Stamp collecting tools
Philatelic supplies and stamp collector accessories guide
The hobby of philately or stamp collecting is more rewarding and fun when you have the left philatelic supplies and stamp accessories to help you.
There are no specific stamp collecting tools. However, a great majority of collectors use some helpful philatelic tools that are essential for making your stamp collecting hobby hassle-free as it also minimizes damage to your philatelic collections.
Most postage stamps enthusiasts like to invest in a few items for better stamp display and for preserving stamp value. The most basic postage stamp supplies are not only easy to use but are also inexpensive. You can start an exciting stamp collection without sacrificing your lunch money!
Here are some of the most commonly used philatelic accessories:
1.) Stamp tongs with rounded tips - to keep your postage stamps in tip top condition when you are handling them, you should use a stamp tweezers or tongs. Oil and sweat from your bare hands will damage and devalue your stamps. A pair of stamp tongs is perhaps one the must-have philately tools.
2.) Stamp magnifying glass - stamp magnifiers or a stamp loupe with at least 5 to 10 x magnifications can help you distinguish minute stamp details that are invisible to the naked eye. A trained philatelist can distinguish a stamp watermark by just using a stamp magnifying lens.
3.) Stamp perforation gauge - a perforation is a stamp part that is serrated to facilitate the stamp’s easy removal on a stamp sheet. Stamps have different perforation measurements and they are distinguished through the stamp perforation gauge or the odontometer.
4.) Stamp albums and stamp stock books - protect your postage stamps from humidity and direct sunlight by storing them in protective stamp album pages. Ideally, use a stamp album with an acid-free paper. Another alternative is to use stamp stock books. These are special albums with glassine paper or clear plastic pockets where you can insert the stamps inside.
5.) Stamp mounts and stamp hinges - when you attach your stamps on your stamp album, your will not just use ordinary tape or glue as this can damage them. You can use as stamp mount, a clear plastic sleeve where you can slip the stamps inside. Stamp hinges are small and adhesive strips of paper or plastic that is folded over to fix the stamps onto the philatelic album.
6.) Stamp catalogue - stamp reference books, or stamp catalogs, are quite handy for a newbie stamp collector. However, you do not have to buy these expensive stamp catalogues. You can borrow one from the local library and from other philatelists. Better yet, you can download an online stamp catalog from the internet.
7.) Stamp watermark detector - sometimes, the magnifying lens cannot distinguish the watermark when the stamp is already old. A stamp watermark tray and a watermark fluid are used to make the stamp’s watermark visible. Other stamp watermark detector tools such as an ultra-violet light can also be used. These philatelic accessories are very useful in identifying counterfeit stamps.
8.) Stamp color key - this is a stamp color guide for rare stamps with a scarce color variety. The stamps are placed along side the palette of colors on the stamp colour key to find its exact color match. This philatelic tool is very handy since there are over 200 stamp colors identified.
9.) Stamp starter pack - if you do not have the must-have philately supplies listed above, the best option is to invest in a basic stamp starter kit. A stamp beginner's kit includes a set of mint stamps, a stamp catalogue, a pocket-sized stamp magnifier, a pair of tweezers, a stamp stockbook, and a perforation gauge.
10.) Stamp software - the stamp collecting software is perhaps an indispensable philatelic tool for the modern day stamp collector. Free philatelic software can be downloaded through the internet. Stamp collector softwares are supplemented with philately references which you can upgrade online. If you want to sort out your collectible stamps systematically, you can use a stamp album software. To keep track of your growing postage stamp collection, upload a stamp inventory software in your computer. Stamp databases are also equipped with downloadable philately applications that you can print out or share in the web.
11.) Philatelic literature - aside from the stamp catalogue, there are other written materials about philately and these are: philatelic periodicals like stamp journals and philatelic society newsletters; and stamp collecting books and philatelic bibliographies. Reading postage stamp collecting books is the best way to gain knowledge on philately.