You can find prefab albums, albums that people have created using some type of album creation software or you can create your own using software designed for this or simply creating pages to your own liking with a word processor program or database program. Some people have even used Excel to create pages. It all depends on how much work you want to put into the album and how detailed you want it to be. Also there are albums that you can buy that already have mounts pre-attached to album pages so you never have to buy a hinge or mount. These satmp albums can be expensive, of course, but they are usually VERY detailed as well.

     TWEEZERS - No, you cannot use your wife's or girlfriend's tweezers! Not the same type. The kind you are looking for have flattened ends so that they can pick up or move a stamp without tearing it or putting a hole in it. These are usually very easy to find cost $6-$7 dollars apiece. Buy TWO, one always seems to disappear somewhere. You can use the second pair until you remember that you left the first set in your shirt pocket and you find it in the wash. Many thanks to Kavin for a link for finding some tweezers. Here you are http://www.sekiedge.com/store?page=shop.browse&category_id=33 . They are a little more expensive, but better crafted. Good  buy for your money!

     MAGNIFIERS - A good magnifier makes the life of the stamp collector so much easier. In many cases you will never need one, but when the ocassion arises you can be sure that you will be glad for a good magnifier. A good 10X magnifier usually will do the trick. Some come with lights, some with measuring attachments and all sorts of dodads, but to start off with, just get yourself a plain 10X magnifier.

     HINGES VS. MOUNTS - The debate goes on regarding which hinge or which mount is best, but when to use usually boils down to two instances. If you can afford mounts, you should use them on any stamp that is in mint condition (meaning it has not been used). If you can afford it, any other stamps, even used ones, can be put in your album with mounts. Mounts can tend to be somewhat expensive depending on the size of your collection, but making sure you do not disturb the gum on an unused stamp means using a mount. Whether you buy pre-cut mounts or cut your own is really a personal preference.

     There are many many sites you can find to buy pre-printed albums, just find the one that fits the description of what you want and how much you want to spend. To find out more about alternatively created stamp albums check out these sites http://www.stampalbums.com/ or http://www.philosateleia.com/

     For more information about stamps supplies like tweezers, magnifiers and mounts check out these sites http://www.subwaystamp.com/ or http://www.mysticstamp.com/ or http://www.mdstamp.com/

     Well another week and more fun and information with stamps, stamp collectors and stamp collections. Please take the time to comment on these blogs or suggest a topic for another week. Enjoy all that you do with your hobby and EVERYTHING STAMPS!