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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : Overwhelmed and in need of organization ideas

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gbgolf
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15 Jan 2020
10:37:28am
Hello everyone. I've been reading this discussion board for a couple of years now and this is my first post. My grandfather introduced me to stamp collecting back in the 70's. He passed away in 1981 and left me part of his collection in his 1963 citation and regent albums. I played around with it until I reached late teenage years and then put it aside. In the past years I pulled out the albums and began collecting again. Due to the musty basement odor of my grandfathers albums, I purchased an unused 1978 citation and transferred all of the stamps I owned to it and began filling it according to illustrations. Some where along the way, I decided to learn about philately and found you all. (I wish I would have found you before moving the stamps to the citation). Once I decided that I wanted to learn about perforations, watermarks, etc. I began printing the Steiner pages and have placed them in vario G binders. I'm about 800 pages in and six binders and am having doubts. I have well over 16,000 world stamps plus a generous US collection that I haven't counted yet. (The US collection is in Mystics heirloom albums) The collection is primarily from the classic period to 1982. Of course there are handfuls of stamps from the 90's and so on. By going through this process my interest in the classic era has certainly been piqued. In general I love organization and consider myself a perfectionist. I'm not even half way through with removing my stamps from the citation and the collection looks lost in the steiner pages. Now I just feel overwhelmed and confused. My collection is divided between the two and that alone bugs me. I've looked at the 1840-1952 minkus, scott international, and vintage browns. I'm wondering if now would be a good time to make one of these purchases and just focus on the classic era. Put everything else back in the citation and call it good. I was concerned about classic collecting because I have a small budget. Will I even be able to fill these pages? Are the classic era stamps still widely available? At this point I'm not sure how important it is for me to collect stamps based on different markings. It has become fun, but I worry about cost? Also, I have placed a ton of duplicates in vario stock pages, but now feel I have to go back through them to check watermarks, etc. Stamps that I thought were duplicates 5 years ago I now realize may not be the same stamp after all. Crying Once I go through them what would you suggest I do with them? Any suggestions or insight will be gladly appreciated.

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angore
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Collector, Moderator
15 Jan 2020
11:51:33am
re: Overwhelmed and in need of organization ideas

Your collecting habits parallel mine (Mystic for US. Steiner for worldwide). as I read im your concern is that you have printed pages but not many stamps on each page for the year range you collect.

I also have my Steiner collection in Vario G binders. I only print pages I need and sometimes I keep some on Vario sheets if I do not want a lot of extra pages with few stamps. Yes, in the modern era with all the mini-sheets (usually not in a Scott album) the page count really gets up there.

You can focus on classic or even up to around 1960 without a lot of pages.

Does a pre-printed album give you more a sense of completeness?





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philatelia
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APS #156650
15 Jan 2020
12:09:12pm
re: Overwhelmed and in need of organization ideas

I keep my entire collection on Hagnar and Vario pages. That way, there are NO empty spaces really. I can enjoy what I HAVE rather than bumming about missing issues. I don’t have to print pages so they end up being reasonably economic. I don’t have to spend money on expensive mounts or mess with those gawd awful hinges that don’t peel. That’s better for the stamps, too. They are more flexible than stock books because I can add pages for covers or whatever.

As to watermarks and varieties, with the Hagnar/ Vario arrangement I do the following: any issues with varieties I just leave all the duplicates on the page. When I have the time or interest, I can go back and study the issue. Sometimes I wait until I have a goodly number so that it is easier to see color varieties and such. The more samples you have the better your chances of finding varieties. Sometimes for a really complex issue I might have an entire page of just one issue. I jot notes on little slips of paper and slip in the rows to identify varieties. If I want to get really fancy I print up info.

My only wish is that they would manufacture WHITE Hagnar pages.

Another cool thing to do is use CLEAR Vario pages with black interleaves. That way you can see both sides of a page of stamps. Really helpful for perfins.

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"Just one more small collection, hun, really! LoL "
ikeyPikey
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15 Jan 2020
12:52:05pm
re: Overwhelmed and in need of organization ideas

'
I sympathize with your not wanting the blank spots in an album to be dragging you along by the nose.

(One clever fellow once pointed-out that the whole traditional introductory methodology - find its listing in the catalog, fill its hole in the album - has bequeathed us a hobby of hole-fillers. What might have been?)

