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Discussion about “ Q&A: stamp albums, stock books and other storage methods ”

  1. Jesus wrote:

    Hello Keijo,
    I am an Spanish collector and I like also the worldwide collection, but my basic problem is organisation. I have got a big accumulation of stamps and covers but I don’t know what I have neither where place . Can you help me a little? How is your organisation of stamps?
    My best wishes

  2. Keijo wrote:

    Hi Jesus,

    I don’t have any magic method or approach. I just simply sit down and sort what I have stamp by stamp.

    But these are some posts where I show how my collection is stored/built:
    1) A matter of storage
    2) Storage for worldwide stamp collection: stock books
    3) Keeping a stamp collection safe from dangers of natural surroundings

    Above all, give yourself time to work your way with the stmaps. If you have reached the “state of complete chaos”, then it will very likely take weeks, possibly months to get everything sorted out and stored properly.

  3. Ken Noyce wrote:


    I just found your web site. I am trying to find your free stamp inventory tool in this site.

    I have collected for over 35 years and only put all foreign in stack books and envelopes. I am looking for albums, but, the prices were ridiculous. Can you refer me to someone that may sell used albums? Your help will be appreciated. Thanks

  4. Keijo wrote:

    Hi Ken,

    re “free inventory tool”… It’s just an simple Excel spreadsheet with few pre-defined columns (with few dummy rows of sample data included, otherwise it’s empty). There is no separate download link/button for it, but I’ll email to anyone on request.

    As for prices of albums… I know they are ridiculous. You might want to check this small “price comparison” I did last year. If you want cheap storage, then I’d recommend usage of traditional stock books and forget everything else.

    As for sources of second hand albums… Try to locate a local source. Finding proper deals online is possible, but the postage costs usually eat out any savings You might get. Additionally, I would be extremely cautious when acquiring any kind of used albums from an unknown source. God knows where they have been and how well they have been kept…It is well acknowledged fact that used albums can transmit all kinds of problems (such as mold/mildew/fungus spores, high acidic enviroment etc. that all affect your collection).

  5. Seth wrote:

    Hi Keijo,
    I just had a browse through some of your articles and posts as I have a bit of quiet time to fill before sleep sitting in an empty house far from home in the Emirate of Ras al-Khaimah.

    I have a question: since you mentioned perfins (in connection with a stamp exchange), I have been giving them a bit of consideration. I would be interested to know what approach you take to 1) displaying them and 2) organising them?

    They certainly appear visually most striking when the stamp is placed faced down on a black background. I know you use white pages, but would this combo be your preferred option?

    In terms of organisation, it might be more interesting to put all perfins together so they could be easily compared. Are you also interested in trying to get all issue/perfin combinations? They seem an interesting area but slightly awkward in terms of my main collection organisation principals (i.e. region/issuing entity/chronology).


  6. Keijo wrote:

    Hi Seth,

    on part of perfins my collection is still ‘under construction’, but likely I’ll end up using a system very similar to what you described:

    1) using black background stock books
    2) placing stamps by country
    3) face down
    4) ordered by perfin initials (starting from A, ending to Z, followed by numbers, shapes etc)

    For stages 1&3 I have also considered about scanning the stamps, and placing a print out of perfin next to actual stamp. This method would allow display of both sides of stamp (and use of white background stock books). It would be very satisfying, but I fear it would be also extremely lengthy process.

    As for collecting every issue/perfin combination…For a while I did collect perfins like that, but when I had pages of similar perfins on different Machin values I gave up and focused on having just a single sample of each perfin (position). I do occasionally make exceptions – like when same perfin has been used on different era stamps.


  7. Seth wrote:

    Interesting…which one trumps then: a new stamp for your collection or a new perfin?

    Also once you have got your perfins, how do you identify them?


  8. Keijo wrote:


    Usually I’ll place new stamps in first place, and perfins on second place.

    As for identification, most of the time I have to rely on Googling various stamp related resources for information. I do know there are some (country specific) books/catalogues about perfins too.

  9. Charlie wrote:

    Keijo, I have recently come across some old stamp albums. 2 are from Regent and there are 4 others. Is there any source to learn if there might be a collector’s value in the albums themselves? I have no interest in parting with the stamps. Thanks and Happy Holidays.

  10. Keijo wrote:

    Hi Charlie,
    I’m not aware of any website dedicated to old stamp albums, but usually empty albums do come up occasionally in auctions. So possibly checking some (online & offline) auction result lists might be worth a shot.

  11. ekoforshow wrote:

    Hi Keijo, I just stumbled on your website and I must say well done. I have a question.

    I have been collecting stamps since 1979 and inherited my mums collection from the 1950s. Both collections suffered mishaps over time. Mine got stolen and dumped (thankfully I found it in a ditch after not too long) and my mums got forgotten in my grandfathers garage for 35 odd years till it got cleared after his death. The problem I have is some of the stamps have mould on them from their ordeal. I have tried soaking and wiping to various degrees of success (some just disintegrate and others may lose their pattern. I am wondering if you have any advise on how to rescue or get rid of mould on stamps.

    Thankfully I still have a collection that I am happy with (but many more stamps to rescue)

  12. Keijo wrote:

    Hi ekoforshow,

    If they are not extremely valuable stamps, I would simply destroy them ASAP. Dealing with moldy stamps can be problematic, and the issues (for both personal health and other stamps) are not simply worth it. IMO the fact that stamps disintegrate is somewhat alarming: either You are soaking them too long, or then the paper/fiber is severely damaged (due to poor storage or mold).

    If you want to try to salvage the stamps, your first step would be to make sure that the mold (including the spores) is / will become dead.

    Possibly the fastest and safest method for this would be to expose the entire album and stamps (page by page) to heavy germicidal UV Light (also known as Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation / UVGI). AFAIK there are some companies both in US and UK that provide this kind of service (but I have no knowledge of price levels). Germicidal UV Lights can be bought from specialized stores too, but if practicing a DIY solution, You MUST use proper protection (as this form of UV will cause blindness, cell damages etc if handled unproperly). This method does not remove mold marks though.

    Ozone treatment also kills molds, but it will also increase deterioration of stamp/paper itself. Thus I would not use it for stamps or anything made of paper. Use of ozone does not remove mold marks either.

    Bleech treatment is often recommended to kill mold and removes / weakens mold marks. Unfortunately it is not a stamp friendly method, as it will affect both the colors and fibers. If using bleeching agents, then a very mild mixture and short time exposure should be used. Personally I would not recommend bleeching as stamps will easily become “unnatural” (whiter than white, especially under UV-light), and bleaching will easily cause severe fiber damages to stamp paper.

    There are plenty of other agents (like Vinegar, Tea Tree oil) that can be used to handle moldy stamps, but AFAIK none of them doesn’t provide anything better than the above methods. The bottom line is that there is no real way to salvage the stamps. The best you can do is to masquerade some of the most visible damages, but even this will be a short term solution on it’s best.

  13. ekoforshow wrote:


    Thanks for your quick response. I am not aware of any that are valuable however some have sentimental value and I am happy to be in the situation to replace.

    I guess I was living in hope. I have been replacing a few at a time and am also in the good situation of having quite a few spares to swap when the situation arises.

    I guess moral support is what I was needing to destroy the worst cases. What I resolved to do in the mean time is to quarantine the mouldy ones until they can be replaced one or more at a time.

    Once again thanks for the timely response.

  14. Rick Young wrote:

    I can tell you how to purchase online ready made album pages at a VERY economical price, if you are interested. This way you can mount them if you prefer that to stock pages, but only print the pages that you want. You will need an ink jet or laser printer and will have to purchase slightly heavier stock paper (I use what we call “cover stock” in the US). You can purchase a binder, or do what I am doing, which is putting the pages in folder organizers so they can still stand up on my bookshelves.

  15. Keijo wrote:

    @Rick… You are likely talking about Stamp Albums Web (also known as Steiner pages). Here’s a link to review I wrote way back in Nov 2009.

    You will need an ink jet or laser printer

    If printing Your own pages, I’d be very careful what type of ink and printer to use. Both of these printing methods have ups and downs. For example several inkjet inks will bleed (both when wet, and when exposed to wet/moisture afterwards); especially any kind of “DIY” refill inks should be avoided IMHO… Laser prints on the other can cause transfers/reliefs to stamps under specific storage conditions (though in general they are much more safer to use than inkjet output).

    …album pages at a VERY economical price…

    Here’s a chart about the costs of different storage methods… As uncanny as it is, DIY stamp album pages are actually one of the most expensive methods for storing stamps.


