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How to preserve and build a stamp collection

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Heaven and Hell - a stamp soaking experience

Heaven and Hell - a stamp soaking experienceAs I placed three-hundred-and-something stamps to my soak tub and poured some hot tap water on top of the stamps, I knew I was undertaking a challenge too big for a late night project.  When I finally reached the end of the soak and rinse operation, about two-and-half hours later (and way beyond my usual bed time), my brains felt lobotomized, my shoulders and neck were stiff, and I was hugely exhausted from repeating same movements non-stop for the past few hours.   However, at the same time I felt extremely happy and peaceful. Does this experience of heaven and hell at the same time feel familiar to you? And how did I end up to this state first place? ...(985 words,5 images, 9 comments)

The anatomy of 100,000 stamp stamp collection (or Is a completing a world collection possible, take 2)

The anatomy of 100,000 stamp stamp collection (or Is a completing a world collection possible, take 2)As I have now officially reached the 100,000 stamp landmark with my collection, I believe now is a good time to have a proper look of what a collection of this scale contains; and maybe more importantly what is missing and how it has grown since last indepth look. You can (and should) consider this entry as an independent sequel to Is a complete all-era worldwide stamp collection possible entry that I wrote way back in summer of 2009. Possibly the most important lesson I learned from doing this analysis is never to throw away old backups of anything, as I painfully realized that I no longer have accurate details of what my collection was alike in 50K stamps. Instead I had to use the landmark of 60K stamps as my comparison point.  But even with this minor beauty error, I think the results of this analysis do provide very interesting and unique perspective into anatomy of a stamp collection of this size. ...(1664 words,4 images, 19 comments)

Review of Edwin Delsing's 'Qualität von Briefmarken'

Review of Edwin Delsing's 'Qualität von Briefmarken'There are a lot of stamp books worth reading out there, and one of those is Edwin J.F. Delsing's 'Qualität von Briefmarken - Zur einstufung der erhaltung von Briefmarken' (roughly translated, 'Stamps and quality - advice on grading of stamps', published 2015). I acknowledge most non-German collectors will never read this 150-page book simply because the title is in German only. But I'm still going to educate you about it, because this is most likely the only (proper) scholarly study about different types of faults and damages on stamps, a topic that every collector should have proper working knowledge. ...(455 words,2 images, 6 comments)

A more scientific view on color variations and changelings

A more scientific view on color variations and changelingsEach time any of stamp collectors comes up with a color variation, there's a pretty good chance that at least one or few 'nay-sayers' will immediately stand up and say that it's not genuine, but a color changeling caused by exposure to light, heat, humidity, chemical or whatever. Though I agree that certain level of skepticism is only for the good, I do feel that labeling all color variations as environmental changelings (at least without proper explanation) is not a working option either. Though it would require a high-end science lab to prove what's actually happened, there's somewhat 'basic' and logical science behind the everyday phenomena that causes colors to fade and vary. ...(928 words,6 images, 6 comments)

Annotation techniques for stamp stock books

Annotation techniques for stamp stock booksDuring the holiday season, several stamp related chats had discussions about write-up techniques people use for their stamp collections. As I find the topic interesting, this post is entirely about how I currently annotate my worldwide stamp collection stored in 100+ stock books. ...(858 words,6 images, 23 comments)

How often do you view Your collection critically? And what actions do You take if You notice anything alerting?

How often do you view Your collection critically? And what actions do You take if You notice anything alerting? I was adding a bunch of Australian stamps to my collection yesterday, when I spotted something I did not like at all. One of the items already in my collection had developed a nasty looking spot. Now as regular readers of the blog might recall, I'm very much against stamps with rust, foxing or anything even remotely similar. So I made a very quick decision to bin the stamp in question and leave an empty spot to my stockbook. ...(229 words,1 images, 36 comments)

Keeping track of long and complex stamp series pt.2 - case of South African definitives of 1926/1954

Keeping track of long and complex stamp series pt.2 - case of South African definitives of 1926/1954It's been roughly two years since I shared some of my practices about keeping long and complex stamp series in order. As my techniques have matured a bit further, I think an update to the topic is well deserved. As a case example, I'm using the South African definitives of 1926/1954 that gave me hours of fun during the rainy summer days of June. ...(503 words,9 images, 3 comments)

What do You do with stamps that have foxing / rust?

What do You do with stamps that have foxing / rust? Foxing, rust, staining... The arch nemesis of stamp collectors has about as many names as forms. Though I try to be very picky with what I include into my stamp albums, every once and awhile I notice that some stamp in my collection has developed the dreaded red brown spots. Usually I just go sigh, and bin the stamp... But sometimes it's not so easy, especially if the stamp in question is not so common. My question is, what do You do with stamps that show any signs of foxing / rust? ...(579 words,2 images, 55 comments)

Mounting stamp collections digitally

Mounting stamp collections digitallyNot so long ago I started experimenting with something I'd describe as mounting collections digitally. In practice, it's very similar process to creating DIY stamp album pages, but there's one major exception: the pages are never printed on paper. They remain in digital format all the way, meaning that I even mount my stamps (or more precisely images of them) digitally too... Below is a small teaser how my collection of "Russian Empire era Finland" looks when done like this. ...(329 words,6 images, 53 comments)

How deep to go when building a stamp collection?

