Always handle your stamp[s like a pro, always use the proper stamp tools. Stamp collecting can be one of the most stimulating and enjoyable hobbies in the world. And though it may not seem as exciting as most people picture it to be, there is a quiet, and almost otherworldly exhilaration and satisfaction to be gained from such a collection.
And while many hobbies require very expensive equipment, stamp collecting requires inexpensive and readily available equipment to enjoy the hobby. You will be surprised at how easy it is to set up your collection, not to mention how straightforward and engaging it can be.
Stamps have a certain amount of history and culture attached to them, and that makes them so fascinating to collect. You are brought face to face with different cultures and different time periods. Browsing though a stamp album is pretty much like browsing through history itself.
If you are at all serious about collecting stamps, you cannot be without the following tools:
Stamp Tongs�Stamp tongs are specially designed tools that look like tweezers but are not! You may be tempted to substitute a set of tweezers in place of stamp tongs. Do not do so! Stamp tongs are built with blunt edges as opposed to the angular, sharp edges tweezers have.
Stamp tongs are especially designed to pick up and handle stamps so that they do not damage or mark them in the process. Stamps, although they are often used in heavy duty postal service, are actually very sensitive artifacts.
If you are tempted to handle your stamps with your bare hands, DON�T! This will only increase the chance that you will damage your stamps. And of course, damaged stamps are a tragedy for any serious collector, especially if it is a rare stamp.
Magnifying Glass�These optical instruments help you examine your mini treasures up close and personal. Stamps tend to be tiny, and even the larger ones have text that is often hard to decipher. A good set of magnifying tools can help you spot damage, tears, and the overall detail of stamps. Being able to examine your stamps up close is important as the value of any stamp is largely dependent on their condition, however miniscule that may be.
Transparent Envelopes�If you are looking for transit storage for your stamps-a place to put them before mounting them in your collection, glassine envelopes are the way to go. Avoid using paper envelopes as they often have a high acid content that could very well damage your stamps over time. These envelopes do make great containers when you are mailing or giving stamps to other people.
Perforation Gauge�perforation gauges help stamp collectors count how many perforations a stamp has per 2-centimeters. Perforations are those jaggy semicircle holes at the sides of your stamps that are formed when the stamps are separated from each other. Perforations are another feature that an avid stamp collector needs to pay attention to.
Watermark Detector�this is very handy in viewing hidden, embossed or imprinted patterns that some stamps may or may not have. It is interesting to note that some stamps may appear to be similar, but upon closer inspection will reveal that they have different watermarks. Being a serious stamp collector means you have to pay attention to even the most minute details.
Stamp Albums�this is where you store your stamps and should be the centerpiece among your stamp tools. A good stamp album protects your stamps against chemicals, the elements, dust and dirt, etc. This is probably the one piece of equipment you will want to invest a little more money in. Shop around and compare products well before choosing a particular stamp album for purchase.
As previously mentioned, these stamp tools are fairly inexpensive to acquire. The only item you will really need to spend some serious money on is your stamp album. However the stamps you choose to collect may or may not be expensive depending on what you want to collect. If you are looking for a convenient way to purchase these stamp tools, you may want to consider purchasing a stamp collector�s kit. These kits often have the basic tools a beginning stamp collector needs to get started with.