  16. Patty Allison wrote:

    Hello again Keijo

    I read your summary about storage of worldwide stamps on stock pages and since I am basically starting fresh here. They sound like a good idea and would like to try them. I will be taking the stamps out of my old WW Albums and remounting them anyway. However I am fairly illiterate when it comes to the wheres and whats of stamp collecting supplies. If you could give me a clue as to where and what to buy that would be great.

    Thanks for your time and information I will relay the info on the double sided tape to my Dad. He did find an article on removing the self stick stamps from their backing. I was very disappointed when they made them self stick. I will try to scan the article and send it to you. It seems like a lot of trouble and may not work on all stamps

    Patty Allison

  17. Keijo wrote:

    @Patty… I’d recommend that You shop around a bit when looking for stamp supplies. There are plenty of online stores that sell stamp supplies, but also the prices (and delivery costs) vary a lot. It is worth noting that the prices of stock books are way lower in Europe than in US.

    When buying stock books, I usually focus on well known quality brands (such as Lighthouse or Lindner). Bottom line is that sparing a few bucks doesn’t get You anything good… Feature wise I prefer plain, 32 page stock books with white cardboard pages; the thicker ones has a tendency to break apart during years. If You live in area with high humitidy or lots of dust (like desert), then an additional protective slipcase is a must have… Here’s a link to Lighthouse online store with proper stock book selected.

    Re, self stick stamp… I’ve got a separate blog entry about unsoakables; with lots of alternative solutions discussed.

  18. Rick Young wrote:

    Yes, Keijo, I was referring to “Steiner pages” — why am I not surprised you aware of my source! :) Anyway, I use a high-end HP inkjet printer with 67 lb. (148 gm/mtr^2 cover stock per recommendations I found online from other collectors. I started this about a 3 years ago. I find that while it is a much bulkier way to store stamps than stock pages, etc., I love having the descriptions right next to where I am mounting the stamps, such as at what point in history inflation and deflation occurred in various countries, and the events that lead them to issue special commemoratives, etc.

    BTW, you have inspired me to do a detailed inventory, starting with my US collection. Lots of fun. :)

  19. Edward wrote:

    Trying to get my US/UN collection back in shape … it’s been years so I’ve been out of the loop – I had a couple of questions:
    Best way to store stamps – used Crystal Mounts before now see a lot of the precut mounts but they seem so expensive and rarely see an assortment packet … any suggestions/thoughts.
    Once I have the mounts any suggestions to applying them to the album page – licking the back gets messy.
    Instead of perforated stamps we now have self adhesive stamps – seems much harder to get just one stamp for mounting – are there any cutting tools to help me get one stamp off a sheet for mounting (scissors seem to be too rough for stamps)

  20. Keijo wrote:

    Hi Edward,

    Re, mounts… It depends very much on what continent You are on. In Europe Leuchtturm/Lighthouse, Hawid and Showguard mounts are popular as they have full back, deep black background and are otherwise of good quality. Very few use or want split-back mounts these days (for good reasons). But yes, they are expensive way to store stamps which is why a lot of people have moved to stock books or stock pages. If buying a bargain, please be aware that manufacturers make/push out several grades of their products. Mounts, stock books, stock pages etc. are available as “first class” items (usually sold with full list price), and as “second class” (slight defects allowed) items (usually with notable discount prices).

    About licking… That’s the way they are supposed to be used: lick & stick. But don’t wet them too much; especially with split-back mounts that has caused lots of damaged stamps as too much moisture will invade inside the mount.

    As for cutting… Get a good quality paper cutter / trimmer; personally I’d recommend Fiskars. With it you’ll always get straight edges on anything you’ll cut.

  21. Rick Young wrote:

    As long as we are talking about mounts, I received an odd-sounding response from a stamp retailer in Columbus. I notice that looking online for stamp hinges I did not find any peelable products. I used to use them (as I have mentioned I stopped collecting around 1970 and picked the hobby up again a few years ago). When I asked the dealer, he said the company that made truly peelable stamp hinges was bought out, but the acquiring company could not get the technology right, so one can no longer get peelable stamp hinges. Sounded CRAZY to me!!!

  22. Keijo wrote:

    @Rick… Those are the legendary “original Dennison hinges” (there’s a later version of Dennison hinges too that is nowhere close to peelable). As far as I know, the originals sell at insane prices eBay and alike.

    Not sure what’s the real cause for not producing such peelable hinges. One of the most spread out rumors is that some of the chemicals used in the original Dennison hinges are considered harmful to health nowadays. And yet so many collectors desire to lick them 😆

  23. Carol Ligda-Wong wrote:

    It is common practice with split-back mounts to slightly moisten just one edge, not the entire back.

  24. Kev Dalby wrote:

    I was wondering about storing a ‘specialisation’ as part of a larger collection.

    I intend to collect worldwide but with a particular focus on Germany I go to Germany a lot). I like the idea of your storage for the WW collection, (AF1,2 Eur 1,2,3 etc) and I intend to implement that myself, but cant decide about the Germany collection.

    a) Keep it separate
    b) just keep it as part of the Europe section
    c) maybe store it digitally (tho I have no idea how to go about this hehe)

    I know that it comes down to personal choice, but what are your thoughts?

    Also as an aside, I was wondering if you had entertained the idea of hosting a forum on this site to facilitate more discussion etc ?

  25. Keijo wrote:

    @Kev… Personally I would still include the German collection as part of Europe, but place it in totally separate stock books / albums.

    I can always subclass / number the stockbooks/albums to match my needs. For example:

    EU4 – German areas
    – EU4.1 States
    – EU4.1.1 Bavaria
    – EU4.1.2 Other states
    – EU4.2 Reich
    – EU4.2.2 Occupation issues of WW1
    – EU4.2.2 Occupation issues of WW2
    – EU4.3 BRD
    – EU4.3.1 Berlin
    – EU4.4 DDR
    – EU4.5 Re-united Germany

    But like you wrote… In the end, it’s Your collection & Your choice. Just give it some proper thought before rushing into things.

    Re, the question about establishing a forum in addition of blog… It’s a tempting idea (that would definitely help in keeping the discussion better organized). But I fear the (moderation) workload and (increased bandwidth & hardware) costs it might create. In the end, they might be much higher than I would be willing to put in just because of a hobby.

  26. Kev Dalby wrote:

    Ahh, good thinking re the Germany collection, makes perfect sense :)

    Re a possible forum, hardware/bandwith shouldnt be a problem as these things are usually hosted online anyway, all you would need to do is create a link from this blog to the forum.

    Moderation can sometimes be a pain, though 99% of the problems are usually solved by forcing people to register and be approved before they post..this eliminates most of the spammers.

    Anyway, it’s your site, it was just an idea :)

  27. Keijo wrote:

    @Kev… Actually I was thinking about creating the forum on the same server / space as the blog; thus I was worried about hitting some boundaries… But I’ll let this one “stew up” on back of my head at least few months before making any decisions.

  28. Rick Young wrote:

    All, I have a Statesman album that I put together around 40 years ago. I would like to keep the pages intact if possible. Not surprisingly to me now, many of the CTO’s I hinged are now sticking to the album pages because I did not soak off the gum. Any suggestion on how I might remove these stamps doing minimal damage. Unfortunately just pulling gently has not worked and I am tired of ruining them! Thanks!

  29. Keijo wrote:

    @Rick.. I fear there’s no easy way out of Your situation. At least I haven’t come up with anything truly useful.

    Personally I would simply place the entire pages (with stuck stamps) to soak in large bowl of hot water (stamp side down). Once the stamps have come off, pull the page up quickly, give it few minutes to dry on top of newspaper/towel, and then place it to press. Somewhat simple, fast and clean.

    Some alternatives…

    You can try to moisture only the stamps; a large sized brush is good for this. Gently peel off the stamps once the glue starts to give off (usually after at least 3-5 minutes). This method is slow and messy, and can create occasional thins if you are too hasty.

    Or, if you have no objections to use of chemicals… There’s a product called SuperSafe Stamp Lift Fluid. I’m not sure what it contains, but it works in pretty similar fashion to Bestine (and other solvents) that some collectors use with modern self-adhesives. It simply makes the gum “liquid”… Personally I would not use these (but it’s your collection).

  30. Rick Young wrote:

    I suppose I should have mentioned this in the original posting, but I tried the SuperSafe Stamp Lift Fluid and did not like the results. I actually made a mess of the page and it didn’t work all that well. So I am going to try your suggestion of soaking the entire page. Thanks, Keijo!

  31. Rick Young wrote:

    I used your suggestion for removing the stamps stuck to my album pages — worked like a charm!

