Storing Your Stamp Collection

Barbados Stamps | How to store, handle and care for your stamps

Of course, how you store, handle and care for your stamps is often a matter of personal preference. The aim of this section is not to hector or badger you into doing it one way or another, simply to offer some hints and tips that I’ve found useful along the way.

The first decision is how you want to store your stamps.

If you look in the SG Catalogue they will advise that the prices they quote for unused stamps are for lightly hinged examples from Victoria to George V. From Edward VIII onwards (1936) the unused price is for unmounted mint. Essentially this means that you cannot apply hinges to any stamp from 1936 onwards without significantly reducing its value. They do however point out that stamps from George VI are often difficult to find in unmounted mint condition and as such they expect prices to be nearer to the catalogue price than you would otherwise expect. Essentially if you have unmounted mint stamps pre 1945 they are worth more than mounted examples.

There are a number of ready made ‘album pages’ on the market and these are often seen on Ebay, for example ‘Minkus’ pages often appear. These are pre printed pages which have spaces for each of the stamps you would be expected to collect for that country. What this doesn’t allow for is any additional stamps that you may be collecting as there is no space for them.

A good example of this is the Seal of Colony small stamp issues between 1892 and 1905, where the SG concise catalogue simply lists one of each stamp value and colour, a total of fifteen stamps, whereas the specialised catalogue shows that there are in fact eighteen different stamps, excluding any watermark variations that you may come across. The printed album pages type of collecting also gives you no opportunity to collect more than one of each stamp, say for example a mint and a used version.

The difference here can be quite marked with the stamp shown above (SG 144) looking to all intents and purposes the same as SG 115, but the difference for a mint version is that the stamp shown catalogues at £60 whereas SG 115 is £110. The key here is in the watermark which on the earlier stamp is Crown CA as opposed to the later stamp which was the Multi Crown CA. A small difference but significant when trying to work out a value. Also essential to know when you are collecting. So, the printed pages aren’t that flexible if you are intent on building up a specialist collection.

Another disadvantage of the printed pages is that if you have bought any mint stamps and wish to keep them that way you can’t then apply a hinge to them and mount them on a page. The only other option is to use Hawid , Prinz or Showguard mounts, which then means that you are spending additional money to mount your stamps. Not only that but if the printed page has a picture of the actual stamp on then you will have to use a clear mount otherwise it will obscure the picture underneath.

For these reasons alone I prefer to use Prinz system stock pages, although I know many others use Hagner pages to the same effect.

When you visit dealers you will find nearly all their stock on cards like this as it is much easier to store the, move them around, add in notations on paper (slipped next to them) and it provides a secure environment which shouldn’t damage the stamps.

On top of this is is advisable to move the stamps occasionally, as if they are pressed hard in an album that has too many pages, they may become sealed onto the card, especially if there is any moisture in the environment in which they are stored.

Used examples of stamps can of course be hinge mounted and these can be in albums but again I prefer the consistency of having them all on stock card pages.

So the choice is yours, just remember that how you store it now will affect its value in years to come!

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