Reasons to walk away from that system - if you can muster the vision & the courage - include being able to blamelessly stick to a budget, and to keep any stamp that appeals to you in as many copies as you happen across ... even if their only appeal is that you might want to know more about them some day, or think that they're pretty, or like the postmarks.

And, here's a bet: you will never see a prize-winning exhibit at a philatelic exhibition that consists entirely of one stamp in one box on its pre-printed commercial album page.

I was Twelve Years A Slave To Scott. Now I am a rudderless, directionless, undisciplined, swine before pearls. But looking at that old 60s-issue Minuteman album and its empty pages never made me feel good, while looking at my disordered pathetic piles makes me wanna dive right in.

YMMV.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey (who will label a scan "US 1968 6c Daniel Boone" or "TN 1973 Blood Donation" without a second thought ... catalog numbers, shmatalog numbers)

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"I collect stamps today precisely the way I collected stamps when I was ten years old."
Harvey
I think, therefore I am - I think!
15 Jan 2020
01:03:53pm
re: Overwhelmed and in need of organization ideas

We're all different and thank God for that! I like the gaps on a page - they tell me what's still out there for me to try to find. Some of the gaps are probably financially unfillable, but I think it's important to have them for completeness. But again, we are all different and all collect in our own way. You have to figure out what you like to do.

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philatelia
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APS #156650
15 Jan 2020
01:15:49pm
re: Overwhelmed and in need of organization ideas

Good point, Harvey. If I have a collection that I wish to “complete”, I started doing this recently - on colnect you can generate a wishlist that is basically a thumbnail picture of every stamp that you are missing. I am printing out my Colnect wishlists in color and then cutting them apart and placing them in the appropriate place so that I know where the missing stamps belong.

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"Just one more small collection, hun, really! LoL "
StampWrangler
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15 Jan 2020
01:50:40pm
re: Overwhelmed and in need of organization ideas

I have a sort of kind of similar situation. My mom got me started collecting as a kid. She used Harris albums. I have OCD (and I'm sensing you might have a touch as well - I think probably a high percentage of stamp collectors do!) so I went into the Scott albums - love the organization of those catalog numbers. (Sorry Ikey Pikey!) Naturally, growing up, I survived mostly off of her duplicates.

Come along kids, family, job, adulthood - everything goes into storage for a couple of few decades.

When I later inherited my mom's collection, I was faced with two sizable collections of classics in two different album formats. She had a lot of stuff I didn't have, I had some stuff she didn't have. How to combine, what to do going forward? I didn't want to be tied to album supplements forever in any format. None of my kids are remotely interested in collecting, so I am not going to be turning either of the collections over to them.

This dilemma actually kept me from delving into my collection for quite a number of years.

So, first of all, I had to loosen my OCD hold just a tad. It's not supposed to be WORK, it's supposed to be FUN. So - I worked on loosening up, which is, frankly, not easy for me. Secondly, I decided, since my mom seems to generally have a more complete collection, to combine mine into hers -- the unnumbered Harris album -- this is hard to admit, but I do pencil in the Scott numbers -- okay there, I've said it.I Don't Want To See I just like them!

Third, I decided to keep them in the Harris album up to whatever year that album goes to. After that year, it's Steiner pages. At this moment, I don't care so much about anything after 1960's-1970's for the most part, but if they come my way, I'll keep them.

I do like "filling the holes" - like Harvey, I like to see the gaps. They don't bug me. It just helps me to know what I'm looking for.

I think the hardest thing was coming to a decision, but once I made that decision, it was easy to move forward. Go easy on yourself and don't feel like you have to fill every hole - that really is unaffordable. And most of all, there is no right or wrong way. There are as many different ways of collecting, as there are collectors.

Here's hoping you find your direction!