  32. tikithindi wrote:

    Hi Keijo,

    I have couple of Question.. These are for sorting and ctaloging purpose. The Stamp is single Item.. within..Issuing Authority’s That Particular Issue..if it defers from original Issue differences could be in one area or multiple areas

    1. Should I makes note all of the differences on separate note and keep with Stamp.. IF in the Catalog mentioned then i could have Number otherwise.. ?

    2. separate single Stamp with Single Difference. again if no cat no.

    3. Should I keep these On the Same Section of Original Issue e.g. without Error or Flaws.
    Should Error,Flaws be considered Errors..? e.g. Reverse over print,Missing Over print, missing color etc. How would you Categorize this Varieties..?


  33. Keijo wrote:

    @Tikithindi… I think there’s no right or wrong way to do this. Everybody should use a method and classification they feel comfortable.

    Personally I try to keep the original as well as all the possible varieties as closely together as possible. Usually I have the original (major) version of the stamp first; followed by subtypes and varieties listed in catalogs; and finally I have the unlisted items. It might look a bit funny occasionally (especially with color varieties, but it makes the maintenance much easier). Separate notes (which I insert next to stamp in question)I make/ only if the item contains something special.

    @Fred… I definitely can’t imagine what any person could do with so much money. Maybe give most of it away for some good cause 💡

  34. Carol Ligda-Wong wrote:

    One of my earliest frustrations when I started collecting as a kid was that I could not find a spot in my album for many of the stamps in my collection. It was impossible to create a pretty, complete or accurate page under such conditions. I concluded early on that albums did not serve me well. I would have been much happier approaching collecting as you describe. Thanks Keijo.

  35. h w cratsley wrote:

    this is a very basic question. i am a teacher and as a project for the young students they are attaching stamps to small maps of the world. they frame these under glass as a hopefully long term keep0sake. i have noticed that last year’s stamps (under glass) have fallen off the paper. what kind of glue will last for a much longer time. the stamps themselves are obviously not valuable and will never need to be removed once attached. the maps are non-acid. thanks for any help/advice you can give me.

  36. Keijo wrote:

    @h w cratsley … I’d say that stamp hinges would work the best. As your aim is to fix stamps somewhat permanently, give the hinge a proper lick / moistening before attaching. This way they’ll be pretty guaranteed to stick throughout decades.

    Hinges are of very low cost (about 2$ per pouch of 1,000 hinges). Pretty much every stamp store should have them easily available, and likely even some bookstores / general hobby shops have them too.

  37. Carol Ligda-Wong wrote:

    @h w cratsley… I am from the USA where there are almost no stamp supply departments in stores, and philatelic shops are almost nonexistent. I tried googling “philatelic supplies [insert your country here].” I don’t know why, but my personal mail-order favorite, Subway Stamp Shop in Pennsylvania, was buried 20 links down. Sometimes dealers will sell a few supplies at stamp shows, but there are only a couple of local shows in my town a year. This is yet another indication of how elite/irrelevant this hobby is becoming.

  38. FRED MUGURUZA wrote:

    Carol…I agree 100%

  39. Keijo wrote:

    @Carol & Fred… Similar shift towards the online world has occurred in pretty much all specialized goods / merchandise (take for example bicycle parts, or photographic equipment). I’m not saying that it’s all for good, but it’s just a sign of times. Maintaining a traditional brick and mortar storefront can be bloody expensive; moving the business fully online can reduce fixed costs to large degree and attract a much wider audience… I don’t think/believe that none of the dealers love abandoning physical stores, but they’ve got to eat and pay the bills too 😆

  40. FRED MUGURUZA wrote:

    So, there we are…slaves of the modern technology, like it or not, good reasons as they are, the world of megabytes…but on the other hand…the melancholy realm of the frustrated, the uncertain, the uncanny…at the end, Keijo, Carol and me…good night!

  41. keith arbtin wrote:

    Just found your blog and am enjoying it. recently inherited a family collection in scott albums which i will be integrating with my own schaubek and yvert tellier albums. i have been looking tonight for a country index to the international postage stamp album vol 1 (blue) and have not been able to find one, suggestions?

  42. Keijo wrote:

    @Keith… I confess that I can’t help on this, but a couple of “serious” Big Blue collectors follow this blog, and I’m sure they will chime in with proper advice sooner or later 😆

  43. Dennis Buss wrote:

    Question: I recently purchased the Minkus Supreme Global Stamp album for the years 1850 to 1954. The Minkus albums are now published by Scott. However, the Global albums are organized using the old Minkus catalog system which is no longer in print. Do you know which current catalog system (Michel, SG, etc.) most resembles the order of stamps appearing in the Minkus Global album?

  44. Keijo wrote:

    @Dennis … I confess I’ve never seen Minkus catalogs except on photos, so I fear I can’t help on this one.

    As a rough guideline I can say that Michel follows chronological listing style somewhat further than the alternatives; for example long definitive sets don’t usually have consecutive number ranges, but they are split all across the catalog pages (after date/year of issue).

  45. mrprgrmr wrote:

    @Dennis – I have a smallish Minkus “New Global World Wide” album. I’m not sure about the numbering system of the individual stamps but the countries are mostly grouped by what European empire (Great Britain, France, etc) each country used to be part of. This is a always an interesting challenge to my history/geography knowledge and I’ve spent a lot of time searching for small countries in the album. I’m a little over halfway through compiling an alphabetical list of countries and which section they are in. Assuming the Suprem Global is the same, if you want a copy, I can email it or post it on Google Docs in a couple days.

  46. Dennis Buss wrote:

    Thanks for the offer regarding the Minkus country list — it will be interesting to compare it with the Supreme Global pages. There are some older Minkus world wide catalogs available from various used book sites. They range in price from $15 to $100 plus!! The Minkus WW catalogs from the 1950s and 60s were apparently published in two volumes. They might serve as a useful reference for the 1840-1954 Supreme Global pages.

    I would be interested in knowing if other collectors are familiar with the Minkus world catalogs and what they think of them.

  47. mrprgrmr wrote:

    The world according to the Minkus “New World Wide Stamp Album”:

    There may be some redundancy where there are multiple names for a country. That is somewhat intentional – I plan to keep a copy as a partially completed stamp finder and high level inventory. The page #’s are only relative as they are the page #’s from the original index and I have added more. My goal, of course, is to have at least one stamp from as many locations as possible.

    I started the list when I was trying to find if there was a section for some old Azerbaijan stamps and realized I was spending a lot of time trying to figure out what country every location was filed under. It turns out, there is no section for Azerbaijan, though there probably is in the larger Minkus albums.

  48. Cathleen wrote:

    Hi there!

    How do you set out to organize your WW stamps? I collect worldwide and am running into the problem of storing them in their final destination. I don’t know whether to dedicate one stock book per country (which would get expensive) or divide a book up with several small countries. Then I run into the issue if I run out of room for the one country of having to move it all. Any suggestions?


  49. Keijo wrote:

    @Cathleen… As long as you use stock books (with fixed pages), your options are pretty much there: dedicate a stock book to each country (which will get expensive), or split it with multiple countries (which will require moving around every once and awhile). Personally I follow the latter practise; more details on this page:

    Very few know, but (at least) DAVO provides so called loose-leaf stockbook pages. These are essentially regular stockbook pages with binder wholes; so You can build a custom stock book (with any number of pages, and add /remove pages when required etc)… The downside? For some bizarre reason, the cost per page is same / more as with quality stock pages (making it thus much more expensive option as regular stockbooks).

  50. Titus wrote:

    Hi Keijo,

    I have been following your blog (almost daily) for the past four months and I finally get the “courage” to write my first blog comment ever. Some congratulations are in order.

    I would like to start by telling you a little bit about me and my stamp collection. I am 42 year-old professional originally from Romania but leaving now in USA. I have been “collecting” stamps as a kid for about ten years and I stopped (without completely destroying my collection) when I was about 20. About six months ago, considering what interesting activities I should do with my 20-month son when he grows up, I thought about stamp collecting, as it enhances some qualities lacking in today’s youth: patience, organization and knowledge. Initially, I thought about collecting 10-20 stamps from each country in the world but then something amazing happen: I came across “The writings of Keijo Kortelainen”. (By the way, I love your blog because of the useful information, noncommercial presentation, and your enthusiasm about stamp collecting.) That encounter, and the timing of it, changed the original small-collection plan I had.

