Stamp Collecting Accessories

This post focusing on accessories used by philatelists concludes the section introducing kids to philately. From next week onwards, the posts will zone in on entities that issue stamps with emphasis on initiating kids to the political world through philately.

Below is a list with description:

AccessoryPrice RangeSampleDescription
Glassine Envelopes$5 per 50 for 4-inch envelopes

Glassine paper envelopes are especially suitable to store stamps due to the resistive property of wax. The nemesis of stamps - moisture, air, and any type of grease are barred for the most part. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It is a public secret that the majority of collectors use glassine envelopes as an interim storage place.
Stock Book, Sheets, and CardsVaries

Stock books consist of pockets made of clear-plastic or paper into which stamps can be inserted and stored. The plastic ones have the advantage that the entire stamp is visible as in an album page. Collectors use them primarily to store duplicates and/or varieties. Individual sheets called stock sheets and a smaller variety called stock cards are also available to store stamps.
Stamp AlbumVaries

Albums are used as a means to store, protect, organize, view, and enjoy them. Hinge less albums are the most expensive kind – these have mounts preinstalled allowing for easy insertion of stamps. A broad array of albums exist catering towards most collecting specialties including ones for covers, plate blocks, varieties, etc. Given a choice, it is best to avoid two-sided pages – such albums have the potential to cause damage to stamps unless interleaved glassine paper is used as a separator. Keeping up with new issues is a challenge when purchasing albums, not to mention the incremental costs to purchase updated pages. The most economical and often the most preferred alternative is printing one’s own album pages instead.
Books and PeriodicalsNA

An array of choices is available via the Internet and through traditional print media.
Stamp CatalogVaries

The options available were covered in a previous post – please use the link to refer to that post.
Color Guide$10

Many stamps from the classic period sport a wide variety in appearance and more importantly in pricing – the common ones may catalog for under a dollar while the rarer ones well over $100. Guides are indispensable in identifying the color varieties. Common ones go for under $10 but securing a reliable and accurate guide is paramount. Investing in a premium version from Stanley Gibbons for around $25, is worthwhile for a collector specializing in classics.
Magnifying Glass$5

They are handy in reading inscriptions in the design, identifying damages, and markings. The best choice is a jeweler’s loupe – they provide adequate magnification (10X or higher) compared to regular magnifying glasses with magnification factors as low as just 2X. Further, the prices for jeweler’s loupes are also comparable at around $5 or so.

Tongs allow for easy handling of stamps although a bit of practice is involved. They look similar to shorter tweezers but the key difference is the absence of sharp edges or slits for help with gripping. This ensures that the stamps are not subjected to handling damage. An assortment of tongs based on size, weight, and tip design - Spade, round, pointed, fat, and thin tips and sub-categories all exist. Except for the pointed type which can accidentally poke and damage stamps, the others are matter of personal preference.
Perforation Gauge$5

Perforation gauge is a tool for measuring perforations in a stamp. They are important for collectors as there are stamps with the same design but different perforations with vastly different catalog values. The unit of measurement is the number of perforations in two centimeters. Most common gauges in the market are good for measuring to the nearest half of a perforation and that serves ample. Recent US issues are an exception as they measure to the nearest 10th. Another purpose served by a more precise gauge that measures size of holes in addition to spacing is in detecting fakes – many fakes appear “correct” in terms of the number of perforations but fall short when measuring the size of individual perforations. For the technically oriented, one alternative is software that measures perforations from a scanned image of the stamp.
Watermark Detector (Tray and Fluid)$10

Identifying watermarks is important for collectors as again, stamps of the same design can vastly vary in price depending on the type of paper and watermark used – specifically, inverted watermarks are highly collectible. In general, watermarks on stamps are largely invisible to the naked eye. For some it helps to place the stamp upside down on a dark background. But for most others, the best bet is to use a watermark fluid. They dry fast and do not leave marks and so are deemed safe. There are more expensive alternatives like optical watermark detectors but most collectors employ watermark fluid because of their reliability.
Stamp Hinge$5 per 1000 average

Hinges are small strips of glassine paper with a small amount of gum on one side. They are used by folding with gum-out, moistening the shorter fold and affixing it to the top-mid portion of the back of a stamp and affixing the other fold to the album page-slot. They are a way to affix stamps to album pages without diminishing the condition of the stamp. They are inexpensive and serve the purpose well.
Stamp Mount$8 per package (>6 mounts depending on size) of 215mm mounts average

They are the accessory of choice to store and affix stamps that are expensive and/or mint. Hinges have the disadvantage that hinge marks are left behind on mint stamps. Further, collectors prefer MNH (Mint Never Hinged) stamps and which explains the premium associated with them.
Ultraviolet Light$20

This is a more recent entry to the stamp collector’s arsenal. It helps with detecting luminescent coatings on stamps issued after the classic period of 1840-1940. Most of these coatings are invisible to the naked eye (tagging) but visible under ultraviolet light.


Last Updated: 09/2015.


free indeed said...

I only just found your site within the last two days. So, this is my second entry for stamps to get the grandkids off to a great start with stamp collecting. I'm going to have a hard time giving up my stamps I collected almost 40 years ago to them...I may SHARE :) Thanks.

noreen said...

the list is a great reference

Pablo (yo) said...

I'm in for the giveaway..
my email es

scootsah said...

thanks again for your generous offer. my kids will love it if they win.

Joyce said...

thank you for this! hope i can share this with my grandma who loves stamp collecting.

lau1cc at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

hope to win!

Anonymous said...

very informative

Anonymous said...

thanks for this!

Anonymous said...


ms.clark said...

What a great giveaway. I would love to add to my little stamp collection now and this would be the perfect way. I also think my children would love looking at all the different styles.

Shelly said...

Thanks for your giveaway

Anonymous said...

How great! I hope I win.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to enter. Thanks.

Alice :

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I'm Jane and I'd love to enter. Thanks for this giveaway.

Jane - aikjane(at)yahoo(dot)com

YZ said...

Please count me in. 10 Q

Aik said...

Oh great, another giveaway! I'd love to add some stamps to my little collection.

Anonymous said...

I'm in! Thanks!

Snow ~

Giada said...

Hello! I'd like to be entered, I hope I'll win!


Anonymous said...

I'd like to win this for my dad.
yeloechikee at hotmail dot com

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