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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : Initial Sorting of Stamps

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shantige
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10 Feb 2017
11:07:12pm
I'm sure this is straight-forward but I'm having a hard time organizing my stamps as I gather new ones.

For example, I am currently collecting Canadian stamps. I took the first few that I had and put them into my starter album. I labeled envelopes with the stamp numbers and placed the duplicates in there to keep them all organized. I continue to purchase "new" stamps in bulk. I am soaking them off, identifying each stamp as I go and placing them in envelopes if I don't need them in my album.

Is this the way others go about it? It seems like an awful lot of effort to sort through theses piles of stamps only to find that I am not actually adding very many to my album. Is there a smarter/faster way to get this accomplished? Should I actually be sorting and cataloging the duplicates? I was originally thinking yes so trading would be straight forward but now I'm not sure.

Any suggestions would be helpful.


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michael78651
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10 Feb 2017
11:29:16pm
re: Initial Sorting of Stamps

Quote:

"It seems like an awful lot of effort to sort through theses piles of stamps only to find that I am not actually adding very many to my album."



Welcome to stamp collecting! You are not the only one in the row boat.

Quote:

"Is there a smarter/faster way to get this accomplished?"



Hire people to do the job for you, or coerce your grandkids to help you. If you don't have grandkids, adopt a few. Promise them that they can have some of the duplicates to start their own collection. What better way to wet the appetite of a potential future collector?

Quote:

"Should I actually be sorting and cataloging the duplicates? I was originally thinking yes so trading would be straight forward but now I'm not sure.
"



Good idea. Better to do it now that you have everything processing, rather than just dump the stamps into an envelope and then have to repeat it all over again with the stamps you already worked through, UNLESS you intend to simply bulk the stamps out to someone else in a large lot. Just make sure to remove the damaged stamps and send them to the Holocaust Project.
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Madbaker
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10 Feb 2017
11:36:38pm
re: Initial Sorting of Stamps

Hi shantige,,

Michael gave some good advice. My only addition would be to expand on his point about duplicates. I tend to keep a rather poor handle on my duplicates, but I always try to keep them so I can find them again.

In my case that means my Canada goes into Manila stock pages, sorted by year and set within the year. When I trade I find people like the modern Canada commems so it's easy to pull an all-different packet together this way.

My worldwide duplicates tend to go into glassine envelopes by country, but I try not to let the envelopes get too full. Sorting through 50 stamps is much easier than 500!

But we all think differently, so go with what feels right to you. Maybe sorting by decade is close enough for you.

I read an article once that said the #1 thing is to have a system whereby you can tell unequivocally whether or not you need a stamp coming into the system, and once it's for sure a duplicate, organize so you can quickly get rid of them (so you can get more new stamps coming into the system!). Makes sense to me. Happy

Mark

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TuskenRaider
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11 Feb 2017
10:45:05am
re: Initial Sorting of Stamps

Hi shantige;

Here is how I keep track of stamps that are in my collection.

I use an older Scott's catalog, to keep track of the ones in my collection. The newer color versions do not take pencil marks well.

* I use a Pentel .5mm with HB leads.

* I make a line under the Scott catalog number to show that I have it.

* I mark the price either used or unused, with a circle around the value to indicate a good copy

* I use a half circle to show that it is mint hinged or other minor flaws.

* I use an underline below the value to indicate that the stamps is damaged and is a space filler only.

These markings are rather small, and to make them easier to see I need them to be very dark, yet erasable, so I use a softer lead "HB".

When sorting stamps I can see at a glance 1) if I have the stamp, and 2) what is the condition. I then can decide to check if I want to replace with a better copy, or the stamp is just another duplicate.

Many other collectors use similar methods as this to keep track of what they have, and it is simpler and faster than using a spreadsheet or other stamp recording software. Some use hi-lighters or sharpies, but these can not be erased.

Glassines are a good way to organize, until you get ready to trade, then stock books with multiple pockets may work better, and allow you to more quickly see what you have available.

Just sortin'....
TuskenRaider

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shantige
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11 Feb 2017
07:29:11pm
re: Initial Sorting of Stamps

Thanks very much for the feedback. I think I'll spend some time playing with the suggestions until I can come up with my own system that works.

Any further suggestions are certainly welcome. I'm guessing there's countless ways out there.Happy

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michael78651
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11 Feb 2017
10:08:47pm
re: Initial Sorting of Stamps

One other suggestion: do not write on the back of the stamps.

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joshtanski
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12 Feb 2017
08:16:59am
re: Initial Sorting of Stamps

I personally sort duplicates and all the countries I do not have albums for into 102 cards and use the red storage boxes they make for the cards.