    After some deliberation and some soul searching I decided to go big and create a collection of 100 000 worldwide (mint and/or used) stamps within the next three to five years. That is easy to set as a goal but a little harder and more expensive to actually put in practice. So, to make it happen I start making some purchases. A collection of 100 thousands stamps needs a lot of stockbooks, which is the storage option I choose, so I order about one hundred 32-page, black-page stockbooks from Lighthouse. This purchase hurt for a few days but the pain is over now. In addition I bought, from various sources, about 140 thousands (mostly unorganized) stamps with a price tag of about $2500.

    Now comes the interesting and painful part of sorting and organizing the stamps. So far, I organized the African country collection in 14 stockbooks and the Sweden collection in 2 stockbooks. Inspired by your post on Hermes and Iris definitive series, I am working now on Greece.

    Being out of stamp collecting for over two decades, there are many questions I have, which I will post them in time on various pages of your blog, but for now I will start with questions about duplicates.

    You may have posted something about it before but I did not get to see it yet. As you can imagine, sorting through the big purchases I made, I will get lots of duplicates so I want to be able to organize them somehow. How many duplicates do you have and how do you keep them organized? What do you usually do with them? Sell them? Exchange them?

    Thanks very much.

  51. Keijo wrote:


    Welcome aboard. You made an excellent introduction with your first blog comment.

    A collection of 100 thousands stamps needs a lot of stockbooks, which is the storage option I choose, so I order about one hundred 32-page, black-page stockbooks from Lighthouse. This purchase hurt for a few days but the pain is over now. In addition I bought, from various sources, about 140 thousands (mostly unorganized) stamps with a price tag of about $2500.

    I must confess that I’m (more than a) bit jealous for you. You had the courage to put up some big $$$ on the table, and make the initial payments for both storage and stamps in one go. Most collectors (yours truly included) just dream of that. From now on Your collecting experience should be somewhat cost free (unless you start looking for completion and filling up spaces/sets); kudos to You :)

    I’ve had some issues with black-paged stockbooks, which is why I’m using white-page only for my collection. I so much hope that you will not face similar issues (just keep good care for your receipt, so if something turns up in later years, You could file for refund or similar).

    You may have posted something about it before but I did not get to see it yet. As you can imagine, sorting through the big purchases I made, I will get lots of duplicates so I want to be able to organize them somehow. How many duplicates do you have and how do you keep them organized? What do you usually do with them? Sell them? Exchange them?

    True, I’ve covered the topic already in earlier post / comments I’ve made. The essential tidbits (with images) of my approach can be found on these posts:

    Confessions of a hoarder and A matter of storage. Some other posts / comments may have some odd tidbits as well.

    There hasn’t been much change with my approach on this part. The good news is that I’ve definitely managed to get rid some of the duplicates- I think I’m around 50-60,000 duplicates any more. These should still give me more than enough resources for exchanges/trades etc.


  52. Titus wrote:

    Hi Keijo,

    I did not want to go in too many details in my first post but I always wanted to clarify the situation. Including stockbooks and stamps, my stamp investment (or better say expense) totals about $5,500 so far. That is a LOT of money for many people including myself. Actually the only other more expensive purchase I made in my life is buying the house we are leaving in right now. Somewhat close came a purchase of 2 round-trip airline tickets to Australia few years back. Even my two used cars I bought cost less than that. $5,500 is a high number if you look at it this way. What would you do with that kind of money? (Just a rhetorical question, no answers needed.)

    That being said, here is the other side. Every since I can remember I was a money saver. I always spend less money then I have, including as a child or student. That served me very well throughout my life. About ten years ago, when I started a real, decent-paying job, both my wife (who is herself working and has similar spending habits) and I got to start saving some “real” money. (That term is also relative.) It got to the point of needing to invest them somewhere. We started investing in the stock market in 2005-2008 time period. If you lived on earth the past few years, you probably know how that turned out for us. Essentially, when you lose a tone of money with nothing to show for, buying real objects (i.e., stamps) that one can touch, sort, look at and enjoy doesn’t look that bad. After this original big-money investment, I am trying to settle to a budget of $100/month, probably enough to get my collection growing at a desired rate of 10,000 stamps per year. Also, in 20 years of stamp collecting, I bet you spend more money than $5500. Am I right?

    As far as black versus white pages, I was aware of your posting when I made my decision. I second-guess myself a couple of time but stick to the original choice. I hope that I will not have the problem you encountered or that at least it will be on a small scale. I don’t have anything against white pages, and stockbooks are actually less expensive, but I really dislike glassine strips. So I went black which were the only Lighthouse stockbooks that had clear strips. The 32-page choice was, in part, based on your posting.

    As far as duplicates questions and response, I read your previous posting. I can see that you are not that organized in that respect but that you are not satisfied with the current situation either. Allow yourself to daydream for a little and tell me how would you want your duplicates to be organized, if at all possible? I am really trying to get a sense of how often you get to look for a particular stamp or series in your duplicates, either for exchange/trade or selling. I did not have that experience yet, and I would like to get a sense of need for organization in duplicates. My current approach is to have duplicates from each country in an envelope (or more) but I am considering, for countries that I envisioned many duplicates like Romania or USA or Canada, breaking down in envelopes per year or few years or decades. Would that be at all useful or just a waste of time? Remember that I just start organizing my collection so organizing the duplicates in the same time doesn’t seem to be that time consuming. As far as the number goes, 50-60,000 seems like the number I was prepared to deal with.

    Thanks again.

  53. Mark Dyck wrote:

    @Titus Great story! It brings back memories — I gave up golf when my son was born 16 years ago and rediscovered my stamp collection. I’ve never had the courage to “go big” like you did but it’s a great hobby to spend a few hours here and there.

  54. Keijo wrote:

    @Titus… Thanks for clarification.

    What would you do with that kind of money? (Just a rhetorical question, no answers needed.)

    This one is pretty easy to answer (as I do it every single month anyway): I’d shorten up our apartment mortgage.
    Not sexy, but practical.

    I am trying to settle to a budget of $100/month, probably enough to get my collection growing at a desired rate of 10,000 stamps per year.

    For $100/month you might get up to 30-50,000 new additions per year if buying wisely. Seriously. Of course, the closer to completion you reach, the harder it will get. I have a hunch that one should need to reach about 75-80% completion before hitting “serious issues” with finding enough new stamps from bulk lots / collections.

    Also, in 20 years of stamp collecting, I bet you spend more money than $5500. Am I right?

    My current stamp budget is roughly 300€/year, so if I keep my mileage steady, in 20 years I’ve spent about 6000€ on stamps & accessories (likely more on stockbooks and catalogs, than on stamps themself 😆 )

    So I went black which were the only Lighthouse stockbooks that had clear strips

    Too bad you didn’t check for Lindner or SAFE – both provide excellent stockbooks with white pages + crystal clear strips.

    Allow yourself to daydream for a little and tell me how would you want your duplicates to be organized, if at all possible?

    Seriously speaking, I see no point in keeping duplicates in order. They are excess “waste”… Yes, I do have some stuff that has been stuffed in envelopes/glassines (mostly of the same stamp/series in hundreds or thousands of copies), and those I will hopefully clear out some way in (near) future. But otherwise it’s all floating around happily the duplicates boxes, keeping my exchange/trade stock versatile and strong.

    If I was about to sell the good parts of my duplicates, then I’d definitely need to get them organized some way. Likely stock cards or similar would be the best option… But I would have it much easier by selling it all in one gigantic bulk lot, or splitting it down to smaller bulk lots (like 500-1,000 stamps).

  55. mrprgrmr wrote:


    Like yourself, I sort dups in envelopes by country. For countries such as the U.S., where I have many more duplicates, I sort by decade. I am considering switching to catalog based, with certain catalog # ranges per envelope to make it easier to find specific stamps. If stock cards were free, I would put individual stamps in stock cards by country and catalog number dealer style.

    All this sorting serves only a single practical purpose, so far. As I am mounting stamps, I keep going back to certain series of definitives that I initially did not sort the subtypes (e.g. coils, watermarks) and looking for variations. I might repeat the process someday if I buy a U.V. lamp.

    If I have more than 25 of a stamp, I stack them into a little “brick” of stamps which I wrap with a strip of paper and glue (with water based glue, in case overdo it a little and need to soak it apart). I write the catalog number and quantity on the paper strip. This serves little practical purpose; however, I do find it satisfying to turn an envelope full of stamps into a couple neat little cubes. There are some dealers who sell these as “bundleware” but I doubt they go for more than the same stamps in envelopes.

    I can see that sorting by country may someday also help when recouping a bit of my purchase costs if I were to sell/auction some country specific assortments. So far, this is just a theoretical advantage. Unless I was retired or unemployed, it might be hard to justify the time it requires to do this.

