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Oceania/Australia : A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

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Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
09 Jun 2019
01:18:00am
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A good album with dust cover (an album that does not contain acid or alkaline)

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Catalogues and reference books; with Australian stamps buy either the ACSC or Renniks, even Stanley Gibbons is excellent for referencing, but if the collector wants to know more about Australian stamps the ACSC is the preferred catalogue.

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Hingeless stamp mounts: These mounts attach to the album and the stamp placed inside the mount.

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Hinges:Small pieces of glassine mounts that is adhered to the album page and then to the stamp, they are easy to remove but the stamps will have some degree of glue damage.

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Magnifying glass: there are many types of magnifiers including the jewellers loop and magnifiers with LED illumination.

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Micrometer: To measure thickness of stamps (important to identify thin paper).

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Perforation gauge: A must for every collector, these gauges can accurately identify perforation sizes. Although there are various types of gauges the Instanta stamp perforation gauge above is the best on the market.

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Storage: Any place that has air circulation away from the dust, humidity and dampness, the album must never be left lying flat as the weight of the album will cause damage to the stamps. A camera dry-cabinet with a built-in thermometer and humidifier is perfect for stamps (these are very expensive).

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Tongs (never use ordinary tweezers; proper stamp tongs can be purchased at the local stamp dealer, avoid those sold in stamp packs at the post office). There are four types of tongs - pointed (these tongs actually have blunt tips); spade, rounded and curved spade.

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UV lamp: For the detection of phosphorescence. Short wave UV light; With the UV – analysis lamp you can determine the invisible tagging or markings of stamps.

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White cotton gloves: Essential to prevent damage from handling.

Next post - The Stamp Glossary

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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
51Studebaker
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Dialysis, damned if you do...dead if you don't
09 Jun 2019
08:17:00am
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

Hi Rob,
Interesting thread, thanks for posting.

I feel that one of the problems in attracting new folks to our hobby are the costs. Stamps/covers themselves carry costs but the additional ‘support’ supplies and materials drive the entry price of our hobby much higher.

The majority of potential new hobbyists are 40-55 year-olds who have gotten an existing accumulation from a passed family member. They have an interest in philately but the last thing they want to hear is that they will have to spend significant amounts of money just to explore their new interest. This is why I am optimistic that philately transitioning to online is a positive thing; it allows more people to explore our hobby without investing large amounts of money.

This is also true for casual collectors, folks who only occasionally pull out their collections. Not everyone is a specialist or is someone who spends a number of hours every week working on stamps/covers. Nor are these people who want to spend significant amounts of money on the hobby month in and month out.

And this is why, in my opinion, the ‘old school’ approach to our hobby drastically needed an overhaul. We could no longer afford to raise costly barriers around accessing philatelic information such as organizational memberships or catalogs just so a casual collector could identify stamps. Online philately has largely been successful because it greatly reduced the cost of accessing information. For example, I am a casual Australian collector. After a bad, distasteful experience with the ‘down under’ forum, I basically put my Australian stamps aside. Mostly due to your posts and efforts, my interest in has been restored but in no way am I going to invest large amounts of money in a set of specialized ACSC catalogs. Instead, I read all of the online content I can other than visiting the toxic down under forum. (This is a real shame since I know that there is good content mixed in with the toxicity.)

This is also why I invest time in Stamp Smarter, the SCF forum, and this forum. We need to offer philatelic information without high cost to attract both potential collectors and the casual collectors. Allow folks to glean information and save their money for buying more stamps/covers!
Don

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ikeyPikey
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09 Jun 2019
09:50:42am
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

'
https://DampRid.com/ seems like a practical fewer-bucks-up-front way to protect stamps in an ordinary cabinet.

Q/ Anybody have experience with DampRid, or an equivalent product?

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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"I collect stamps today precisely the way I collected stamps when I was ten years old."
Horamakhet
09 Jun 2019
06:52:45pm
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

Hi to all

All the posts have merits, I for one have now become a serious collector, and tend to buy all the necessary tools for Philately.

The other thing is to have good quality Hagners, or stamp mount strips, (sorry for using a brand name.

For those who are collecting, and don't want to spend a lot, on albums, and accessories. Australia Post produces binders and mounting strips, and they can be purchased at the larger post offices.

I am in the process of updating all my albums to the more expensive type with covers, as I, thanks to all the important and sound information on this forum, have realised that good storage of stamps is paramount.

