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General Philatelic/Supplies, Literature & Software : What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

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ikeyPikey
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24 Jun 2019
10:26:25am
In Souvenir Sheets - Best way to cut them - and should I?, Michael#s writes:

Quote:

"... some stamp albums include singles from souvenir sheets ..."



New topic!

Q/ What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

Alternate formulation:

Q/ What annoys you most about COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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51Studebaker
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Dialysis, damned if you do...dead if you don't
24 Jun 2019
11:52:52am
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

1. One album publisher has for years falsely accused others of copyright infringement; this practice has impeded and damaged philately. This legal strong-arming has driven me to replace over 30 feet of shelf space that was previously dedicated to a single publisher.

2. Album publishers do not publish specifications of the paper they are using. Consumers are left to guess and trust them; I do not trust them.

3. Album publishers have failed terribly at transitioning to digital publishing; this means that they will start failing over the next 3-5 years (some already have gone out of business). Why would I want to invest in a costly set of albums if the publisher will not be around in the future to support them?
Don


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Anglophile
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RPSL, APS, EPA; US, GB, Ireland, British Europe, Italy, Mauritius Classics
24 Jun 2019
09:48:07pm
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

Commercial albums effectively tell you what to collect. Self-made pages, in contrast, tell the viewer what I collected.

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Tobben63
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Stamp collector
25 Jun 2019
07:32:58am
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

I support the reasons Studebaker51 and Anglophile gives here. I have bought albums for Scandinavia from one supplier, on sale, but if I should buy for all the European countries I collect I would not have money to buy the stamps.

I intend to make my own album/page but have used Steiner pages (witch I don't like).

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ernieinjax
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25 Jun 2019
07:59:33am
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

Each approach has it's merits. For collectors of US issues including Airmail, BOB etc., the Scott National Album just screams "classic collection".

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mitoneu
27 Jun 2019
10:48:19am

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re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

I am a fan of home-made albums.
One of the main reasons is that most commercial ones list the stamps according to the year of issue. Therefore, larger series, which are issued over several years will appear on different pages. I rather prefer to see them all together!
Of course, it also seems to me that the Money eventually spent on these albums could be better applied to buy stamps to complete our collections!

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Pogopossum
27 Jun 2019
07:19:23pm
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

Although my US collection is in Mystic Albums, my others (Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, and others) use Steiner pages. In addition to the pages I add a country history and philatelic information printed out from online (Wikipedia, and the many fine stamp websites, thank you.)

To me, the album should definitely be about the stamps, but also about the country.

Geoff

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ikeyPikey
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27 Jun 2019
07:45:08pm
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

Quote:

"... most commercial ones list the stamps according to the year of issue. Therefore, larger series, which are issued over several years will appear on different pages ..."



Have they really got a choice?

After they sell you the razor, they sell you the razor blades.

So you buy an album in Year N, and you buy supplements in Year N+1, Year N+2, etc.

One day, in Year N+2, a stamp is issued that adds to a set first published in Year N-3.

If they re-issue the old page to put that stamp with its brethren, everyone has to re-mount or re-hinge a batch of stamps ... sometimes, a large batch of stamps.

If they both re-issue the old page (to put that stamp with its brethren) and issue a new page (to put that stamp in its year of issue), they've also got to issue a version of the new page that omits that stamp.

So each new addition to an old set means they have to print three new pages, eg, Year N-3 with the new stamp, Year N+2 with the new stamp, and Year N+2 without the new stamp.

Then, each customer has to make a decision about which of those new pages to use and, let's face it, one of the nice things about an album is that it minimizes the decision-making about what stamp goes where ... in fact, it can fairly be said that people buy albums precisely because they are looking for an answer to who-goes-where, not an opportunity to decide amongst a lot of options.

Imagine what happens when, in Year N+2, there is also a new stamp that adds to a set from Year N-1 ... yikes!

And, imagine when you try to sell your collection, and the buyer - who thought s/he was familiar with that album - has no idea where you put what.

Albums "list the stamps according to the year of issue" because albums grow year-by-year.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey (who keeps his treasures in piles precisely because he does not want to pick a storage solution, let alone maintain it)

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clivel
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27 Jun 2019
08:49:00pm
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

It probably comes as no surprise that I am a DIY album fan.

Like most people, I started with a commercial album but soon realised that it did not suit my collecting style - to me it feels too much like a paint-by-numbers approach to stamp collecting. There is little room to add varieties and even less room for annotations (which with my handwriting is probably a good thing).

I then moved onto stock books, but it never really felt like a collection, more like a semi-organised storage system. It is untidy, little slips of paper with catalogue numbers stuck in everywhere and stamps partially covered by semi-translucent holding strips. I got very little pleasure from paging through my collection not being able to fully appreciate the stamps.

A brief flirtation with Hagner style stocksheets solved some of the stock book problems but the incessant dust that the pages seemed to attract like a magnet soon put an end to the Hagner period.

Steiner pages were next, however, they suffer from the same faults as preprinted albums, a lack of flexibility, but with the added disadvantage of being organised in accordance with Scott which takes, what seems to me, the rather unusual approach of relegating perfectly good postage stamps to "Back of the Book".