    Selling in larger quantity, as Keijo suggests, takes much less time and would not require extensive sorting. If you enjoy sorting stamps, as I do, don’t let anyone stop you. If you don’t enjoy it, the most rational thing is probably just to dump them in a bin and sell/trade them in bulk. There’s an idea – kiloware trading… I send you 1kg and you send me 1kg of random trash 😉 Other than postage costs, it could be fun.

  56. Titus wrote:

    Hi Keijo,

    Thanks for your response, you are a good man. You are probably right about being able to add 30-50,000 new stamps per year but I set out low expectations so I will be happy when I meet and probably exceed them. Also, maybe I will be able to add some quality not just quantity. Sometime later I will want you to give me some good techniques of “buying wisely” (especially when I am more interested in adding to the collection of a particular country) as I often feel that I really don’t do. Right now, I am still learning the hows and whens and whats and the rest. After gaining more experience I hope to be able to estimate what things are worth a little better. (Currently, all my purchases average 1.80 cents/stamp, which is probably higher than what an expert would do.) Also, after I get few more good and cheap buys under my belt, I will be able to reduce drastically the more expensive ones. I am very aware that I will do stupid things while I am building my collection but I hope that I don’t do very many (more) and that they will not be that costly. For the most part, I am pretty happy with the way collecting progressed so far, which is really the only thing that matters. Isn’t it?

  57. Keijo wrote:


    If I have more than 25 of a stamp, I stack them into a little “brick” of stamps which I wrap with a strip of paper and glue (with water based glue, in case overdo it a little and need to soak it apart). I write the catalog number and quantity on the paper strip. This serves little practical purpose; however, I do find it satisfying to turn an envelope full of stamps into a couple neat little cubes.

    I do bricks too :) Not so often as I’d like to, but occasionally. Instead of envelope, I have a “wooden box” that I put bricks into: row after row; brick after brick. Once full, I’d expect it to have around 200,000 stamps for someone’s pleasure 😆

    There’s an idea – kiloware trading… I send you 1kg and you send me 1kg of random trash Other than postage costs, it could be fun.

    Don’t tempt me… 😆 😆


    Also, maybe I will be able to add some quality not just quantity.

    I agree. Quality is definitely much more important than quantity. And trust me as I say that it is an neverending task – you can always improve/work up with the quality of items.

    For the most part, I am pretty happy with the way collecting progressed so far, which is really the only thing that matters. Isn’t it?

    Spot on :)

  58. Fred Muguruza wrote:

    Really guys…the idea of mrprgrmr about kiloware is burning in my head!…go on Keijo!

  59. Keijo wrote:

    @Fred… Actually I was thinking off-paper stamps, not kiloware 😯
    1kg off-paper = 10,000 stamps or so.

  60. Fred Muguruza wrote:

    Hmm…if so, it will be difficult for me to gather such amount off paper…but would be nice for those who can…sigh!

  61. Carol Ligda-Wong wrote:

    It is exciting to read about how far stamp collecting has come since my brother and I used to ride our bikes down to the local Post Office and dive into the trash bins around the P.O. Boxes in the hall to look for stamps on junk mail. I learned a new word today: bundleware. Also, I upgraded my personal glossary to include “kiloware on paper” as well as “kiloware off paper.” VERY important distinction!!

  62. Keijo wrote:


    Hmm…if so, it will be difficult for me to gather such amount off paper…but would be nice for those who can…sigh!

    I think the problem with bulk exchanges is not the amount of material (that is plenty, and very easy to get more if required)… The problem is that it would be very short lived operation, as sorting / going through such big lots takes a lot of time. I purchase 1 or 2 such large offpaper lots a year, and they keep me more than busy for the entire year. If I had more, then I would have no time for anything else.

    For the same reason, I very much doubt that anyone doing regular 9-17 dayjob could add their collection more than say 10-20,000 new items per year. There’s simply not enough time…


    It is exciting to read about how far stamp collecting has come since my brother and I used to ride our bikes down to the local Post Office and dive into the trash bins around the P.O. Boxes in the hall to look for stamps on junk mail.

    Hmm… This brings back good childhood memories. On my case it was a recycling of an very large car business next to our house. Found lots and lots of parcel pieces and mail around the globe :) These days you’d get lots of talk about health risks, fine for trespassing and god knows what if diving into recycling bin 😆

    It’s saddening how complex and insane the world has become 😐

  63. Titus wrote:

    @ Keijo, Fred, mrprgrmr
    I am still few months away from sorting through enough stamps to get 10,000 duplicates (as the current rate of maybe 500/week will probably not get faster unless I start sorting USA, Hungary, Romania, Israel or Poland) but I will definitely be interested in exchanging heavy numbers. The 10,000 might be a bit too much (as I purchased similar items for $100 or more) but a number like 5,000 seems much more reasonable to me.

  64. Keijo wrote:

    @Titus… Count me out for the time being (I simply don’t have the time to pick such large lot right now). That said, I think the largest lot sent to my exchange last year was 3,000+ stamps. That one took me more than one night to sort out 😆 Though there has not been upper limit on my open-for-all exchange scheme, I think I’ll add something this year (like 500 or 1.000 stamps per sending max) simply because smaller packages are easier to handle, the risks of having issues with international customs are smaller, and the risk of financial loss is also smaller if things go haywire.

    The beauty of small exchanges (anything between 100-500 stamps) is that you can quite easily rough sort everything of interest in single night (or as I did, up to 2-3 exchanges every night of the week :lol:). and wrap it up. With big lots, you just end up with stamps all around You for days/weeks/months (no matter how organized and skilled You are). ..

  65. Titus wrote:

    I am not talking about the “regular” stamp exchange that you describe on your blog. I think that is perfect and I am looking forward to sending you the duplicates I got while sorting through African countries just as soon as you open up the exchange again. (You will probability find some useful stuff there.) I am thinking more about “kiloware off paper” stuff with some (multiple) duplicates, mostly the excess “waste” or the “bricks” you were talking before. Also, once the exchange is made, the lot is yours to keep so you don’t have to sort thought it under the rush of time. Just an idea anyway, maybe nothing will come out of it.

  66. Keijo wrote:

    @Titus… I’ll let it brew, and let’s see what it comes out. Start of the year is usually busiest time at my work/profession, so I won’t have that much time for stamps. But the summer is pretty dead water (despite all the gardening me & my misses attempt to do)

  67. Keijo wrote:

    @Titus… Re, your latest comment… I’ve sent you email on this. Please check your inbox (or junkmail folder in case the message gets wiped).

  68. Jennifer wrote:

    Hello Keijo!

    I am looking for an archival book for a friend who collects stamps and was wondering if you knew of a good place for me to start. I just came across your blog and I thought with all of your expertise you may be a good resource! I live in Los Angeles but would be willing to buy something online that will preserve the stamps and look nice too. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated!




  69. Keijo wrote:

    @Jennifer… You might want to browse Lighthouse homepages for some time to pick something of Your interest. They are the leading manufacturer of various types of stamp albums; and their products can be found worldwide on book stores, stamp shops etc. places where you can buy stamp related accessories.

    Besides Lighthouse, there are other manufacturers (like Davo, Lindner) that also provide very extensive product ranges from simple stockbooks to fully illustrated albums (with/without mounts). Their products are bit harder to come by if shopping at non-collector stores; but they are equally good.

    In the end there’s very little difference between products by different makers; it’s more of a question of picking between apples and oranges. Some like one more than the other.

  70. claude wrote:

    i am planning of buying a world album to change my old one that is almost fill with half of blank page i am an intermediate collector. i was thinking of buying the olympian world album that come in a 4 volume set or the world 21 century that come in a 6 volume set but this one is a 3 post ring and i like better 2 post cause i have still a lot of blank page still. anyway what do you think about this 2 album are they good for old stamps or more on the recent syamps? thanks

  71. Keijo wrote:

    @Claude… Can’t really comment on specific (Olympian) album brand as I don’t have any experience of it. However, as a generalization I’d say that the more rings a binder has, the better it will stand against the challenges of time.

  72. Richard Huziak wrote:

    Hi Keijo!