It is like rare books and family documents that I have, I make sure that all my books and documents are stored appropiately, as many are hundreds of years old, and contain very valuable historical and research information.

Collecting anything eventually becomes an obsession, the trick is not to let the obession gain control.

Me I love to be obsessed,

Regards

Horamakhet

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Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
10 Jun 2019
12:29:28pm
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

Hi Don

It’s true and also a pity that even the most basic of needs to look after stamps can be expensive and certain collectors will find that to continue looking after the stamps by purchasing extra things will escalate in price can deterring some from continuing with the hobby.

The camera dry cabinet with a built-in hygrometer and dehumidifier is perfect for keeping stamps at an even temperature and humidity all year round, and of course these cabinets valued at around $1,300 are recommended for a collection that warrants purchasing one.

The majority of collections have no need for this cabinet; though a specialist collector with valuable stamps I would suggest would need one.

Catalogues are expensive and are getting more expensive, collectors who cannot afford or do not want to spend a small fortune on catalogues will find all the information they need at their fingertips by joining a good forum.

The majority of potential new hobbyists are 40-55 year-olds who have gotten an existing accumulation from a passed family member. They have an interest in philately but the last thing they want to hear is that they will have to spend significant amounts of money just to explore their new interest. This is why I am optimistic that philately transitioning to online is a positive thing; it allows more people to explore our hobby without investing large amounts of money.

That is true, and if they are given a collection that has rare stamps in it, then the new owner would need to consider housing them properly or selling them, if they choose the former it will of course cost money. Joining a good stamp forum is the next best thing to understanding the stamps you have.

Not everyone is a specialised collector as this is where serious money is involved and the camera cabinet is a must, but I must admit I used to spend hours every week with my collection, this I longer do after creating a detailed data base that allows me to slot a new stamp into its original order of issue easily.

As I am not against membership fees with stamp clubs, I believe such clubs should offer a free service for members of the public to have their stamps identified, for instance, an available Saturday once a month where members attend to help non-members.

And this is why, in my opinion, the ‘old school’ approach to our hobby drastically needed an overhaul. We could no longer afford to raise costly barriers around accessing philatelic information such as organizational memberships or catalogs just so a casual collector could identify stamps.

Online philately has largely been successful because it greatly reduced the cost of accessing information. For example, I am a casual Australian collector. After a bad, distasteful experience with the ‘down under’ forum, I basically put my Australian stamps aside. Mostly due to your posts and efforts, my interest in has been restored but in no way am I going to invest large amounts of money in a set of specialized ACSC catalogs. Instead, I read all of the online content I can other than visiting the toxic down under forum. (This is a real shame since I know that there is good content mixed in with the toxicity.)


Online philately (providing you do not choose a rogue forum) is a great way of having stamps displayed and commented upon, which includes valuable information about them; as novice collectors and non-collectors can misidentify a stamp(s).

It is true that catalogues today are very expensive, the two new editions of the ACSC cost me $230, far too much for the average collector; and a rogue forum (the “down under” forum) will definitely give a very bad taste to any person wanting assistance.

The “toxic form” has invaluable information but unfortunately it has poisoned itself as the worst when it comes to disregarding respect amongst others and the wrong place to be if you’re a novice.
I’m not spruiking Stamp Smarter (OK, you’ve got me, I am spruiking Stamp Smarter), it is a very good, part private collection, part library, part everything, I have my entire collection on Stamp Smarter, and collectors from other countries have also added their collection and knowledge to this great site.

The SCF and StampBears are also valuable forums for the novice where respect and providing a down-to-earth conversation can be expected.

This is also why I invest time in Stamp Smarter, the SCF forum, and this forum. We need to offer philatelic information without high cost to attract both potential collectors and the casual collectors. Allow folks to glean information and save their money for buying more stamps/covers!

Succinctly said Don.


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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
10 Jun 2019
01:01:37pm
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

Hi Horamakhet

Being a serious collector comes at a price, and you are definitely on the right road to being on top of your collection. I do not have Hagner pages for my albums, though I do use them for a high quality display page; they are very good pages.

Albums with slip covers will protect your stamps against dust and other airborne nasties; I use hingeless mounts and then I place the mounted stamp into the album, best to have a second wall of protection. Even if some dust happen to find its way inside the album the hingeless mount will give that extra protection.

