Handle Your Stamps Like a Pro – Stamp Tools and Their Uses
Stamp collecting is one of the most stimulating and enjoyable hobbies in the world. And though it may not seem as exciting as most people picture it to be, there is a quiet, and almost otherworldly exhilaration and satisfaction to be gained from such a collection.
And while many hobbies require very expensive equipment, stamp collecting requires inexpensive and readily available equipment to enjoy. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to set up you collection, not to mention straightforward and engaging.
Stamps have a certain amount of history and culture attached to them, and that makes them so fascinating to collect. You are brought face to face with different cultures and different time periods. Browsing though a stamp album is pretty much like browsing through history itself.
If you are serious about starting and maintaining a good stamp collection, you cannot be without the following tools.
Stamp Tongs – Stamp tongs are specially designed tools that look like tweezers. That given, you may be tempted to ask whether tweezers would do instead. The answer to that is a resounding “No!” Stamp tongs are built with blunt edges as opposed to the angular, sharp edges tweezers have. Tongs are especially designed to pick up and handle stamps so they do not damage or mark them in the process. Stamps, although they used in heavy duty postal service, are actually sensitive artifacts.
If you are tempted to handle your stamps with your bare hands, for goodness’ sakes, don’t. This would only increase the chances that you damage your stamps. And, of course, damaged stamps are a tragedy to any serious collector, especially if it is a rare one.
Magnifying Glass – These optical instruments help you examine your mini treasures up close and personal. Stamps tend to be tiny, and even the larger ones have text that is hard to decipher. A good set of magnifying tools can help you spot damage, tears, and detail of stamps. Being able to examine your stamps up close is important as the value of your stamps is dependent on their condition, however, miniscule they may be.
Transparent Envelopes – If you are looking for transit storage for your stamps – a place to put them before mounting them in your collection, glassine envelopes are the way to go. Avoid using paper envelopes as they have a high acid content that could very well damage your stamps. These envelopes also make a great container when mailing or giving stamps to other people.
Perforation Gauge – perforation gauges help collectors count how many perforations a stamp has per 2-cms. Perforations are those jaggy semicircle holes at the sides of your stamps that are formed when the stamps are separated from each other. Perforations are another feature that an avid stamp collector should pay attention to.
Watermark Detector – this is very handy in viewing hidden, embossed or imprinted patterns that stamps may or may not have. It is interesting to note that some stamps may seem similar, but upon closer inspection will reveal that they have different watermarks. Being a serious stamp collector means you have to pay attention to even minute details.
Stamp Albums – this is where you store your stamps and should be the centerpiece among your tools. A good stamp album protects your stamps against chemicals, the elements, dust and dirt. This is probably the piece of equipment you will want to invest a better deal of money in. Shop around and compare products well before choosing a stamp album for purchase.
As said earlier these equipment are pretty inexpensive – the only thing you will have to spend a substantial amount of money in is your stamp album. But even the stamp album shouldn’t really hurt the pockets of even a grade school student. Collecting stamps, on the other hand, may or may not be expensive to acquire depending on your collection methods.
The great thing about stamp collecting though is that you can start cheap and gradually build up a goodly sized and valued collection.
Back to tools, if you are looking for a convenient means to purchasing these tools, you may want to consider purchasing complete stamp collectors kits. This would be a good gift to kids or other people wanting to start a stamp collection.