Most collectors like to have a magnifying glass so they can look at their stamps more closely. Again, they come in a wide range, from the fairly basic, offering 2 or 3× magnification. Another option are pocket microscopes giving 30× magnification. Also digital microscopes that offer a really detailed examination of your stamps. Probably this is the most common of the philatelic accessories.
One of the philatelic accessories every stamp collector must have is a pair of tweezers. All stamps should be handled with tweezers; they ensure that the natural oils in our fingers do not get on to the stamps and, after a bit of practice, they are easier to use than fingers as well. They come in different lengths, with different points and made from different materials (generally stainless steel or gold-plated).
Perforations or “perfs” in a stamp was an innovation introduced in 1854 to allow postage stamps to be easily separated and removed for use, rather than individually cutting them by hand from imperforate sheets. The standard for measuring is the number of perforations found in 2 centimeters (20 mm).
Different perforations can greatly affect the value of a stamp. A stamp with 10 holes in 2 centimeters is called a “Perf 10”. Some stamps also have different horizontal and vertical perforations, called compound perfs. Compound perforations are listed first horizontally, and then vertically, for example, a stamp with Perf 11 on the top and Perf 10 on the sides would be Perf 11×10.
A stamp perforation gauge is an affordable devise that illustrates a range of perforations. The stamp is moved down the gauge until the perforations on the stamp visually match that on the gauge.
Binders are great to store your collections mounted on blank pages. It’s important to to choose the right ones. I recommend Lighthouse. The Lighthouse Grande Classic Binder will hold sheets up to 9-1/2″ x 12″ in size. Leatherette cover in book binder’s quality makes it classy. It includes a slip case for added protection, extra-large rectangular 3-ring mechanism. It can hold up to 60 sheets depending on contents. This elegant binder will hold your valuable collection without drawing unwanted attention.
Hinges and Mounts
There are two main ways in which collectors can mount their stamps to album pages. The original method involves using hinges, small pieces of special gummed paper which allow the collector to attach stamps directly to an album page.
Plastic mounts meanwhile enable collectors to present their stamps in albums without physically attaching the stamps themselves to pages. Stamps are placed inside protective plastic mounts and the mount is then attached to the page, meaning unmounted mint stamps can remain in pristine condition whilst still appearing in an album. Mounts are available already ‘cut to size’ or in strips that can then be cut to the correct size depending upon the size of stamp.
One of the most practical philatelic accessories is the glassine envelope. This handy item is a popular seller and has many uses, especially for storage. Glassine envelopes are what we use to store all of our bulk stock. What makes them so ideal?
Firstly, they are made of high quality #30 semi-transparent acid free glassine. You can easily store hundreds of stamps per envelope, depending on their size and the size of the envelope. We have 11 different sizes of envelopes for you to choose from, in packs of 100 or boxes of 1000. Glassine is a paper product which is grease, air, and water resistant, so you can also label your envelopes with a marker and not worry about leakage through the paper. For water resistance, make sure your envelope is well sealed shut.
The fact that glassine envelopes are acid free is an important point. Some papers and cardboards contain chemicals which, if they come into contact with your stamps, could actually damage them. No such worries with glassine envelopes. You can use them to store your stamps for a long period if necessary.
Glassine envelopes are useful for other hobbies or occupations also, such as photography. The acid-free glassine is perfect for storing film and prints. Other markets where glassines have become popular are marketing, food packaging and fashion, either in envelope or sheet form.
Finally and especially if you are collecting stamps at a more specialised level, you will probably want an ultraviolet lamp to identify different papers and phosphor types. These come in a range of designs at different prices, so it is useful to seek the advice of an experienced collector before deciding on the one to buy. Depending on the stamps you collect you really need a “short wave” lamp to identify different phosphors, but some lamps incorporate both “long” and “short” wave bulbs, which give them wider potential use.