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Canada/Stamps : Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

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MeghanP
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13 May 2014
08:50:50am
I feel that I am at a crossroad with storing and arranging my Canadian collection of stamps. I am therefore seeking advice from fellow Canadian stamp collectors.

The details:
I collect primarily Canadian used stamps. I bought a stock book in the fall and use it to store them. I use my Unitrade Catalogue of Canadian stamps to arrange them by Scott number. The collection is quickly growing through trades with other collectors and modest purchases from dealers.

It is clear to me at this point that I must purchase more books for housing my stamps as the stock book is quickly filling up.

Lately as I've had to shuffle stamps to make room for new ones I have started to be concerned with the amount of time I am spending handling my stamps. I fear that I am increasing the probability of damaging the stamps (through creating rips or creases) by having to move them to make room. While I am not really concerned with value, more personal interst and history, I still don't want to be damaging these stamps, especially since I am now buying some of them.

I started looking into albums and am wondering if I want to keep using stock books (which is very time consuming; my method has been taking out some of the joy lately) or switch to albums and use my stockbook for my topical collection.

Concerns:
1) finances. Several of the albums were over $1200. There is no way I can afford this.
2) appearance. The affordable albums I found were butt ugly.
3) Hinges vs mounts. I know next to nothing about the two but am concerned about attatching hinges to my stamps. Will this cause damage to them? (Again not really concerned about value as I have no expensive stamps just aesthetics).

Fellow collectors of Canadian used. If you could give me advice on how you store your collections it would be greatly appreciated. Considering my financial concerns what can you recommend for me to do?
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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
13 May 2014
09:28:35am
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

Meghan,

i am not a Canadian collector, but i'll share how I collect my US and German stamps.

In US, I merely bought the best Scott-based collection I could find filled with as many decent stamps at the best price. It runs until about the 70s. it had pencil and pen markings and was already a mish mash, with both the original pages supplemented by specialized pages focusing on a single stamp or series, so one might encounter 50 copies of the ubiquitous 3c green Washington. I don't need my albums to be pretty; luckily for me, because it's not. I can, but havne't, added more recent pages; i can, and have, added additional pages that often replicate what's there, so it's not perfectly numerical.

In Germany, I took a different approach. I use stock sheets, primarily manila becuase they are cheaper, but sometimes the plastic varios. I assign the number of stamps that will easily and comfortably fit on the page, and then add the next stock page. My recent Germany is very weak, and consequently i haven't gotten around to adding pages for stuff from the 80s onward. The beauty of this is that it is somewhat flexible and used stock pages are often available for pennies, or sometimes for the price of the stamps they hold (at my stamp club, it's often that a large assortment of stamps might go for 50c and include two stock sheets, for instance).

just some ideas

David

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smaier
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Sally
13 May 2014
09:35:04am
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

MeghanP,

Good questions that probably apply to collections from any country. The answers depend on what your goals are and how much you are willing to invest...both in time and money.

You have made a great start with your trading partners and your catalogs. I can see your point about the stockbooks. The more times you handle something, the more chances there are for damage. Plus, you spend a lot of time moving things around.

I use large and small 3 ring binders and acid free paper. I make my own pages so I can customize as I want. Lots of others here have recommended the Steiner pages which you can buy and print out as you need (I know there are threads on SOR about this).

I use hinges on used stamps and mounts for anything with real value (either monetary or something I really like). Some collectors don't like this method because it isn't consistent and professional looking, but my albums are for me. If I am preparing an exhibit, that's a totally different thing. But my albums are of no interest to my daughters or husband and will likely not survive intact when I am gone.

It can be a lot of fun to make your own pages but some degree of computer savvy is helpful. Several SOR members have posted images of their own pages...some are extremely fancy and others not.

So, do what you like and you will be satisfied for a long time. If not, you can make changes with minimal monetary investment in supplies (paper is relatively inexpensive) and spend your cash towards stamps!

Sally


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Makazi
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13 May 2014
09:48:51am
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

Great questions, these are things I am considering for my collection of Norwegian stamps. My focus is also used stamps, and so far I have decided to not buy pre-made albums. I have used LibreOffice Draw (free software) to make some home-made album pages, but I have not decided on a design yet. The "drawback" is that I find myself using a bit more time on designing the pages than I'm wanting to, so looking into other options there. I print the pages on slightly heavier (premium) paper.

