Stamp collectors (philatelists) have been storing and displaying their treasures in albums for well over a century. Buying a stamp album is an easy task, but deciding what type of album to buy requires more thought and planning. Most albums have pre-printed pages with illustrations organised chronologically and by type. Some albums are specific to particular countries, while other albums have pages for worldwide stamps. There are albums for beginners that illustrate the stamps that novices are most likely to collect. For advanced philatelists, there are multi-volume albums that illustrate virtually every stamp that has ever been issued.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Other People Are Reading
Determine what type of collector you are. Are you interested in collecting U.S. or worldwide stamps? Are you interested in collecting recent stamps or older stamps? Do you intend to become a serious collector of tens of thousands of stamps or just collect a few stamps here and there? Are you going to collect expensive, rare stamps or common, inexpensive stamps? These are all important questions to ask yourself before you purchase an album.
Determine what type of album will accommodate your collection. If your intention is to collect stamps from a particular country, you should buy an album specific to that country. Conversely, you will want to purchase a worldwide album if you intend to collect internationally. If your collection consists of a few thousand stamps or less, then an inexpensive album for novice collectors will probably work.
Anticipate expansion of your collection. A mistake that many beginning collectors make is to buy a small album to accommodate a small collection. Look ahead and try to envision how large your collection might be in five or 10 years.
Before You Buy
Choose a loose-leaf album. Most albums today are essentially notebooks that allow for adding extra pages such as yearly supplements or blank pages for duplicate stamps. Avoid bound albums since loose-leaf albums are more flexible.
Choose an album made of archival quality materials. Companies such as Mystic, Scott, and Harris (Kenmore Stamp Company) offer archival albums with acid-free paper. Using archival materials will preserve your stamps for generations to come.
Research album types that fit your needs. There are many good online dealers that sell multiple types of albums to accommodate all experience levels at prices ranging from inexpensive to expensive. Recommended companies include the Kenmore Stamp Company (www.kenmorestamp.com) and the Mystic Stamp Company (www.mysticstamp.com).>
Decide where to buy an album. Stamp albums and supplies can be found at many hobby stores and online dealers. Choose sellers that deal exclusively in stamp collecting, as they will have variety and quality. You are unlikely to find quality albums and supplies at major discount stores.
Buying an Album
Tips and warnings
- Get recommendations for albums from other collectors. Start with the American Philatelic Society (www.stamps.org) to find stamp clubs in your area.
- Avoid buying expensive, comprehensive albums for children. They may only have a short-term interest in collecting. A good, inexpensive album for beginners, such as the Harris Traveler Stamp Album, is a good way to start.
- 20 of the funniest online reviews ever
- 14 Biggest lies people tell in online dating sites
- Hilarious things Google thinks you're trying to search for