    Firstly, thanks for your amazing webpage, articles and posts! I collect WW everything and I find your website an invaluable reference for getting everything in order. I have read your postings about getting the collection organized and now, after several starts and stops, I have abandoned albums and hinges, and am reorganizing into stockbooks so that I can move the stamps around as I find more variations.
    1) The best (used) stockbook I have for this is one with a “globe” on the front – latitude and longitude lines with 4 arrows out the sides — do know who’s brand this is?
    2) Even with stockbooks, I often run out of room in a section and have to shift all the stamps pages forward (I collect LOTs of variations including paper/printing differences sorted with UV, so I can have sometimes a dozen or more variations per stamp.) Rearranging stockbooks is still difficult, so … are there any “stockbook-like” pages available for 3-ring binders that have glassine retainers, instead of acetate retainers? (You can’t fluoresce through the acetate.)

    rick (Canada)

  73. Keijo wrote:

    @Canadian Rick…

    1) The best (used) stockbook I have for this is one with a “globe” on the front – latitude and longitude lines with 4 arrows out the sides — do know who’s brand this is?

    It’s possibly a Schaubek (they’ve used globe in their products)… Very heavy (extremely thick pages), but also solid as a rock ? I think I have one of those as well…

    are there any “stockbook-like” pages available for 3-ring binders that have glassine retainers, instead of acetate retainers? (You can’t fluoresce through the acetate.)

    If I recall properly, at least Davo should provide a product as such. But it’s not very price friendly (at least the last time I checked) – cost was somewhat the same as with regular stock pages.

  74. Jeremy wrote:


    I know that you favor stockbooks, and so may not have much experience or opinion on the matter, but I was wondering if you could discuss the relative merits of various stamp mounting and hinge products with regards to their archival quality. I’d like to choose a mounting system that minimizes stamp damage over the long term (30+ years!).

    Thanks in advance.

  75. Keijo wrote:


    IMHO both hinges and mounts CAN be archival friendly solution IF used properly. However, based on misc collections and accumulations I’ve seen, I’d say that many collectors fail on this.

    The first thing is how much moisture should be applied. What I’ve read, the proper way is to moist just a VERY SMALL area like this:
    Right and wrong way to use stamp hinges
    The more moisture you apply, the greater the risk of (long term) damages will be. This applies especially to mounts; I’ve seen way too many mint stamps that have been simply ruined by this.

    The other issue is what you use to moist… I know a lot of collectors simply lick hinges/mounts. About 99% saliva is water, but the rest is traces of organic matter (tea, coffee, food etc) as well as a huge mixture of bacteria. You don’t really have to be much of archivist specialist to figure out that it’s not going to be good for the paper on the long run.

    As well as mounts go, I think most modern stamp mounts are claimed to be archival safe. However, it does not appear to be as black and white. You might want to read and – they are pretty scary stuff.

    All in all, the most important thing for everything is controlling the environment where stamps and albums are stored. Even the best of products are not of assistance, if you can’t keep the factors (moisture, heat, amount of light) within safety limits.

  76. Seth wrote:

    This is going back a bit in blog history but I have been delving and #52 in Ask Anything Part 6 got me thinking!

    Peter’s question is interesting – whether to file foreign occupation issues with the country being occupied or with the country doing the occupying. This is also something I grapple with. A few years ago I took the decision to follow a geographical rather than historical/political system of organisation. This means for example that I see no reason in filing stamps from Ceylon and Sri Lanka in a different place, even though this is how they appear in my catalogue. That is a simple example though.

    In cases where smaller countries merge to form a larger entity, I again file them together. Where a country splits apart into separate entities, I then separate them. So for Yugoslavia, for example, I have put 19th and early 20th century issues of Serbia and Montenegro under Yugoslavia, while the separate countries formed since the early 1990s go off under their own alphabetically organised heading.

    For me this all has a certain logic, yet I can see it diverges somewhat from the convention of catalogues and guess the system that is more widely followed. Where I have started to seriously question whether what I am doing is ‘right’ is relation to my collection from Germany. Because of everything that went on there through the mid-19th to mid-20th century, I find Germany stamps particularly historically charged and interesting. By filing all of the German occupation stamps together, rather than within the geographic area they belong to, this helps to present the history and politics of what occurred.

    For the time being I have made a one-off exception for Germany, but perhaps in the end this will force me re-organise everything!!! Perhaps the answer to Peter’s question is, it depends what information we want to present with our collection. For some people that might be the colour red, images of cats, etc. If it is the history of the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, then keeping all those overprints together might be a good idea!

    I guess this is all obvious, but it is nice to share some of the conundrums I ponder as I sort through my collection and to see that other people maybe get hung up about similar things…

  77. Keijo wrote:

    @Seth… I agree, it depends. As uncanny as it may sound, this is one of those topics that me and my misses chat quite often when viewing the stockbooks. You would not believe how many times I’ve heard ‘why’s that there?’ 😆

    I can say that I’ve got accustomed to having a bit of mixed order. Though I usually follow the geographical order, I do make exceptions. For example the German occupations (during World War I+II) I usually keep in separate stock books, though if following pure geographical+chronological continuity Bohemia & Moravia should be placed with in Czechoslovakia, General Governement should be placed with Poland etc. On the other hand, the Nazi puppet state of Croatia (NDH), I’ve placed along a set of stock books covering Balkan region…. What matters to me is that it ‘feels right’, not whether it conforms some set of rules (or follows the catalog order). In the end it’s a bit like the world- imperfect, but functional.

  78. Ben wrote:

    Hey Keijo,

    What brand stock books do you primarily use? And do you buy with glassine or crystal clear strips? And lastly, where do buy them (online/offline)?


  79. Keijo wrote:


    What brand stock books do you primarily use

    A majority of my collection is housed in either Leuchtturm (known as Lighthouse in English speaking World), Lindner and Davo stock books.

    Out of these, I would say that Lindner stock books are of the highest quality. However, most of my stock books are by Leuchtturm / Lighthouse (because they are usually the cheapest).

    And do you buy with glassine or crystal clear strips?

    These days I go ALWAYS with white background pages+ glassine strips.

    I know this is against what majority of collectors are doing, but each black pages + transparent strips stockbook I’ve had, has failed over the years. The strips simply peel off leaving stamps in danger of falling out of pages. There is some discussion about this on various stamp related chats.

    And lastly, where do buy them (online/offline)?

    Where ever I get the best deal… Usually it’s a local re-tailer of NordFrim Ab (one of the largest stamp dealers in Northern Europe; they do deliver internationally too, see ).

  80. Ben Gagne wrote:

    Thanks so much for your response! I’ve appreciated all the help you have given me so far and love reading articles on this site!

    One last question related to the link your provided for me:

    What brand stock books are they selling because they don’t seem to go into detail with that? I want to make sure that that they are from the companies you had mentioned as being better quality (Lighthouse, Lindner, and Davo).



  81. Keijo wrote:

    @Ben… They sell (almost exclusively) Leuchtturm/Lighthouse products…. Once you are on the page, select Stock books category (from the top of left side pane), then further down on the page is an option “materials: white pages or black pages”. Check the white pages option, and voila. That said, there are several options within these.

    The ones with serial starting H4 or K4 are the “budget model”, likely made in China. Their cover looks and feels pretty plain, and they (usually) lack the logo of Leuchtturm/Lighthouse on spine. But these are still ok to use.

    Those with serial starting L4 look and feel a bit more classy. They (usually) have padded covers & they feature Leuchtturn/Lighthouse logo (as well as Made in Germany on the back). These are part of “Basic” brand.

    And finally there’s the “Comfort” brand of stock books. Again, these go one step further in quality ladder.

  82. Jen wrote:

    I have ordered a set of 1981 USPS commemorative stamps off ebay. They came with the black back mounts, are these archival safe? When did mounts become archival safe?

  83. Keijo wrote:

    @Jen… That’s pretty hard to say, as I’ve got no idea what brand they are. However, I’d be somewhat cautious with any mounts made pre 1990s.

  84. Chris Cannaday wrote:

    Well, like many others have confessed, I am getting back into working on my collection which I started when around 10 yrs old, messed with it again when my 2 sons were around 10 & 12, and now that they are married & gone, am trying to get back into it. Also, must confess to lurking & learning from all who have commented, and from Keijo’s ideas and responses. Thank you, sir, for taking the time to maintain this blog for us all!

    I collect only used US and use Mystic’s Heirloom Album, which is nice, as it has illustrations and Scott numbers for all issues. Here is my question for you all (Live near Atlanta,GA & am a bit southern): I am beginning to purchase some of the more expensive pre-1920 issues and dislike the idea of putting hinges that may not release on them…is it a total waste on hobby funds to use stamps mounts for a used collection? Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to introduce myself as well as pose my question. Thanks in advance for ya’ll’s opinions!

  85. Keijo wrote:

    @Chris… Happy to have you aboard with other the readers of blog :)

    Re, your question… It’s your collection, and IMHO it should be build the way you fancy. True, mounts are more expensive than hinges, but so what? If you can afford to spend some extra bucks on them, then go ahead.