I've decided to go for mounting with hinges. Only exception would be for any valuable stamps I might get, those I might get some type of mount for. My first attempts of mounting with hinges I wasn't happy with. Thanks to good advice here, I'm starting to get better at mounting with hinges. Good tip, use way less moisture on the hinge than you think you need - at least the hinges I have require almost no moisture to get sticky enough to mount the stamps. And also limit the area of the hinge that you apply moisture to. If you have duplicates or damaged stamps that you don't worry about, use those to practice how much moisture is needed.

I have bought protective sleeves for the pages, and so far putting them into an inexpensive album. The album itself I might replace when finances allow it. I also enjoy the making of album pages to a certain degree, but I don't want it to take up too much of my "stamp time".

Here is how my album page for Norwegian stamps have looked so far:
Image Not Found

And here is a page I made for a topical collection I was considering:
Image Not Found

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MeghanP
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13 May 2014
09:56:39am
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

My concern regarding making my own pages is also time related. I want it to look nice, and I am sure I can do it but I don't want to end up slaving away at it and never being fully satisfied. (As, knowing myself, I know I would.)

I like this idea of finding pages from others and printing them. Then I can find a binder I like the look of and put into that. I also appreciate the idea of plastic sleeves.

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smauggie
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13 May 2014
10:02:32am
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

Like David, I do not collect modern Canada, and so am fine with Steiner pages. For my US collection where I do collect modern material, I am currently holding my US collection on Vario pages organized according to the Scott catalog.

This provides me with a few benefits:

1 - I can put whatever I want in my collection
2 - I can slip in another page in an area where I need more space for a specialized collection
3 - Vario pages are sturdy, and can be stored in inexpensive 3-ring binders (or expensive ones if you are me)
4 - Should I at some future point decide I want to mount my collection in an album, they are already organized and identified and in the proper order.
5 - I can have any size stockbook I want.
6 - 3-ring binders allow more flexibility to include things other than vario pages in your collection (blocks, covers, souvenir pages, additional notes, etc.)

The drawbacks are these:

1 - Vario pages are not as easy to use as regular stockbooks
2 - Vario pages may be more expensive than stockbooks depending on where you are.
3 - Vario pages are heavy (use a few smaller binders instead of one big heavy binder).

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Allthunbs
13 May 2014
10:15:13am
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

Hi Meghan:

Ok, we use a formula. It starts with Scotts numbering and the EZstamp program. We recently added the Unitrade catalogue as well.

From EZstamp we print a page on non-acid card stock (110#). One page per number from EZstamp. This is an incomplete listing especially compared to unitrade. However, it gives me one page per stamp number. From there, we can add variations as needed. If we missed a major category it is easy to insert a page. We keep the collection in photocopy filing boxes and every page is covered with an acetate cover.

We've machine printed the pages but this is not necessary. Just note the Scott # and date of issue on the card.

Our collection is mature from pre-confederation to current. We select our best examples, mint and used and carry several on the card. We use mounts exclusively. Overstock we carry in glassine envelopes inventoried by number. This becomes the basis of our trading stock.

First day covers, corner blocks etc. are added on separate cards behind the identifying card. I must note that we could have one card per number or 3 or 4 cards per number depending on inventory and quality.

We also have a separate section for 'specials'. These are things that are auction exclusive and do not appear in stamp catalogues.

All of this is duplicated for provinces.

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MeghanP
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13 May 2014
11:43:51am
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

Having read all these responses, and having done some research on the types of products that were mentioned I am leaning toward this system:

Buying a binder and hinges.

Creating VERY simple pages on my computer and printing them off. I think I'll make a nice border and keep it at that.

Then, arranging my stamps on the page as I see fit as I know I woud otherwise spend countless painstaking hours trying to create the spaces before printing.

Labeling, in pencil, Scott numbers and interesting information as suits my fancy.

I will use plastic sleeves to keep the pages protected and to avoid having a bunch of ripped pages from turning them.

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Makazi
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13 May 2014
11:49:11am
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

Sounds like a good plan Thumbs Up

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HungaryForStamps
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19 May 2014
02:06:56am
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

Consider purchasing Steiner Pages, either subscription or a CD. (I'm assuming they have Canada). The pages are 8.5x11 and already designed for you in Scott cataloge order. If I recall correctly, the CD, with pages for most of the world (is that an exaggeration?) is about $30-$40. Good deal if you plan on eventually expanding your collection.

