The best way to store your growing stamp collection is to house it in a stamp album. A stamp album comes in varying thicknesses and formats, depending on your need. There are albums with blank pages, in which case you can design and lay out your collection yourself. There are others that are pre-printed to guide the collector as his collection grows. There are stamp albums that are sold per country, so you can separate your collection by the stamp issuing country. Here are some guides to help you choose a stamp album.
- Most stamp albums today are designed to hold stamps from one country or geographic region. If you intend to collect stamps from different countries, then a stamp album like this is a very ideal choice.
- To a beginner collector, it is a good choice to look for albums that come with pre-printed pages that show the image of stamp that will fit inside each slot. This type of album is arranged chronologically and all stamps that have been issued for certain years are pre-printed in the album pages to help you build a proper collection. Some even include catalog numbers to aid the collector in identifying the stamps.
- Choose an album with the best format for the type of stamps you are collecting. Stamps can be easily damaged and you have to be careful about the stamp album that you will buy. The paper stock should be thick enough to withstand the increase in number of stamps they would hold. The album leaves should be acid-free as other chemicals used in paper manufacturing can cause damage to the stamps.
- If you collect expensive mint stamps, they should be stored individually in stamp mounts. Some albums are designed to hold stamp mounts in facing pages. The mounts can become entangled when the album is opened. For albums like these you need to buy special plastic sheets that can be inserted between the pages.
- Choose a stamp album that is about two to three inches thick to hold more of your collection before you need to buy another one. There are some stamp albums that will allow you to add more blank pages.
- If you do not like to use pre-printed pages, you can make your own stamp album. Check the album leaves that are available. The standard is 8 ½” x 11” or 9” x 12” sheets. Look for a three-ring binder that will fit the standard album leaves. Some are blank with rows of transparent sleeves that will hold the stamps, while others have lightly printed grids to help a collector align the stamp display properly. In this case you can add as many album pages as can be accommodated by the three-ring binder. Make sure that you buy quality paper stock, made thick archival paper to hold up to the stress of additional stamps as well as the opening and closing of the album. Protect the stamps by inserting glassine interleaves in between the sheets. You should also add one on the inside front as well as the inside back covers of the binder.
Buy your albums in specialty stores that sell philately-related products. This will assure you that you are buying the right materials to house and protect your stamp collection.