Chapter 7 Albums & Displaying stamps [PREV] [NEXT] [HOME]

This chapter was last modified on [10-12-96 (Tue) at 07:48:15] . Please send all bug reports, additions etc. to the Editor, Gert Bultman. People vary in their opinions between using stockbooks (mostly for duplicates) and mounting them in special albums and/or on often self-designed pages. Things to consider are whether you will want to use a hingeless system (preferred) and whether you are choosing a looseleaf or a fixed-pages album.

Among the albums/pages most often mentioned are:

Michael Rys writes: There are several European albums which I only recommend when the total value of your collection surpases the costs for the albums:

Disclaimer: I am not working for any of those companies or make money by recommending them. I am only a satisfied customer of some of the above mentioned companies.

Dean Veres writes: I agree with John Farrell, except that my collection has fairly rigid boundaries (1840--1940). The Hagner pages are good, too, and in some cases better because there are various sizes to protect both large and small items. For my large hermes heads, though, I use blank Lindner hingless pages because the control numbers on the backs of the stamps are of great importance in cataloging, and they can be easily seen with these pages. There certainly are different ways to attack the same problems.

Bjørn P. Munch writes:

> The major problem I've had in
> the past with do-it-yourself mounts is  that they tend to warp the album
> pages (very noticeable ripples on the  back side of the page).

I've never had this problem (or not so much that it bothers me). I use sheets of fairly thick, stiff paper which are made specifically for this purpose. To fasten the mounts (Hawid), I simply lick them, making sure not to get them too wet.

Martti Tolvanen writes: I like albums so much that I buy one (plain paper version + hinges) for the countries where I've reached a sufficiently advanced level (more than half of the main types collected). Then I have blank pages from the same maker (Davo) that I use for making extra pages for the variants that I want to add. I simply don't have the time to make pages for all the stamps. The collections that I have in the incubation stage I keep in stock books. As an exception, my UK collection is entirely self made, consisting of self drawn pages and stock book pages (Visir).

Barry Moss writes:

> Grant Brians (brians@telebit.com) writes ....
> ... I have  noticed is that  Harris pages and  other similar
> thin paper  is quite prone to  the curling, whereas the  Scott Specialty
> paper is quite resistant to the effect.

Now that you mention it, the albums that I had so much problem with were Harris albums. So it looks like problem is related more to the type of album page than the mounting method. I'll be starting my next project in a couple of weeks and I'll be using Lighthouse pages this time so hopefully the results will be better.

Steven G. Anderson writes: I have had the same problem. I bought a Citation album in 1972 and faithfully bought supplements until 1990 (now 4 volumes). As individual countries got more advanced I have bought specialty albums, either Scott or Minkus depending on the country. This too was beginning to get expensive, and I would rather spend my money on stamps, not supplements. My solution is to buy quadrilled pages and create my own pages. I like the layout a lot better than either Harris or Minkus. My next step is to create my own specialty album. I currently lay out the pages by hand and a ruler. I've tried some graphic tools on my workstation, but find them too awkward. In my spare time :-) I'm trying to write a C++ automatic page layout generator. Spare time is very short right now so I haven't gotten very far.

Section 7.1 Mounting stamps

David Lee writes: On the subject of stamp mounts, it is important that whatever comes into contact with the stamp be acid free; preferrably slightly alkaline (buffered). This is due to the concept of `acid migration'. Acidity will actually migrate from a more acid item to one of less acidity just from physical contact. Remember, merely because stamp products are made for the philatelic market, does not make it safe (archival quality) or acid free!!! On this subject, the stamp mounts also refer to plastic mounts. Plastic mounts MUST be free of the chemical PVC, a plasticizer; used to make plastic flexible. A good general rule to follow, if a plastic mount smells like plastic, feels `oily' and is not clear but has a tinted color to it, do not buy it.. Plasticizers and PVC will `outgas' as the plastic is not chemically stable. The result is that the stamp and ink will `stick' to the mount in chemical reaction to the gas.

Section 7.2 Lighthouse

Barry Moss writes: About a year ago I did a comparison of the major brands of hingless albums with the help of a dealer in Ottawa who had examples of almost all of them. The Lighthouse albums were consistently the best in terms of paper and mount quality, binder construction, completeness and layout. The prices of the six or so albums I looked at were all in the same range with about a +/- 25% range from the median.

Barry Moss writes: You might also want to check out the Lighthouse hingless album which I believe is in the same price range as the Scott platinum. I have the Canadian Lighthouse album and have been very pleased with it.