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towards2112
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19 May 2014
10:57:30am
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

But my main question is as it always has been when talking to
another postage stamp collector .
Are you having fun with it ? Do you have a sense of satisfaction ?
Does it fill an empty spot inside your psyche ?
It is your collection, do with it what your heart, head, and pocket
book tell you.
My entire collection is in two really large boxes in the closet.
Might get moved into two chest of drawers shortly. But, might not..

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Stampnut1953
02 Jun 2014
10:07:36am
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

Hi Meghan: I think Towards2112 hit the nail on the head, are you enjoying your collection? I have given small demos on collecting and I have always insisted that we must find our own way. You will, trust me.

If you are thinking too much time is being used up working with your stamps, then maybe you are in the wrong hobby? I make all my own pages for all my collections and I feel it adds to the level of satisfaction I get from my collections and I am proud to show my collections to others. My wife is my 'quality control' expert and she does a fine job of that.

I have always said, 'This is how I collect' and I don't think any two people will collect exactly the same way. We are all different, praise the Lord for that, we will take comfort in different methods and styles. Over the years I have looked at a lot of collections and have admired many and wondered WHY! would they do that, with others. I have used other collector's ideas and methods in varying degrees. Trevor told me to use clear photo corners to mount souvenir sheets, works like a darn and looks nice. So guess who went back through his collections and reprinted the pages that had ugly souvenir sheet mounts?

I went through the same anxious times with my collections and let me tell you, it never stops. I am always changing things. I look at older pages that were created years ago and I can't imagine why I did that. So I retrieve the page from archives and change it. It is fun to be creative. You show me one bought album that allows spaces for every stamp, every perf. every odd ball issue that comes along. There isn't one because we make it that way because we are all different.

I think you are wise to canvass the SOR members for ideas, you are on the right track. I spend too much time on my stamps but I love every cotton pickin minute of it. If it becomes work then it isn't a hobby. That is how I see it.

I hope this helped in some small way. Probably just muddied the waters huh!?
Cheers
Lyall

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MeghanP
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02 Jun 2014
03:27:41pm
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

I definitely appreciate your response Lyall. Do not get me wrong, I LOVE my stamps and looking at them. I also have a personality that craves efficiency. And so, I want to develop for myself a system that will make me happy. The more time I spend mindlessly flipping pages in my stock book, the less time I spend actually looking at and enjoying my stamps. See?

I have definitely decided against pre-made pages with spaces for the stamps because a lot of the things on the pages I'm just not interested in. Now I just have to decide which appearances will appeal to me and then set off from there Happy

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smaier
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Sally
02 Jun 2014
09:13:05pm
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

MeghanP,

Like Lyall I make my own pages and the appearance has evolved over time. I have a fairly quick system now because I have created a file page of templates for stamp frames that I can copy and paste into whatever page I am working on.

I have a standard size for almost every stamp issue. So if I need a frame for a small definitive or a large commemmorative, I just pick the one I need and don't have to do any measuring. You can customize for whatever size item you need and whether you will be affixing it in a mount or just with a hinge. It goes pretty quickly once all the sizes are built to your satisfaction, and they are uniform from one sheet to the next.

I use Open Office but am sure you could do the same in almost any word processing program. I just open my standard page with my pre-defined margins and border design, then open my page of templates, and get started. After you oick a format, it is surprisingly easy.

You may have to experiment with your pages until you are happy with their appearance, but that is part of the fun.

Sally

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sponthetrona2
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Keep Postal systems alive, buy stamps and mail often
07 Jun 2014
05:10:20pm
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

"My concern regarding making my own pages is also time related. I want it to look nice, and I am sure I can do it but I don't want to end up slaving away at it and never being fully satisfied. (As, knowing myself, I know I would.)

I like this idea of finding pages from others and printing them. Then I can find a binder I like the look of and put into that. I also appreciate the idea of plastic sleeves."

The great thing about making your own books is you store them on your computer. I have US & Canada in my computer files, over 900 pages. Yes it is time consuming but a joy to do and if you're unhappy with the results change it with a different name so you do not lose the original thoughts. I like this approach as I add personal stuff all the time, letters, plate blocks, line pairs, and memorabilia about a certain stamp. I've really had fun with this project, however, do not use a program that gets out dated and not usable by a new operating system. I ended up spending thousands of dollars buying a new computer with Windows 7 instead of that horrible Windows 8, which would not work with the program I used to create my stamp books. Remember to save often and make backups after you're happy with what you've created.