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Harvey
I think, therefore I am - I think!
15 Jan 2020
04:34:12pm
re: Overwhelmed and in need of organization ideas

I have 9 albums I am currently working on - Canada (Harris cut off 1989), US (Liberty cut off 1976), Poland (Minkus cut off 1985), Russia (Minkus(2) cut off 1985) and Scott International World Albums I,II,IIIA, IIIB which makes a cut off of 1950. I don't collect the whole world but certain countries are of interest to me, the rest sit there with a few stamps per country. Gaps are good and since they don't include every stamp I have several spare pages. AND EVERY ALBUM HAS THE SCOTT NUMBERS ADDED! I like to have the numbers and add them neatly. Collect whatever way you want and do it the way you want, it's your hobby! Decide what you want to do, but make sure you have room to expand later.

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BrightonPete
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Kindergarten 1960
15 Jan 2020
05:27:25pm
re: Overwhelmed and in need of organization ideas

I decided to collect all stamps from Canada up to 1992. Thereafter, only a few issues here & there that I like. One year has one stamp that I like, some have quite a few. I print out what I want for my album, so it looks like I have a complete collection. There would be just too many holes otherwise.

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gbgolf
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15 Jan 2020
07:04:41pm
re: Overwhelmed and in need of organization ideas

Thanks everyone for the excellent ideas. I'm not familiar with the Hagnar pages but will gladly check them out. Also, printing a picture of the missing stamp to have as a reference is something I never thought of, and would be quite helpful. I think that the problem is that I am so used to having the Harris illustration that I'm struggling with the Steiner blank page. Sometimes I have no idea what the missing stamp in a set even looks like. The Scott catalogs have helped to some degree. I'm sure once I learn more it will become easier. The suggestion to print only Steiner pages that are needed is helpful too. I think I severely under estimated how many binders I would need to convert two Citation albums into Steiner's pages even while printing only the ones I need. Again thanks for the many wonderful ideas. I've learned so much from all of you and look forward to continuing to grow in knowledge about collecting. Genifer

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angore
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Collector, Moderator
15 Jan 2020
07:35:27pm
re: Overwhelmed and in need of organization ideas

Steiner is mostly in Scott order but alas no catalog numbers. I add them before I print them out since I want them to look good. My handwriting is awful. I do not dedicate a binder to a county until it fill the binder so have to move pages sometimes. I create country title pages to separate the countries.

Stampworld.com is a valuable resource for assisting in identifying stamps to find them in a catalog. It has images for many stamps. It does not have Scott or SG catalog numbers but the presentation is chronological and you can search by year, decade, denomination, color, etc. You have to provide an email address to access to the catalog access.


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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
16 Jan 2020
10:34:58am

Auctions
re: Overwhelmed and in need of organization ideas

Hey Genifer,

well, you heard it from lots of sources: anyway you approach this is fine.

Many of us have gone through the agony of wishing we had done it differently; and, the lucky among us have come to the conclusion that all experiences with stamps are to the positive, even if they were painful at the time.

Having goals, or being comfortable with absolutely no goals, are two ways of approaching our stamps. I'm always trying to make mine more goal-oriented, and happy with the baby steps I take, and the missteps incurred along the way, towards that.

I also note that many of us evolve (neutral term), so my collection today is so totally different from 25 years ago as to be unrecognizable, other than both have stamps in them.

I'm actually happy with the direction my collection is taking, but wish I had more time, and a greater willingness to part with those outside that.

Enjoy

David

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AntoniusRa
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The truth is within and only you can reveal it
17 Jan 2020
01:51:36am
re: Overwhelmed and in need of organization ideas

Most people who live in the U.S. Will use Scott catalogs and albums. I decide to use them
along time ago and am glad I did.Cross referencing stamp numbering systems can be very time consuming. For world wide I recommend Used Scott internationals which will give you a great many stamps for a low cost. For any countries you want to get deeper into you might want to try Scott Specialized. New albums are very expensive but if you buy used ones you will not only gets lots of stamps but the albums are usually not valued at much. For U.S. the Scott National album is the most comprehensive. Steiner is also very good for early U.S. as you can make the pages anyway you want and can exclude the more expensive sets or singles.

As for identifying stamps from sets you should view my site. I have most stamps from most countries up through the mid to late 1900's.
See here: Antonius-Ra.com

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philb
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17 Jan 2020
05:38:18pm

Auctions
re: Overwhelmed and in need of organization ideas

i doubt if there is anyone less organzized than i am...there is no room on my desk for me to work and yet for me it works...i pick up a pile and always find a bit to put in my albums and some to sell. OCD, i don't think so.

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