Norman Hinton writes: For various parts of my collection I use Lighthouse looseleaf stock pages, in a 3-ring binder. My binder is simply standard black office-style, but you can get nice padded ones, etc. from office supply stores: no need to'pay Phailatelic Accessory prices for the binders.

I like the looseleaf because I can put a page of any size pocket anywhere I want to.

I keep my New Zealand bar code pairs, my ship topicals and my map topicals in these books, and various other things like U.S. booklet covers. (I am not a great topical collector, it comes pretty far down my list, so I don't need lots and lots of notebooks for those collections.

I will stick to Scott forever for my U.S. classics, and my two-volume Harris will handle *most* of my world-wides (just sent for another 6 or 8 packets, can't resist them). But increasingly I like the Lighthouse looseleaf approach.

Section 7.3 Ka-Be

Section 7.4 Scott & Scott Platinum

David L. Merrifield writes: I have Scott's National Album. I like it, for the most part. It is comprehensive enough to contain the varieties of stamps that I will most likely afford in my lifetime. Each stamp has its own `life-size' box which contains the Scott catalog number (handy, not all albums have this), a title, and a picture of the stamp. There are annual updates available. There are several features that I dislike. I'm not at all impressed by the binder. It doesn't permit pages to lie flat. The binding posts are heavy duty, but are not a standard looseleaf 2- or 3-hole. The construction of the binder doesn't appear to be particularly long lasting, apparently being made of a paper-based material that has already shown signs of wear and tear after only six months. Plan on getting two binders if you have enough stamps to fill more than half the album pages.

Robert Beasecker writes: I have just purchased the Scott U.S. Platinum albums (six volumes) through a dealer advertising in Linn's. The price, which included the albums, pages (1847--1990), slipcases, and stick-on volume numbers, was $378 --- UPS shipping included.

I'm very pleased with the set and the quickness--about one week--at which it was delivered. Not wishing to give free advertising on this list, I won't mention the dealer. But those interested may send me a personal e-mail note and I'll be happy to share the info.

Barry Moss writes: I asked for opinions on the Scott Platinum album a few weeks ago and received the following information from Scot Kamins

"I have the Scott Platinum. It's currently available via mail order for under $500 for the complete set, including those box thingee's that you slide the albums into.

While there are spaces for souvinair (sp) sheets and coil pairs, as well as coil singles, there is >NO< space for imperf pairs!!! An incredible oversight, if you ask me.

Paper quality, etc. is all peachy. But the backings are all white. Would show off the stamps better if the paper had black borders framing each stamp or pair to show the stamps off better."

Section 7.5 Minkus

Section 7.6 Lindner

Michael Rys writes: Check out the Lindner as well. The costs are 600 to 700 sfr. for the pages only and include souvenir, plate coil pair, booklets. It only includes a few phosphorate variants (don't ask me on what basis they decide to include them or not) nor do they include imperf pairs. But they include perf varieties (not all of the new varieties unfortunately). I did some layouting for phosphor variant on Lindner Blanko pages which fit nicely into the album.

And yes, they have black borders around the stamps...

Section 7.7 Vario Pages

David Harrison writes: Does anyone in netland use `Vario pages' for their stamps? I have bought a few for my plate blocks and high dollar stamps, but I wonder about the plasticizers in the vinyl-like backing. The information that comes with the package is not very informative, but it does say that such chemicals are not in the pages. Do any of you have personal experience with the `Vario Pages'? BTW, these pages cost about 70 cents U.S. each. What do others use for safe keeping of stamps?

Norman Hinton writes: I use Vario pages all the time and have never had a problem with them. If you look around carefully you can find lower prices: I got a whole bunch for 35 cents per sheet at a sale a while back.

Caroline E. Bryan writes: I use Vario pages for all my stamps. I love 'em. I have not noticed any discoloration, but I've only been collecting for 3--4 years, which might not be enough time for damage.

Section 7.8 ``Homemade'' album pages

Stevens Forrest writes: Just thought I'd mention that someone is selling some `homemade' album pages for some countries (JPR Enterprises, check Linn's trading posthorn). They only have a few countries available at present, but coverage for the countries they have is quite good, and they are very inexpensive.

