Albums, Pages, Tongs, and a host of other stamp collecting supplies help collectors to better enjoy their hobby. Some may be right for you, some may be utterly perplexing, but they all have a time and a place.
If you haven't noticed by now, I enjoy lists of organized information. Why should stamp collecting supplies be any different? My thoughts exactly and, besides, this category practically sorts itself :
1. Stamp Collecting Albums - this is the holy grail for many collectors. Neatly arranging new acquisitions into the orderly (or disorderly if you prefer) stamp album and filling a once naked slot is a genuine thrill. The hunt and mounting of stamps in an album is one of the most popular ways to collect.
I remember fondly all the childhood time spent searching for elusive stamps in piles of worldwide stamp mixtures in the hopes of filling a spot in my cherished Scott Junior album.
2. Stamp Album Pages - Many collectors use stamp albums in binders which makes it easy to add new album pages and rearrange the collection however you want.
Most of the big stamp album companies also produce their own pages which are available for purchase. For the price conscious collector, if you wait long enough or check with local stamp dealers, you may be able to find a stamp collection already mounted on nice pages. Often, you can make a deal and pay just for the stamps, basically getting the albums and pages for free. Talk about two birds with one stone!
3. Postage Stamp Collecting Supplies - these are tools used to hold, analyze, magnify, and store stamps. The stars of this category are tongs (think tweezers to pick up stamps safely), magnifying glasses and bright lights (to better examine the stamp visually - down to looking at individual paper fibers), mounting materials (hinges and hinge-less stamp mounts) and stockbooks (stamp storage for rows of stamps in a neat display).
4. Cover Collecting Supplies - For collectors of first day covers and all manner of postal history some specialized materials come in handy. Most notably, because of the large size of most envelopes, cover collectors frequently store their collection in albums specially designed for covers. Also, covers are frequently stored in plastic, rectangular protective sleeves.
I think we're just starting to scratch the surface here. I can't wait to hear your recommendations and favorite stamp collecting supplies with all those hidden gems out there for safely (and inexpensively!) storing, displaying and collecting stamps.