Stamp Albums: United States
Over time the beginning collector might outgrow their stockbook and seek to start a more established home for their multitude of stamps. Collectors choosing the United States as their preference must select one of the many brands of Stamp Albums (Minkus, Whitman/Harris, Scott, etc.) currently sold on the market. The three mentioned in the brackets are the biggest and oldest of the official U.S. stamp albums and each bring a unique characteristic to the Hobby of Kings.Minkus and Scott albums have neat descriptions about each stamp and Harris has more keener illustrations than most out there. There are plenty of other album brands out there; most are generic in nature with B&W photos, if any, and usually no descriptions. While we do not endorse any products in particular I can honestly say you will be better served with the time-tested major album brands quoted above.
Some of you might be fortunate to live in a community with a stamp/coin store. In the days before Internet stamp stores were numerous and the best place to go to purchase stamps and supplies. I still remember taking the train from NJ and buying stamps with my grandfather and father at Gimbels in NY which was a major department store. Today, if you are watching your budget, you are better to shop around at Ebay, the direct brand sites and the stamp store. You will save on shipping costs at the community store versus Ebay provided the price is competitive.
World Stamp Albums are very expensive and very large in volume. It could take 6 large loose leaf styled albums just to cover the planet of stamp collecting. I know stamp collectors of 50 years who still don't even have 1/4th of them filled. I would not recommend going this route. Stick to the stockbooks on stamps from around the world, if two or three countries strike your fancy, you can buy world supplement (pages) that contain your chosen country for an affordable price. Buy an inexpensive loose left binder and you are set to collect.
Hinges and Mounts: Ways and Means
Hinges are very small glassine wedges made to stick to the back of stamps and the stamp album page. My general rule is: only use them for used stamps. Actually, you can use them for any stamp of any condition. It all depends on personal taste. You can use hinges on stamps and then slip the entire stamp page in a plastic clear page protector. (Note: collectors used to separate pages from the album and hole punch them for a 3 ring binder. )
Mounts are stamp protectors that slip over the stamp and stick to the album via an glue adhesive. My general rule is: only use them for unused stamps are stamps of exceptional used value or maybe sentimental reasons. Mounts or as we used to call them "jackets" are very helpful but pricey items that shouldn't be wasted on just any old stamp. Actually, you can use them for whatever you want just be ready to pay the price. If you try to mount 100 stamps or more you'll discover it costs more than the album. Best to survey what you need and plan accordingly.