Grant Brians writes:

>    I have a  couple of questions for you since  I'm considering making a
> supplement  to  my Lighthouse  Canada  album  for some  back-of-the-book
> material that Lighthouse doesn't include.  The major problem I've had in
> the past with do-it-yourself mounts is  that they tend to warp the album
> pages (very noticeable ripples on the  back side of the page).  However,
> I've noticed  that the commericial  hingeless albums such  as Lighthouse
> don't have this  problem.  Have you find a way  of solving this problem?
> Is it simply a matter of using  less water, or a sponge type applicator,
> or is there some special technique involved?  Or do you simply not worry
> about it?  :-)
> Barry Moss              moss@mdd.comm.mot.com

A technique I have used for both mounts and hinges is to apply light pressure to the pages before placing them in the album. Continue this light pressure overnight and then all should remain flat. Probably this is best used as a technique when the MNH stamps are not in the mounts, and when you have a `moderate' number of pages (5--20?) to keep flat. The other item I have noticed is that Harris pages and other similar thin paper is quite prone to the curling, whereas the Scott Specialty paper is quite resistant to the effect.

Barry Moss writes:

In a previous posting Bjørn P. Munch writes...
>    I've  made  my   own  Norway  and  Denmark   albums  from  Leuchtturm
> (lighthouse) binders  and blank sheets,  and am very satisfied  with the
> result.

I have a couple of questions for you since I'm considering making a supplement to my Lighthouse Canada album for some back-of-the-book material that Lighthouse doesn't include. The major problem I've had in the past with do-it-yourself mounts is that they tend to warp the album pages (very noticeable ripples on the back side of the page). However, I've noticed that the commericial hingeless albums such as Lighthouse don't have this problem. Have you find a way of solving this problem? Is it simply a matter of using less water, or a sponge type applicator, or is there some special technique involved? Or do you simply not worry about it? :-)

Bjørn P. Munch writes: An alternative to looking for ready-made hingless albums for `your' country, is to make it yourself.

It's probably cheaper, but the main advantage is that you can design it exactly as you want it. And you can re-arrange it if you change your mind.

The only problem is that it takes quite a lot of time....

I've made my own Norway and Denmark albums from Leuchtturm (lighthouse) binders and blank sheets, and am very satisfied with the result.

It doesn't have b/w pictures of the missing stamps, but personally I prefer just an empty space (with the face value and possibly colour).

Section 7.9 Harris

Robert Beasecker writes: The discussion about hingeless albums has been most interesting. This is all pretty new to me since I've gotten back to my collection after many years of benign neglect. Presently I am using the Harris Liberty album(s) for my U.S. collection and am not pleased with the quality of the paper, the constant struggle remounting series each year, etc. ad nauseam.

David Carroll writes: I have an H.E.Harris Standard album that was originally one volume (maroon binder - it's over 25 years old) which I've expanded by buying extra binders (now gray) and annual supple- ments from Harris. The album is now 4 ungainly volumes, and frankly I'm less and less satified with either the coverage (inadequate spaces if you happen to have a fairly complete collection for a given year,given country - if I wanted to mess with `rolling my own pages' I wouldn't have this album) or the organization (stupid things like putting different countries back-to-back on a page - makes it difficult if you want to set up other than an A-Z global order.)

Section 7.10 Stockbooks

John Farrell writes:
>So  far i'm  using  lighthouse 32-page  (64 sides)  stock
>books, which  retail for around  $35.00.  Some countries take  an entire
>book, but letters 'D'  and 'E' fit into one.  Does  anyone else use this
>approach?

Well yes, but I don't recommend using fixed page stock books if your collection is growing. I use stock books in which each page is slotted into a plastic cover which is fixed in the book. Each book holds about 600 stamps, so as I get new stamps I can insert pages and reorder them. I only have a couple of fixed page books, and when a country expands you have to move the entire thing! Using the movable page system, you can swap countries between books very easily.

Even better is Hagner sheets, but they are a bit more expensive than the books I usually use, and not terribly versatile, e.g. you can't put a mini-sheet onto a normal page, the item must fit in the slot.

Dean Veres writes: I finally gave up on albums (or am in the process). I'm going completely to good stock books. It will take 20--30 to house my world-wide 1840--1940, but I will have room for whatever comes my way, such as shade and perf varieties, private overprints, covers, etc. Since everyone's approach to and attitude toward philatelic material varies, no album seems to fit the requirements of most of the collectors. Also, remounting of better copies and rearranging are far easier and at no extra cost for mounts (and you know what they cost these days). So far i'm using lighthouse 32-page (64 sides) stock books, which retail for around $35.00. Some countries take an entire book, but letters 'D' and 'E' fit into one. Does anyone else use this approach?

Marc Kaplan writes: I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has the White Ace U.S. specialized albums for the Transportation Coils and the Great American series. How specialized are they? Do you like them? Would you recommend them? I'm interested in the various perf., tagging, precancel, and paper varieties.

David Harrison writes: I have a minuteman album for my used postage and I use Vario pages for my mint stamps. It is expensive, but I don't want the stamps damaged by ANYTHING. I hope that in time the Vario pages won't degrade my stamps.

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