I know the feeling of my collecting becoming an obsession, but I’m always in control.

Rob

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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
10 Jun 2019
02:33:19pm
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

One challenge is that a beginning collective will have different needs and recommending them to invest into some items may turn them off to collecting.

The beginner likely just needs help in the organizing phase when a traditional albums or catalogs is asking to much unless it is a single country. It may be just some Vario or other pocket pages and a binder. When I see all those posts on how much is it worth, it is often nothing more than an assortment.




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Rob1956
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11 Jun 2019
01:17:56am
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

Hi angore

Quote:

"One challenge is that a beginning collective will have different needs and recommending them to invest into some items may turn them off to collecting."



There is no need for any collector to purchase any expensive items I had shown, as there are innovative ways to house stamps, but it is essential for collectors to purchase certain items to house rare stamps, and if the collection has a sizable commercial value then it is best to purchase a camera cabinet to keep them safe, and of course if possible, have them insured.

There are many novices that need a guiding hand in setting up a collection, this is why forums such as this one and a few others will help, which includes if asked, provide catalogue information and the values of the stamp in various conditions, it saves them a bucket load of money.

The Vario pages are very good, and in my opinion the clear pages (you can view front and back without removing them from the page) is the king of album pages; I keep all my pre-Federation, post Federation pre-decimals up to 1966 in them.

A binder is unimportant in my opinion to house stamps in, but the paper chosen for the stamp is important, as normal paper might be acidic, housing the stamp in a hingeless mount and stuck onto the page is okay, but if that page starts to get rusty, trouble will begin; and if the stamp is mounted with a hinge directly onto the paper the stamp is in direct danger of getting rust from the page.

It is also best to house the page in plastic page protectors, I use page protectors specifically made for album pages; this will stave off any dust or other airborne contaminates as the binder would not have a slip cover.

But if the collection is only for show and tell, then there is no need to be precautionary to the dangers that is always at the doorstep with collections made from paper.

I’m being a little naïve here, but I’m a little lost to what you meant by “When I see all those posts on how much is it worth, it is often nothing more than an assortment.”

If a beginner finds that even a basic album is too expensive, and they can be, all he/she needs to do is join a forum, this one for example and ask if anyone has a spare album they no longer use, someone may have a spare to send the budding collector, I had a rather large stock book I did not need, and when asked if I had a spare, I sent the book to the collector, when he received the book he said he was very delighted to receive it.

And with a catalogue, regardless of provenance, all one has to do is ask, and someone is bound to answer their question.

Rob
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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
11 Jun 2019
08:09:49am
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

Rob1956,

What prompted my comment was your statement about "guide to stamp collecting" and thinking about tools of a beginner collector with a modest collection of common items. They are different.

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"Stamp Collecting is a many splendored thing"
Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
11 Jun 2019
02:15:36pm
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

In my post there is no differentiation, it is a basic generic guide to what is needed for the beginner to the advanced collector. If the novice needs more information then he/she can be guided to this forum or to the SCF.

And if the person needs my assistance I will always be available on both forums.

We all started from the beginning and we all gained experience that can be shared with the newer generation of collectors.

Rob


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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
nlroberts1961
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11 Jun 2019
07:06:11pm
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

With regards to the Damp-Rid. We had occasion to use it when mother-in-laws bathroom flooded and soaked into the drywall in the next room. It certainly helped with the dying out process but I imagine you would need to swap it out rather frequently to maintain its efficacy.

As to catalogues - unless you need to have the most current you can pick up old issues of scotts, SG, and michel on abebooks. com or other similar sites at very minimal prices. I've even found a few in the local thrift shop on occasion. Since the valuations are mostly useless it seems to me any edition is adequate from a knowledge perspective.

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"Euros think a 100 miles is a long way, Americans think a 100 yrs is a long time..."
Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
11 Jun 2019
11:05:53pm
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

Anything that removes moisture from around stamps is a good thing, but there is always a better way and a more cost effective way to remove dampness from damaging stamps. My partner found a device at the local hardware store which I didn’t know existed.

I asked her when next she goes shopping to bring back a box of small absorbent bags that was recommended by a renown stamp dealer, my partner rang me and asked would this be better, it cost me $50 (picture supplied).

After looking at the item I asked her to buy it, and now I use it at home, there is no little bags left around and I have saved money in the long run, it is very effective and needs to only be dried out once a month or 1½ months. The drying process is by plugging it in the wall for a maximum 10 hours.

