and Postal History Primer
Getting Started with your Stamp
There are many different types of Albums
you can choose to house your collection. The album you decide on will depend
on what area of philately you decide to pursue and the amount you are
willing to spend on it. High-end albums can run well over $100 each, however
there are a number of reasonably priced albums that will more than suffice
to protect your stamps. The album illustrated on the left is a First Day
all produce quality albums at the lower end of the price range.
A Catalog is used to help identify and
classify your stamps. A World/Country catalog as illustrated on the left
describes all of the stamps issued by several countries. They consist of
several volumes and are arranged alphabetically. Specialized catalogues can
be purchased that focus on specific areas of stamp collecting such as a
First Day Cover Catalogue. A Topical Catalogue lists all of the existing
issues for one topic or theme.
Magnifiers are used to view a stamp in
greater detail. Many of the older stamp issues were produced on different
plates and contain small differences in design. They are listed separately
in the specialized country catalogues and while two stamps may look alike,
it is possible that one is much more valuable than the other. The type of
magnifier shown on the left is placed directly over the stamp to be
There are two main types of stamp
mounts. The type of mount illustrated to the left is a Polystyrene
Stamp Mount, which are generally purchased in strips and
cut to size, although they also can be purchased cut to size. The stamp
is inserted inside the plastic tube/strip and the mount itself is
attached to the album page. This method is best for mounting mint or
unused stamps as it protects the stamp gum from damage.
Another method of mounting stamps is to use
These are small pieces of gummed
which attach to both the stamp and the album page. They can damage the
gum of the stamp itself when removed and should be utilized only for a
collection of used stamps.
A type of
variation in many
stamp issues is in the number and size of the stamps perforations. A
measures the number of perforations in a
two centimeter range along the edge of
the stamp and is often the only way to tell the difference between two
Handling a stamp by hand can also cause
damage to the stamp from the natural oil contained on human skin. Specially
made Tongs or Tweezers for safely handling your stamps are sold by most
stamp dealers and supply houses.
STAMP DRYING BOOK:
Many stamp collectors prefer collecting
postally used stamps. Used stamps are often sold in large quantity packets
still attached to a portion of the envelope paper. A common method for
removing the stamp from the paper without damage is to soak the stamp in
lukewarm water until it comes free. When the stamps are left to dry
naturally, they tend to curl. A Drying
Book has pages made of a special
substance that won't adhere to the drying stamp,
(which usually will still contain some remnant of
the gum). The stamps are placed inside
the pages of the book to dry and weight placed on the cover of the book.
When dried the stamps will be flat and in good condition for mounting in
WATERMARK TRAY & FLUID:
watermark is a design consisting of
characters, letters, numerals, or words impressed into the stamp paper
during it's manufacture. The paper used in stamp production is produced
by several different manufacturers and contains different watermarks.
Many of the older issues can only be told apart
by the differences in their watermarks.
Watermark Tray is used with a
commercial watermark fluid to detect and view the watermark which
normally is not visible to the naked eye. Caution should be taken when
using this method of watermark detection as the ink in certain stamps
may run when immersed in the fluid.
For example: The ink on the
Amateur Radio Stamp issue of 1964
will run when immersed.