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Helping Young Stamp Collectors to get Started

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How should I Keep my Stamps?

Most collectors mount their stamps in albums, but you don't have to - you can keep them in whatever way is best for you. We know a collector who keeps his stamps in an old biscuit tin! There are several different types of albums. Collectors usually start off with a Whole World printed album with a page for each country. It's a good idea to start with one of these. It helps you get to know the different countries that issue stamps, and to organise your collection so that you can see which countries or themes you want to collect in the future. It will also help you to identify the stamps of countries using foreign languages - not all countries use English, and just to make it more difficult for you some have changed their names more than once! For a list of some changed country names see the 'Stamp Facts' on the page dealing with unanswered questions and where to get more help.

The Stanley Gibbons 'Swiftsure Album' is a 4-Ring Binder Album suitable for junior collectors who have progressed beyond the first stage of collecting. Later you can progress to using a Ring type album, a Spring-back album or a Peg Fitting album. These are favoured by more advanced collectors because they give you flexibility in the way you mount and display your stamps.


The Stanley Gibbons 'Oriel Album' range of Peg Fitting albums.

Another type of album used is the Stock-book. This enables you to keep mint stamps without mounting them with hinges (mint stamps are ones that have still got the gum on the back and haven't been used). Some collectors insist that mounting mint stamps detracts from their value because the mount used disturbs some of the gum so that the stamps are no longer perfect. They distinguish between them by calling the stamps either Unmounted Mint or Mounted Mint. (You'll sometimes see these terms shortened to 'UM' or 'MM'.) Until you are more sure of what you want to collect we suggest you don't use mounts on any of your Unmounted Mint stamps. You can still mount them in your album by using transparent 'pockets' or strip mounts which you can buy from any good stamp shop - or of course you can keep them in a stock-book.


These Canadian Locomotives were issued in a miniature sheet.
It is best to keep such sheets intact. You can store them in stock-books, or mount
them in your album using special jumbo-sized transparent 'pockets' or strip mounts.
Did you notice that Canada is one of a few countries that issues bilingual stamps?

Always use good quality peelable stamp hinges to mount your stamps and NEVER EVER use glue or sellotape! Why? Well, just try taking them off your album page and you will find out why! When using stamp hinges, look for the shiny side - that's the gummed side. Fold the hinge at about one-third of its length with the gummed side outer-most, and have your stamp ready for mounting. Gently touch the one-third of the folded hinge with your tongue and position the hinge on the back of the stamp, leaving a small gap between the top of the stamp and the hinge. Pick up the stamp with your tweezers and gently touch the other two-thirds of the hinge with your tongue. Position the stamp where you want to mount it and gently press it onto the album page. If you find you've mounted it in the wrong place, don't try to remove it immediately - you need to let the gum of the hinge dry first or you will risk damaging both your album page and the stamp.

You may at some time get given special envelopes (collectors call them Covers) which have special cancellations on them. These are worth keeping as complete envelopes because it is the whole envelope that tells the story of the stamp. There are special Cover albums available to mount them in, or you can mount them in an ordinary album using special Corner mounts.


First Day Cover for
the Queen Elizabeth II
Coronation Issue.

It's much better to
keep this cover intact
with the cancel showing.





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