Giving a child a stamp album is a great way to introduce them to the world of collecting. Stamp albums come in different varieties. Each has good and bad points as an album for a child. Children of different ages and levels of interest will find different albums suit them best.
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No matter which type of stamp album you choose, you should choose an album with padded hard covers. Hard padded covers protect the stamps from wear if the album is crushed or bent. Hard padded albums will also survive the sometimes rough handling of children better. You may wish to buy your album as part of a kit. Many manufacturers offer starter kits which include not only albums but a selection of stamps, tweezers, hinges for attaching stamps to album pages, and magnifiers or other stamp collecting tools.
Fixed Page Albums
Traditional stamp albums often come with fixed pages and printed headings. These are basically large books with transparent covers to protect stamps. Each page is printed with the name of a country. This gives the new collector some guidance as to what kind of stamps to look for. These albums are the simplest, and younger collectors will find them easiest to use. However, because the pages are fixed in place, you can't expand the album to keep up with a growing collection.
Loose Leaf Albums
For greater customisation, you can buy loose-leaf albums with printed or unprinted pages. New pages can be added later to accommodate a growing collection or to expand particular sections. However, adding and removing pages may cause wear. To minimise wear around the holes, choose an album with a larger number of rings, or one where the pages are held in by posts. Albums with a spring clip have to be taken apart to be used; they are more for storage than display, and are unlikely to appeal to children.
The pages of stockbooks are made up of strips, usually made of clear plastic, into which stamps are inserted. This is a convenient way to store large numbers of stamps, and stockbooks are very durable, which makes them appealing for children. Stockbooks are less visually interesting than other types of albums, and don't provide any guidance for organisation. Although flexible and easy to use, they are therefore mainly suitable for older children.
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