So, in the end, it came down to creating my own pages. Thus was born AlbumEasy, purely for my own use it was initially a simple command line application that I knocked out over two days. It did what I needed at the time which was to produce simple pages with a border, boxes and text where I wanted it.
Clive



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BermudaSailor
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27 Jun 2019
09:59:38pm
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

Clive,

I am an ardent fan of AlbumEasy. I have used both preprinted albums, Steiner pages (which still have their uses) , but AlbumEasy provides me with the greatest flexibility to make my collection reflect my style and preferences by allowing me to accentuate those things that make my collection special to me.

David

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clivel
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28 Jun 2019
01:07:50am
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

Thanks David,
It is always great to hear that someone is making good use of the program Happy
the reasons you give for using AlbumEasy, pretty much echo my reasons for wanting to create my own pages in the first place.

Clive

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angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
28 Jun 2019
06:35:06am
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

For my US, I migrated from Scott National to Mystic because of the cost of annual supplements, binder costs, 2 post design etc. This was back in mid-90's. I was getting more cardboard and replacement pages than anything else in the supplements,

My pet peeve was specialists would find another scratch on plate on a classic stamp and Scott assigns a major number so gets a space in album. Obvious modern varieties get relegated to minor status so not space in their albums.

Mystic pages are 8½x11 so able to add / redo pages and have created well over 100 pages. By making your own pages you collect your way. A side benefit is you can learn more than just putting stamps in spaces.

Scott does not include many minor varieties so that was another issue. Mystic is not perfect either but I can adapt. As said earlier, I am not sure the album publishers will adapt.

For worldwide, I went with Steiner since I only need to print pages I needed. I cannot see doing this with a printed album. Steiner pages seem to be fairly popular as I see more ebay lots of collections on Steiner pages.

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
29 Jun 2019
03:58:53pm
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

I like to collect what I like to collect, and display it the way I want to see it....

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ClayMorgan
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Member APS, ATA, Haiti Philatelic Society, Nashville Philatelic Society
29 Jun 2019
04:49:52pm
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

For me, it is quite simply flexibility.

I do use Mystic Heirloom for my US stamps. Beyond that, I use a combo of Steiner, Vario, Stockbooks, and self-made pages.

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Coastwatcher
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APS #230539
10 Aug 2019
06:09:42am
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

I know that I’m bucking the trend here, but I actually prefer commercial albums. Firstly, I prefer to have stamp illustrations on my album pages and, secondly, I have neither the patience nor the computer skills to design and print my own pages. Also, as I abhor cutting and installing mounts, I can get a hingeless album from Palo for any country in the world. Just my two cents.

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musicman
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10 Aug 2019
07:57:26am

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re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

Guess I'll weigh in here;

I'm with ClayMorgan on this one -

I use Mystic Heirloom Albums for my US as well. I also make my own pages for
my #1's Of The World album and my Cheetahs album.

For many other interests I use store-bought D-ring binders with Vario pages.

I also have a Scott Specialty Album for housing my US Revenues on Scott pre-printed pages.


Seems there are mainly 3 ways to store stamps in albums;

--All Pre-printed/off-the-shelf albums;
--All home-made albums
--A combination of both of the above



I for one prefer the mixed method!

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
10 Aug 2019
12:20:25pm
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

When one collects the world, printed album pages (Scott specialty and International) with Steiner pages to fill some gaps is the best way for me.

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jbaxter5256
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10 Aug 2019
03:29:41pm
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

I tend to prefer pre-printed or designed albums although for thematic interests a design it yourself album cannot be beat. I am with Coastwatcher on liking albums with mounts already installed and wish there was an International album option for that. For now my International uses a mix of hinged and clear Scott/Prinz mounts depending on the value of the stamp or its original condition, i.e. if already hinged I am much more likely to hinge it in when it goes into the album.

I haven't used any of the Palo albums but the pictures and wide variety of countries is interesting. Just wish they offered a bundle with 1840-1899 and 1900-1939 and other time periods for world wide collections ideally of just face different issues which are my collecting preference for world wide. My USA collection follows Scott in its entirety although I wish now I had had access to a face different only album but I am far too far into it to change now unless I was to do a complete restart of the collection. I have almost done that by building a separate collection for only those issues in the International pages for the USA. It is coming along very well but now back into the 1920's so it has slowed tremendously. Happy

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Petvet
17 Aug 2019
09:25:35pm
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

I liked the pre-printed pages.
I have used White Ace for my USA collection, using the blank pages to add varieties to what they printed. However, they have gone out of business. So I am creating my own pages using AlbumGem. Maybe it is a blessing in disguise because I save PNS (plate number singles) since the US has gone strictly to self adhesive issues. PNS are all too big for the spaces White Ace made. I'll frame them now so that it fits each individual PNS. It's quite time consuming however. Like White Ace pages, I like to add a little history about each stamp to the page.
I agree with an earlier comment that the printers do not share their paper types, and they should. I'd at least like to use similar weight and textured paper as White Ace did.

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angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
18 Aug 2019
06:23:15am
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

Alco Distributors now carries the White Ace brand.

https://washpress.com/show_article.jsp?id=70

White Ace states they use 60# Index but do not think that is accurate since I measured it around 8mils. It is a higher basis weight. A local printer should be able to find an equivalent.


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Petvet
18 Aug 2019
12:18:11pm
re: What are the best reasons you've found to eschew COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) stamp albums?

Thanks angore. I stopped going to the Washington Press web site so I did not see the announcement about Alco. I found Alcos's web page and it is quite sparse, with all coin related supplies. It says "Bezels and stamp supplies will be added to this site soon". I assume the supplies will include White Ace supplements. Time will tell.

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