How deep to go when building a stamp collection? I'm a general worldwide collector, but I do love to dig in deeper too. My current approach in building "slightly specialized" country collections, as I pick up any easy-to-spot differences I happen to come across. And then I randomly do dig in a lot deeper (like with the Hungarian Castle-definitives or GRD 5-year plan definitives). ...(487 words,3 images, 16 comments)

Black versus white background on stock book pages

Black versus white background on stock book pagesOne of the most often discussed topics relating to stock books seems to be the question about page color. Visually speaking I do prefer black background as it makes the stamp stand out. But that said, I have few years back opted out of buying new black background page stock books due to quality issues. The problem can be best summed up by an photo. ...(347 words,1 images, 21 comments)

Breaking the mold

Breaking the moldAs some of my single country collections have lately reached over 50% completion level, I'm beginning to approach the situation where I have to start making some major decisions about the final storage and output of these collections. Should I continue to keep them on stockbook, or transfer them to pre-printed / DIY stamp album pages. The more I have thought about it, the more I believe I need to break the mold. Pick up the best of both worlds so to speak. ...(352 words,1 images, 15 comments)

Keeping a worldwide stamp collection in order

Keeping a worldwide stamp collection in orderWhat makes one way to keep a stamp collection in order better than other? IMHO absolutely nothing… I’ve seen collections ordered by shape of stamp, size of stamp, by colors etc. And against all the “official recommendation” odds, they do work and make their owner happy. That said, this post is about how I keep my worldwide collection in order. I know I’ve covered this topic briefly several times, but let’s digg a bit further this time. ...(555 words,3 images, 63 comments)

Keeping a stamp collection safe from dangers of natural surroundings

Keeping a stamp collection safe from dangers of natural surroundingsOne of the topics wished for last month’s survey was the question how I keep my collection. Let’s begin this journey with a topic that is IMO essential, but far too few discussed question – how to keep a stamp collection safe from dangers of natural surroundings. ...(587 words,2 images, 19 comments)

Storage for worldwide stamp collection (pt5) – Stock pages

Storage for worldwide stamp collection (pt5) – Stock pagesSo far, I have focused on "old school" methods for stamp collection storage on this series. Let us take a look of some of the new ("only" 50 years old) and intuitive ways. ...(350 words,1 images, 32 comments)

Storage for worldwide stamp collection (pt4) -Blank stamp album pages

Storage for worldwide stamp collection (pt4) -Blank stamp album pagesBlank album pages are...well, blank. Something a collector can fill anyway desired. The most common blank stamp album pages are not fully blank, but they have grid of grey dots as well as black page border. These are commonly known as quadrille album pages. ...(288 words,1 images, 3 comments)

Storage for worldwide stamp collection (pt3) - DIY stamp album pages

Storage for worldwide stamp collection (pt3) - DIY stamp album pagesMany stamp collectors will try and use DIY stamp album pages because they want to either save money, take part in exhibitions, or they are not happy with commercial offerings. Anyone wishing to enter the path of DIY album pages needs to make some long-term decision and be prepared to pay them accordingly. ...(691 words,2 images, 62 comments)

Storage for worldwide stamp collection (pt2) -pre-printed (commercial) stamp album pages

Storage for worldwide stamp collection (pt2) -pre-printed (commercial) stamp album pagesAs stamp album pages are a lengthy topic, I have decided to split this post to 3 parts. This first part covers pre-printed (commercial) album pages, the second will cover DIY (printable) album pages and third one will focus with blank pages. Let's begin with pre-printed (commercial) stamp album pages. ...(660 words,2 images, 12 comments)

Storage for worldwide stamp collection (pt1) - Stockbooks

Storage for worldwide stamp collection (pt1) - StockbooksAs said in previous post about my collection, stockbooks are my choice. In these, I place stamps side-by-side (loosely) in every other row (meaning I use 40-50% of maximum storage capacity); each page accommodates approx. 30 stamps. ...(306 words,1 images, 21 comments)

A matter of storage - this is how I try to keep my worldwide stamp collection in order

A matter of storage  - this is how I try to keep my worldwide stamp collection in orderMost collectors (of any kind) struggle with storage related questions. I know a lot can be said about this topic (and I will do so in next 4-5 upcoming posts), but IMO the photos below (of my “stamp room”) summarize the meaning and importance of (somewhat proper) storage. ...(302 words,6 images, 15 comments)

Q&A: stamp albums, stock books and other storage methods

Ask and discuss about stamp albums, stock books and other storage related issues. ...( 140 comments).

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