Josh

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shantige
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14 Feb 2017
09:27:27pm
re: Initial Sorting of Stamps

I think I like the idea of the 102 cards and the storage box. I might give that one a whirl.

Of course, any further ideas anyone would like to share would be great. I certainly enjoy hearing everyone's thoughts on the subject. Happy

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michael78651
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14 Feb 2017
11:09:47pm
re: Initial Sorting of Stamps

I also sort the way Josh does.

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malcolm197
26 Feb 2017
03:59:28pm
re: Initial Sorting of Stamps

The secret is not to keep repeat sorting.

I am a worldwide collector and I have hundreds of envelopes of part sorted stamps from bulk lots - I am trying not to buy any more until I have finished sorting the ones I have.

I use junk mail envelopes and (empty !) shoe boxes. The envelopes are folded to fit the shoe boxes and the tops cut open - before I put any stamps in them !! ( to prevent accidental damage to the stamps).

I have my own filing system. Basically one larger envelope contains several more smaller envelopes of different but related material,so that any new or relocated stuff gets put with other similar. Only work on one envelope at a time, and duplicates are put in a similar set of envelopes in different shoeboxes.

The worst thing you can do is get a pile of stamps, sort them roughly, extract the ones you want to work on and bung the rest back into one envelope. Always put the roughly sorted ones in seperate envelopes by your selected criteria - so that next time you don't have to do the initial sorting by country or period or issue or whatever again.

I know what I mean but I am not sure that you will!-explanations are not my strong point. I guess that most collectors of disparate material and purchasers of bulk lots do similar although the details may differ.

Malcolm

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Benque
26 Feb 2017
05:28:10pm
re: Initial Sorting of Stamps

This is a fascinating topic for me, and a subject which has been most frustrating over many, many years.
Finally, after witnessing the power of database programs, I decided to create one which would solve not only the sorting and storage issues, but also provide me with custom digital album pages in a format similar to those I see displayed throughout the forums here.
To that end, I have worked hard at developing the search and sort attributes,
but am putting graphics display and user-friendliness at the top of the list.
Each stamp is scanned and entered into the database. Of any particular stamp, duplicates can be quickly viewed and selected for album inclusion. Selection of a newly entered stamp for instance, will de-select the previous one selected for the album...providing, of course, that I purposely do so.
In relying upon the database to view and present my collection, I need not worry about physical albums. I simply place each stamp in a 102 card by set, and place the card in glassine envelopes by country, then into breathable plastic containers which are the right size for the glassines...like a shoe box. Unless I am adding or removing a stamp, I need never disturb the storage. No more mounts, or hinges, or painstaking creation of pages, one at a time.
I can create an album by country, or by date of issue, or by topic/theme, or any number of criteria I code into the sarch/sort functions. The same stamp can be in any number of digital albums, while still safely stored away.
I am still working on the "place and space" code for the album creation, but can currently display album selected stamps by set.
There is also a zoom function for viewing any stamp full-screen, and a function to open my graphics-editor program with any stamp image, directly from the user interface.
It is an ongoing labor of love, which evolves as I learn more about all the fascinations of collecting, and as my programming skills (self-taught) expand.
Here are a few screen-shots. Please excuse the fact that I have not yet spent much time on presentation for use by others, as I am concentrating on adding my stamps, and writing the code for the most difficult parts. Therefore I have not yet added stamp information to the set display form, and the numbers you see in the screen shot are actually
inventory numbers, which tell the program what to display.
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I hope the images are clear enough to convey what I have described above.


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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
28 Feb 2017
01:06:44am
re: Initial Sorting of Stamps

" ... I know what I mean but I am not sure that you will!-explanations are not my strong point. ..."

It seems reasonably clear, Malcolm, at lest to me, possibly because I use a similar process.
I have finally gotten my son to either slit envelopes with advertising or invoices along the top as neatly as possible. Then as Kilo-ware or large accumulations are sorted by country each country or sub-area gets an envelope with its contents in marker pen. Some are notated by issues such as the French Marriane's and kept right behind "France - Classic, France pre-WW II, and France modern (post 1945) and are followed by France Africa, and France Indo-China.
For current definitives such as Machins they are by color value and some are notated with the year I created that envelope. That way if I suddenly discover something that was issued inn the 1990s I need not pull the issues of that color value from a sorting that was done in 1985 or 1990 since they were stored before the variety was printed so I need need not have to look through the same color value in the earlier envelopes. Then sections of areas; eg Scandinavia, North Africa and so on, joined geographically related area envelopes in plastic shoe boxes, also marked with the area contained.
Used white invoice sized envelopes that would otherwise be just discarded along with other trash are given a new birth of freedom and utility, besides they are free.
"Stuffed envelopes are happy envelopes."

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".... You may think you understood what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you think you heard is not what I thought I meant. .... "
        
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