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Andrejs
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15 Oct 2014
07:36:52pm
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

Hi there,

I've toyed with various methods of collecting. I have an old Scott's United States album that is current to 1973, an absolutely gorgeous Australian album with sheets in between the printed pages, boxes, binders full of stamps on hinges on good old ruled paper (I know - bad and worried about bleeding of the ink on the paper as well). Despite all of these options, I have to say my own personal best experience in creating an album was to purchase a few Stanley Gibbons Springback binders and quadrille pages in order to create my layouts by hand. I mapped out each page and drew my boxes with a metal edged ruler and a very good felt tip marker. That was a nod to my grandfather and his collection, who did pretty much the same thing. Depending on the value of the stamp, I would either use hinges or clear mounts to keep everything roughly similar. Yeah, it took a lot of time; but, in the end, I had something I was proud of. The album was a true labour of love. The best part about that was the flexibility of adding whatever pages I wanted to (postal history or variations of issues), and it was completely re-designable on a whim. You can get the same from computer programs; but I personally liked the fact that "I made this" whenever I would open the albums. Personally, I found that this method was more personally suited to older issues - they just looked better than the newer ones in that format - but it is always, as has been pointed out here, a mere matter of taste.

Andrew



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Suzanne
15 Oct 2014
09:59:46pm
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

Quote:

"Consider purchasing Steiner Pages, either subscription or a CD. (I'm assuming they have Canada). The pages are 8.5x11 and already designed for you in Scott cataloge order. If I recall correctly, the CD, with pages for most of the world (is that an exaggeration?) is about $30-$40. Good deal if you plan on eventually expanding your collection."



Just what I was going to say. The pages are great.
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cdj1122
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19 Oct 2014
12:23:13pm
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

I create my own pages and simply do not bother with more than a minimum writeup.
I do print the year for each page. I see no reason to explain to a viewer that a stamp with a image of a locomotive shows a locomotive. I can see the train and I assume anyone I'd care to share my album with over the age of six knows what a locomotive is.
I also seldom bother with numbers, first because I use several different catalogs and most people here use Scott, thus a SG#, an YV# or a FAC# is meaningless, second, once I have a set what would I need the number for?
Now that may vary with varieties or missing stamps where a number of a missing stamp would be helpful to me in the future.
I also think that someone looking at an album that has several hundred stamps inscribed "BARBADOES" on them, need not be reminded what they are looking at by writing a country title at the top of the page as well.
As for fancy borders and fonts, I have personally admired some of the handiwork of collectors who had to have spent hours enjoying that aspect of philately as I carefully remove the stamps from the page for my albums and toss their elegant craftsmanship into the trash bin.
So I'd add to the good advice already presented about pages and layout, Meghan, do not feel that you must follow any particular suggestion, just do what you enjoy. If you do not care for the detailed approach, try a minimalist page presentation, you will have more time for your stamps.

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Benque
28 Dec 2016
04:31:17pm
re: Storing my Canadian Collection - Seeking Advice

This is a great topic!
Personally, for reasons beow, I keep all my stamps in good quality 102 cards. Stamps by set in as many 102s as necessary, then by year in as many acetate (7? in wide) envelopes as necessary, then into plastic bins...with ventilation. For stamps I work with often, as my collection grows, I use good quality stockbooks, and 102 cards by set, as above. Moving the 102 cards in the stockbook is a LOT easier.
In order to display my collection, and document it, I have built a database which is definitely overkill, and not just in the information which can be entered, but the time and learning it required.
I am in the home stretch of having it produce album pages with my stamps (my scans), on the fly, and by a large number of criteria. For instance, select page format, border, text box styles, fonts, content, etc, etc...then stamps by year, country, keyword/theme, etc, etc....even by lineage, such as re-issues, overprints of parent country for colonies, etc, etc. Even print a album by stamp color, or printing type.
Gonna take me a while to finish it, but even now, I can view any stamps, zoom view them, even view their "actual" size, just in case.
Saves wear and tear on the stamps, and I'd rather knock a glass of beer over my computer than my prize stamps.

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