I have very valuable stamps and I check them every few weeks and there is no signs of moisture or any damage from moisture and I have had the product for nearly a year.

It stands upright and is supplied with a strong hook if the owner wants to suspend it in the closet, and a hole to hang it from a small hook onto a wall.

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Quote:

"As to catalogues - unless you need to have the most current you can pick up old issues of scotts, SG, and michel on abebooks. com or other similar sites at very minimal prices. I've even found a few in the local thrift shop on occasion. Since the valuations are mostly useless it seems to me any edition is adequate from a knowledge perspective."



With the Stanley Gibbons catalogue, if you are not into modern Aussie stamps and prefer earlier decimals and pre-decimals, picking up a 2nd hand SG will come in handy; and with the Scott catalogue, I found it useless, I have not seen a Michel or Adebook catalogue so I cannot comment on them.

Rob






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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
Horamakhet
12 Jun 2019
04:59:16am
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

Hi Rob

That device looks good, I will check my local Bunnings for it.

With Michel, it helps if you can read French, but I am like you, I prefer, Gibbons, and ACSC.

Regards

Horamakhet

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Rob1956
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12 Jun 2019
05:45:51am
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

Hi Horamakhet

Try Mitre 10 first, I believe they are now called Sunlite Mitre 10; this is where Victoria bought the humidifier. When it is plugged in for drying it will get quite warm, that is normal, the temporary warmth (only a few minutes) has no effect on the humidifier.

I cannot read French myself, and yes it's Gibbons and ACSC for me.

Rob

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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
ikeyPikey
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12 Jun 2019
12:11:54pm
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

Quote:

"... It certainly helped with the dying out process but I imagine you would need to swap it out rather frequently to maintain its efficacy ..."



According to the DampRid website (as best I understand it), you do not swap out the "natural" crystals; when they are gone, you just 1) dump the water, and 2) add new crystals.

That's a pretty clever design.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey
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"I collect stamps today precisely the way I collected stamps when I was ten years old."
Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
12 Jun 2019
01:26:46pm
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

Quote:

"According to the DampRid website (as best I understand it), you do not swap out the "natural" crystals; when they are gone, you just 1) dump the water, and 2) add new crystals.

That's a pretty clever design."



DampRid definitely works, very practical and old school, now the right@home humidifier eliminates throwing things away, the crystals are kept and only needs a little time plugged into the wall, and then it's back to work, now that in my opinion is a pretty clever design.

Rob
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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
malcolm197
17 Jun 2019
07:07:23am
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

I am an ordinary "all-world" postally used collector, and I do not require every all singing all dancing item that Rod recommends.

However the most basic beginner should be encouraged from day one to use tweezers (tongs), hinges rather than sticky tape and proper album leaves, with stock books to safely store stamps awaiting mounting. This should go with instructions on how to soak stamps safely, the necessity to store albums upright ( yes not everyone knows this ) and when to remove and not to remove stamps on paper. At the very least that will prevent further deterioration, but most importantly will instill a sense of respect for the artefacts they have custody of.

Perforation gauge, ultra violet lights,magnifying glasses etc should then be introduced as ways to advance the collectors's understanding and enjoyment of the hobby rather than an essential tool. In my opinion every collector who wants to progress will eventually purchase these items when they feel it necessary, anyway.

Those wishing to upgrade to serious collecting ( although I consider myself a "serious" collector in my own limited way )of big ticket items will need Rod's kit. I do feel however that jumping straight into this without doing the early spadework can end in tears if not actively mentored.

I think that Rod has done a service by setting out in a simple manner the progression of "kit".

Malcolm

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Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
17 Jun 2019
12:27:35pm
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

I agree that beginners should be shown the A-Z in basic collecting, but they should also be taught that two types of mounts exist, the traditional hinge and the unmounted hinge, apart from that I fully agree with your post.

But what is “Rod’s kit”?

Rob

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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
18 Jun 2019
11:46:52am
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

I assumed it was misspelled and intended to be Rob's kit.

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"Stamp Collecting is a many splendored thing"
Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
18 Jun 2019
02:17:08pm
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

You're most likely correct, I should have thought of that.

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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
malcolm197
24 Jun 2019
12:00:30pm
re: A Guide to Stamp Collecting - Tools of the Trade

Woops, grovel grovel !!

Malcolm

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