Housing a Stamp Collection

Over the years I have tried many different ways of organizing my ever-growing stamp collection, from stock books, stock cards, and multi-binders, all the way to preprinted albums. It’s not easy, nor is it cheap to find one all-encompassing system. Organizing a collection is a large part of the fun of stamp collecting for me, and I find that any effort and hobby budget used for this, is usually well spent.

I currently use the following methods

  • All covers and modern stamp sheets go into Leuchtturm ring binders Grande. These are large, high quality ring binders fitted with heavy-duty, archival safe plastic pockets made for many different sizes of covers and cards. I love this system as it makes even torn covers look good, and it allows you to see the front and back of whatever you put in it.

    Leuchtturm albums, available in four different colors. They look good and house a lot of material.

Inside one of these Leuchtturm albums. These pages fit three covers each, but they come in many other configurations to hold larger and smaller pieces of paper.

  • All stamp collections that are under construction, or that are waiting to be mounted, go in large stock cards that are themselves fitted in archival safe plastic pockets and placed in (cheap) ring binders. This is a more versatile version of the classical stock book, as it allows me to easily rearrange pages, and make more room without having to move all the stamps all of the time. It also keeps the stamps safe and clean. A lot of people use Vario pages for this. I guess my method is a similar one, but somewhat more generic.

My Mali collection on A4 stock cards in plastic pockets housed in a ring binder. Easy to work with and rearrange if needed. These are some beautiful stamps from the 1950s and 60s by the way.

  • Once a collection nears completion, I design my own pages in powerpoint that are printed on empty Schaubek pages using a A3 inkjet printer. Printing the pages myself allows me to decide which stamps / periods / countries to collect, and which ones to leave out. It looks good, brings consistency, and it is much cheaper than preprinted country albums, which can easily be more expensive than the stamps themselves. I use a Canon photo printer to print the pages, but any printer that handles larger than legal size / A4 paper will do. The Schaubek pages are acid free, archival quality paper. They come in packs of 50 pages, and the Schaubek albums that are made for them hold approximately 150 pages when all stamps are mounted. This is more than enough for a large country collection like the Netherlands up to 1990. The stamps are put into double sided black mounts from Hawid that I cut myself from strips. These mounts are expensive, but they keep the stamps safely in place and protected, even when the pages are browsed frequently. Designing the pages and measuring / mounting the stamps is where most of the time and effort are spent, however I think the visual part, the arranging of colors and patterns, is a large part of the fun. It’s magical to see a collection come together, the way you intended it to be.

Please note that the brands of paper, albums, and mounts that I talk about here may not be available where you live, or may be prohibitively expensive because of shipping costs. I am sure that you will be able to find local alternatives that are just as good, or maybe even better.

It took me a lot of time to create a template with the right font, alignment, padding, etc. Now that I’m happy with it, it’s relatively straight-forward to make new pages. A future post will address the design in more detail and make the general template available for download.

 

The first page from my Curaçao collection. You can see that I’m still missing a couple of expensive stamps.

 

With pages this nice, it’s hard not to look at them every day.

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