Essential Supplies for Stamp Collectors

There are several supplies that every stamp collector needs:  A good pair of stamp tongs, a perforation gauge, a watermark tray with watermark fluid, a stamp album or stock book – something to display your stamps in,  stamp mounts or stamp hinges, a stamp catalog to help you identify your stamps, and a color guide to help you  determine which color your stamp is.  

If you are collecting a more specialized area then you will need reference books to help you determine which stamp is which as some areas of collecting are fairly simple to determine one stamp from another but others are very difficult to determine which one is which (such as early Palestine) and you need specialized books to help you with determining one stamp from another.    

A good pair of stamp tongs is a necessity because stamps are difficult to manage with just your fingers and your fingers can easily damage a stamp.  Most stamp tongs are like a tweezers but instead of pointed ends they have flat ends so that the stamp is not damaged.  Stamp tongs are available at most stamp collecting stores.   A perforation gauge is a necessity so that you can determine the size of the perforations that your stamp has.  For example one stamp might be perf 11 x 11 1/2 and another might be perf 10 – a perforation gauge is used to measure each so that you know which one it is, so you can determine which stamp you might have.  

The perforation gauge also has a rule by which you can measure your stamp, if needed.   A watermark tray and watermark fluid is  used so that you can see which watermark a stamp has.  For example with some stamps there could be several different watermarks for a particular stamp and a watermark tray will show you which one is which.  A stamp album is something that you use to display your stamps.  You don’t have to display in an album, but you can certainly use an album to display your stamps.  

Some people display their stamps in a picture frame, often with other items of historical significance, others display them in a stock book, others keep them in small envelopes, and others display them in a stamp album – how you display them is your choice.  Me, I have them in boxes and  there are some in albums, some in envelopes, some are nicely displayed, and others are all over the floor but I am  trying to get them picked up and I have injuries to deal with and I’m not as neat and organized as most people.  

But honestly, I prefer using Black Centurion Stamp Stock Sheets to display my stamps because they are attractive and come in several different sizes and styles and I have many of them.   Of course I suggest to those who can afford them Davo Hingeless Albums, because then you don’t have to buy any kind of stamp mounts and they are very attractive albums.   You can order many stamp supplies from Subway Stamp Shop which may be cheaper than buying them from your local dealer.  Good prices on supplies can also be had by bidding on lots of supplies from various stamp auctions.  Stamp auctions usually sell boxes of supplies at auction in nearly every stamp auction and you can get nice supplies at good prices in those lots.    

Stamps can also be displayed on special pages for stamp displays and contests with an informative writeup about the stamp being featured.   If you use a regular album instead of stock pages or a hingeless album you will need stamp mounts or stamp hinges to mount your stamps.  For many years stamp hinges were the main way that stamps were affixed to an album, but this practice has fallen into disfavor, in favor of stamp mounts or other methods of preserving the gum on a stamp.  Lastly, you will need stamp catalogs which can help you identify your stamps.    

Spend some time determining which stamps are the most interesting to you.  You can collect per country, or you can collect according to topic, or you can collect certain types of stamps, or you can collect whatever stamps you can find.   Remember that it is for your learning, relaxation, and enjoyment.  If you enjoy collecting medicine stamps then go for it, if you enjoy collecting stamps that have flowers on them, then go for it, if you enjoy collecting stamps from  Germany, then go for it.   You really are only limited by your imagination and your budget.    One way you can expand your collection is by bidding on collections, then taking the stamps that you want, and then you can sell or trade the ones you don’t want.  Often there are Internet forums where collectors are willing to exchange stamps with you – and you can trade the ones you don’t want.