  86. Chris Cannaday wrote:

    Keijo, thanks for your encouragement! I did some more research and price figuring after I posted this question and found that I could purchase mounts for the bulk of a US collection @ 6 cents (us) per stamp…which would be $300.00 (us) for 5000 issues. That seems pricey, but then, I do not have every stamp issued yet, so I can buy as I go. Also, as I am always looking to swap out average samples w/fine & very fine as I come across them, it is so much easier to do and less likely to damage the earlier sample. That in itself would be worth 6-9 cents per stamp, especially when facing the challenge of removing 100+ year old stamps that may be hinged with these new unforgiving hinges!! Plus, I have resisted putting any expensive issues, such as Columbians & Tran-Miss Expos, in my albums because I did not want to hinge them. My inclination with the already mounted, unneeded stamps would be to carefully cut thru the hinges, and then soak the stamps to remove the hinge pieces before I would be able to trade or sell them…all for stamps I no longer need! Using mounts would prevent extra stress, work, and possible damaged stamps in the future….now if I can just sell my wife on the idea… :)

  87. alan sequeira wrote:

    Hi Keijo,

    Belated Congratulations on the birth of your son!

    As I was reading these responses, I remembered something that has been bothering me. I have a stamp album for Portugal stamps and on or two for colonies. These were printed when Portugal had colonies, maybe in the 50’s or 60’s or even earlier. Now stamps have been mounted on spaces provided, with hinges. The original white album leaves of good material, are turnig off-white and maybe to a slight shade of brown. My query is, are the stamps in any danger? These are old stamps and removing them from the album may not be feasible. Please can you opine on this matter?

    Thanks and regards,


  88. Keijo wrote:


    Belated Congratulations on the birth of your son!

    Thanks :)

    My query is, are the stamps in any danger?

    It’s possible. Old papers can swing either way… If you want to be on the safe side, get your self a pH pen. The cheapest models (2-5$) simply tell you whether material is safe (neutral or alkaline) or not (acidic). The more expensive models (from 15-100$) do the same task, but add some digital bells and whistles.

  89. Tom Mould wrote:

    Hi Keijo,

    I’ve just started reading your blog really enjoyed it and learned a LOT from your discussions. If you have answered this question previously, I apologize…I have inherited two stamp albums (3 actually – 2 world and a US) from my Mother and Grandfather. The stamps are mounted (hinged) into their respective albums but I would like to consolidate and reorganize these albums. Some of the mounts are failing, and the world stamps need better organization due to scattered stamps and misidentified countries. I would like to reorganize the collection into stock books but my question is it it safe to remove the stamps and mounts and is there a safe procedure for this?


  90. Keijo wrote:


    I would like to reorganize the collection into stock books but my question is it it safe to remove the stamps and mounts and is there a safe procedure for this?

    Yes, it’s perfectly ok to remove the stamp from old mounts/hinges. And yes, there’s a proper way to do it (in addition of several extremely not so good methods).

    The first thing you must know, is that the following advice is ONLY for used stamps. Don’t try the below for mint/unused stamps (they have a somewhat different approach).

    Second, you should be aware of the types of hinges you are facing. Each hinge type has their own preferred method for separation.

    On best scenario, the stamps are mounted using ‘fully peelable hinges’ (Dennisson and few other brands used in the 1950/70s). The hinge is slightly transparent and usually bit greenish. The hinge comes off from the stamp without any kind of damage when you gently lift it off from the stamp… The removal process is very simple: gently lift/pull the stamps off from the hinges. Unfortunately hinges like these are no longer made (likely some substance was found unsafe).

    The most likely scenario is that the stamps are mounted with ‘generic brand hinges’ (just about any hinge from the mid 1970s onwards, and many of the older ones as well). The hinge is slightly transparent, usually a bit yellowish or bluish. When you try to lift the hinge off from the stamp, it does not come apart easily. Either the hinge or the stamp will damage if trying to pull them apart…. For removal you have three options.

    Option the first – get a very sharp knife, and then slide it gently between the stamp and page, and cut the hinge on two parts (one on stamp, one on page). Yes – you will have hinge remainders on the stamps, but so what? You can freely soak them off later (but there’s absolutely no need for that).

    Option the second – just place everything into tub of water and soak it like kiloware / onpaper stamps. As an added bonus, you get rid of possible dirt and residue on stamps.

    Option the third… If you want a nice ‘gizmo’, you could always buy a ‘stamp hinge remover’… It’s a handy pen-like tool, with sharp (in/out) blade on the one end + moisturizer on the other (just wipe the hinge residue few times, and lift if up with tweezers).

    On worst scenario, the stamps are mounted with destructive hinges (used especially before the 1950s)… The most common type of these are the very thick, (non-transparent) white hinges. They will not soak! Another harmful hinge type are the ‘oily hinges’ used in the 1940/50s… They will come off somewhat easily when soaking, but will leave an oily stain on the stamp… Any stamps mounted with these will be nothing more than spacefillers.

    And finally… If the hinge has been wet too much, and the entire stamp is stuck on the page… Well, simply cut the entire thing (page) off and give it a soak until the stamp(s) has come off.

    Hope this helps…


  91. Tom Mould wrote:

    Keijo – thank you so much for the advice. I may look into the “gizmo” as you can never have enough of those! The bad news is the majority of these stamps were hinged before 1950 (I’m guessing between 1920 – 1950) so I have a lot of work ahead of me. More bad news is there are a good number of unused stamps. Some are “popping off” on their own which is good, but what is the process for removing an unused stamp? You say this is a different approach?

    Thank you again – I am fast becoming a BIG fan of this blog!!

  92. ikeyPikey wrote:


    The problem I have is some of the stamps have mould on them from their ordeal. I have tried soaking and wiping to various degrees of success (some just disintegrate and others may lose their pattern. I am wondering if you have any advise on how to rescue or get rid of mould on stamps.

    Re moldy stamps, sentimental value only.

    Consider lamination. You can buy a small laminating machine, ‘blanks’ of various dimensions, and seal the stamps.

    Or you can buy a larger system, and seal whole album pages; in this case, be sure to include a small picture of your grandma in one corner.

    Lamination will protect your lungs, your other stamps, and that huge pile of banknotes you keep under your mattress.

    And you can always laminate the duplicates into luggage tags, and sell them on eBay!


  93. Keijo wrote:


    More bad news is there are a good number of unused stamps. Some are “popping off” on their own which is good, but what is the process for removing an unused stamp? You say this is a different approach?

    With unused stamps, you are ALWAYS best by cutting the hinge with a knife/blade. Do not try to take it off from the stamp.

    The reasoning for this is three fold…

    First, the stamp is already MH (mint hinged). You can’t turn back time and make it MNH (mint never hinged). So removing the hinge would be ‘no gain’ effort valuewise.

    Secondly, with mint stamps, the changes of damaging the item itself (especially by causing a thin) are VERY high. It’s not only the hinge that is attached to stamp; it’s also the stamps original gum that is attached to hinge. Pulling the hinge off from mint stamp equals to pulling the stamp off from envelope/cover/postcard. It simply will not happen (especially if the hinge has been applied with heavy/excessive moisture).

    Third… All collectors hate items that have multiple hinge residues on the back. If you cut the (original) hinge nicely, it can be re-used several times making the item more ‘attractive’ for future collectors.

    Finally, if you still want to get rid of the hinge remainders on mint stamps, then you are best by cutting the hinge, and then placing the stamp into so called ‘sweat box’. This is a tiny utility, that exposes stamp to high air humidity, which in turn softens the gum on the stamp + hinge, and allows you to remove the hinge remainders (or stamps attached to each other) with minimum damage. Most dealers sell sweatboxes for US$7-10 (or you can build one yourself for few bucks)… The downside is that it’s somewhat slow process (requires that a stamp is at least 20-30 minutes inside the box).

    I am fast becoming a BIG fan of this blog!!

    That’s great news :) In the end this blog is about collectors helping others collectors + sharing knowledge. You can never have too many resources as such.


  94. Keijo wrote:


    Consider lamination. You can buy a small laminating machine, ‘blanks’ of various dimensions, and seal the stamps….And you can always laminate the duplicates into luggage tags, and sell them on eBay!

    Never thought of that 😆

  95. ZM wrote:

    Hi Keijo!

    I was wondering if you could help me. I usually store my stamps in Vario stamp sheets. However, I am finding them to be very expensive these days.

    Do you know of any methods to store stamps that doesnt cost alot?

    I would really appreciate it.

