Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Next Step: Stockbooks and Tongs

The next step once you have received your starter-kit of stamps is to obtain a stockbook, which is basically a black stamp album. Depending on the maker, the pre-made types are manufactured through KA-BE, Lighthouse, PARAT, Stanley Gibbons, Supersafe, Prinz Scott, G & K, each might have a white backing on the pages or black blackground. Each page will have slots, 8, 7, 6, 5, accomodating a vast number of sizes of the stamps. Obtaining of the these stockbooks is easy through the websites of various dealers or through Ebay. The average cost is about $20.

The second type of stockbook is the one you can create with vario pages. These pages set up with various sizes of stamps, blocks, sheets, etc. can be purchased for as little as $6 and have multiple holes for 3 or 4 ring binders that can be purchased in the office section of any large store. For less than half the cost of a pre-made you can put together your own stockbook. Vario pages are best purchased at Ebay. The page quality is all the same just the shipping price will be different and that is what you should factor when ordering. The Vario chart is too big to be pictured here but there is only a few the starting collector can actually use anyhow. The Vario page 6S, 7S & 8S are best for the starting collector. The number is how many horizonal rungs each page contains, the more rungs the smaller the space between. For larger stamps 8S is good and for much smaller thumbnail stamps, 6S is sufficient. The full Chart is available as an informational segment attachment upon request. Ebay stores and dealers usually have the chart available on their sites as well.

The next item necessary is called "tongs." A picture above shows what they look like--almost like a flat headed tweezer. The purpose is to keep the oil from your hands and fingers from tranferring upon the stamp; thus reducing its lifespan. The nickle-plated ones work perfectly fine. Shouldn't cost you any more than $4 for a pair. They now sell gold-plated ones but honestly you don't need them. I am still using the same tongs my father gave me 35 years ago.

The new collector must keep in mind that everything he/she needs for their collecting purposes are not available in any regular stores out there. If you are lucky to have a stamp store nearby, you might find their prices are far higher than the combine price and shipping of most anything on Ebay.
The most important lesson here is to get what you basically need to protect, store and enjoy the stamps. Folks out there easily get carried away with expensive and unnecessary supplies that in my opinion are not only a waste of money but also reduces a person's budget which should be spent on getting more stamps.


Heather said...

Thank you so very much. Mark you have introduced my children to something wonderful. We have taken all the advice you have given. They spend many hours a day on their stamp collection and are currently sifting through one of the several lots of stamps on ebay that we got in. There is no way to say thank you for what you have done. It has brought us closer as we dig into the past.

Mark said...

You are very welcome. That is exactly what I was trying to accomplish.