    Thank you for your time.


  96. Keijo wrote:

    @ZM… Here’s an entry I wrote few years back about the costs of various storage methods. All in all, don’t take the numbers and charts I represent on the page without a grain of salt, as the reality might be a bit different depending where you live. All my data is based on situation here in Northern Europe; pricing of products in other parts of the world CAN (and usually is) different.

  97. Dennis Buss wrote:

    Hello Keijo,I have several traditional pre-printed commercial stamp albums, some with slipcases and some without. In addition, I have many stock books without slipcases. Is it essential to protect the album/stockbook and stamps by housing the binder in a slipcase? What are the dangers, if any, of having an “exposed” album? I live in California where the climate is mostly dry, even in the winter when it rains the sunshine quickly returns drying things out. Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this matter.

    (P.S. I am not quite sure how to pose a new question on your website so I am using the “Leave a new response” option.)

  98. Keijo wrote:

    @Dennis… No, it’s not required but it may have some advantages. It’s not only about protecting against moisture, but more about providing additional shelter from temperature and relative humidity changes, light, dust and other air pollutants (such as gases and particles created by traffic, industry etc in big cities). Adding an slipcase is just “one more wall” against all these. But basically, if you already keep the stamps inside a cabinet or similar, you should be doing just fine.

    PS. Hitting the “Leave new response” is the proper way to ask questions and share thoughts here. And if you can’t find a proper page/topic for your message, just write it somewhere and I’ll relocate the message under proper entity.


  99. Graham Leonard wrote:

    I’ve read your blog posts about how you arrange your collection, but I was curious about what you do with your large items (blocks of stamps, souvenir sheets, etc.). Do you put them in stock sheets or do you put them in the same stockbooks as the rest of your stamps?

  100. Keijo wrote:

    @Graham… They’re all in the same stock book, as I can’t see any extra benefit from using separate stock pages. I know some worry about them falling over, but that’s not an issue if any care is put into how books are filled and handled.

    Stamp stockbook page with m/s

  101. Karen wrote:

    Decided to do something with my old stamp book and reorganize and catalog my stamps.  I have 2 questions!

    1) what is the best way to store the stamps?  I have read about both using the ones where you slip them into a plastic cover, using the stock book albums (not sure if that is the right name) as well as using paper stock (would this involve using those annoying little sticky hinge things to attach?).  Which is the preferred method?

    2) is there an online site where you can catalog your stamps?  (ie like where i have my coins recorded; also have a book as well, just in case!)


  102. Keijo wrote:

    Hi Karen,

    1) what is the best way to store the stamps? I have read about both using the ones where you slip them into a plastic cover, using the stock book albums (not sure if that is the right name) as well as using paper stock (would this involve using those annoying little sticky hinge things to attach?). Which is the preferred method?

    Basically it’s a matter of personal taste / preferences. I’m very much into stock books, but if your collecting area is bit more limited (meaning you don’t have to spend ridiculous sums into storage alone), then I’d choose stock pages as they provide more flexibility.

    Anyway, I’d recommend reading these posts about the ins & outs of each storage system, as well as the costs associated. Don’t be afraid to ask more details if in doubt.

    2) is there an online site where you can catalog your stamps? (ie like where i have my coins recorded; also have a book as well, just in case!)

    A number of them actually. All the major stamp catalog publishers (Michel, Scott, Stanley Gibbons, Yvert & Tellier) have got their own acts. Then there are community sites (such as Colnect, Catawiki, StampWorld etc). And finally, there are inventory applications (StampMate, ezStamps etc). But… None match the traditional printed catalog. And some are insanely pricey (you can get yourself a set of print catalogs for the same money that you spend on one year subscription).

    There’s quite many articles and discussion about the various stamp software alternatives here.

    Again, don’t be afraid to ask further advice / questions.

    Hope this gets you going.


  103. Daniel Ptashny wrote:

    Hi Keijo,

    You mentioned that stockbooks cost about €0.30 per page (€9.60 or $10.88 for a 32-page stockbook). However, the best deal I was able to find in America is $16 (€14.12) for a 32-page stockbook. That comes out to $0.50 (€0.44) per page. 

    Are stamp supplies really cheap in Europe, really expensive in the US, or am I missing something altogether?


  104. Keijo wrote:


    Are stamp supplies really cheap in Europe, really expensive in the US, or am I missing something altogether?

    Likely it’s a combination of both. Stock book prices have gone down a lot in past decade, and I really hope they remain this way.

    For example the mail order company where I buy most of my accessories sells standard 32 black page Lighthouse stock book (LS 4/16) all the time for about 11.50€; a factory box(with 10 books) goes for 100€. Personally I buy the white page version (L4/16); single unit price is 10€, and a factory box is 92.50 (9.25€/book).

    On the other hand, stock pages here cost more than in US or Australia. But binders such as Vario G’s are cheaper. Go figure what’s the economy in all of this…

  105. Daniel Ptashny wrote:

    Hi Keijo,

    Interesting – so your price comparison wouldn’t work for the US. I know stock pages are really cheap here (as you said), so that might be the best option for the American collection.

  106. Keijo wrote:


    I would not go out and say that the comparison results would not necessarily apply to US. It really comes down to where you’re buying your accessories and at what price. If you’re buying from bad source, then the results might be totally different… All in all I don’t know the US retailer markets well enough to say that I would know where to get stamp accessories at cheapest prices. The Scandinavian/North European retailers are a totally different thing 😉

    The main point of the entire article series is to make people think/realize how much money they could save, and do some background research before they commit to some storage methods and start buying the accessories. As simple as that.

  107. Jeannine wrote:

    Hi Keijo

    Very interesting blog! I am trying to locate the manufacturer of the supersafe stamp albums to ask for the archival details of the black paper, and I cannot find any details for them. Do you by any chance know who manufactures them in the Netherlands?


  108. Keijo wrote:

    @Jeannine… Sorry. Don’t have any information about that. If you ask your local reseller the question, he/she might be able to provide you with an answer.

    I’ve always thought SuperSafe to be an ‘export brand’ of some bigger Dutch manufacturers (Davo, Prinz, Importa), but it’s possible that I’m all wrong. All in all I haven’t seen SuperSafe stockbooks much outside UK and US.

  109. Gerben van Gelder wrote:

    Hey Keijo/Jeannine

    I think Supersafe is a brand name from a US manufacturer called Vidiforms. Here’s the site:

    Regards Gerben

  110. Keijo wrote:

    @Gerben… That is excellent information :)

  111. Ray wrote:

    Hi.   I have recently finished repacing my GB Windsor albims with the printed Windsor “Elite” ones.  I am a little confused, or am I missing something?    For example in the QV issues there are spaces for plate number variations  of a particular SG Number.  But first there is also a space for that SG number not showing a plate reference…. what goes in there, or was that stamp issued without a plate number?  Confused. Any help please.

  112. Keijo wrote:


    what goes in there, or was that stamp issued without a plate number?

    If you check the catalog pages, it should give you an definitive answer.

    I think the top spot is the ‘generic’ placeholder for any plate/specimen you wish to highlight, and the remaining spaces are there to cash….err, make specialist happy.


  113. Mike wrote:



    How do you store and keep track of your duplicate stamps?




  114. Keijo wrote:

    @Mike… The storage part is easy: I just throw them into a box. Or more precisely I’ve got a a bunch of plastic icecream boxes with various labels such as ‘CTO’, ‘Old definitives used’, ‘Modern definitives used’, ‘Old commems used’, ‘Modern commems used’,etc. Each box has the capacity to store ~10-30,000 stamps. If a box gets full, then I simply add a new one…. At one point I tried to add also geographic level (Europe,Africa, Americas etc) but it proved too much work/complexity. Below is a partial pic from my most recent CTO-box.

    CTO-box #3

    The tracking part…. I don’t even try it. If I ever need to find something, then I simply open up a box and start digging and hope for the best 😉 In the end, 99% of these are cheap bulk (catalog value less than $1-2), so they are definitely not worth tracking individually.

    When you’re talking about a large number of duplicates (as I have), any other storage and tracking method would be simply unsustainable (spacewise, financially, timewise etc) IMHO.


  115. Mike wrote:



    Thanks for the quick response.  One more question.  What do you do with the stamps that are more valuable. Say those worth $5 and up?

    Really enjoying the info on your site.



  116. Keijo wrote:

    @Mike… Into a box they go as well 😉
    (and no, I haven’t lost my mind… If I was selling my duplicates actively, then I might do otherwise. But as I do swaps/trades instead, the current approach simply works much better. You loose some, you get some.).


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