I have a rather large amount (at least several hundred thousand) of US and World stamps in used condition with a good deal of MNH and MH, going as far back as the earliest issues up to the present.
I am focused on everything being sorted and categorized up to the 1930s maybe 1940s latest.
For both US and World stamps, I have been transferring them from older albums and glassines into primarily 102b display cards. (Yes I realize this has been expensive)
Each country has its own box.
After all countries are sorted and separated, I will begin to identify and catalog stamps by catalog number in each country box. (Many of these are already identified)
The purpose for this process is to inventory already possessed and identify the missing stamps so that I can attempt to add them into my collection.
In the future, I would like to do all hingeless albums, but this is where I am starting due to the large amount and varied assortment. I can say that almost every country existing past or present is represented here.
Any suggestions or advice to assist me in this tremendous undertaking?
Sounds as if you're already there! Everyone will have their own thoughts. My main one is that, once you have your stamps sorted, do not use printed or hingeless albums as a default. Printed albums are, by their nature, restrictive. Hingeless albums are both restrictive and expensive. If you have earlier stamps of some value, hingeless makes sense. For most stamps, it does not, and you will have albums that cost more than the stamps they house. Good luck!
I agree, it does sound like you already have a good plan underway.
I make and print my own album pages based on what I have and or want to collect. I try not to but, if I change something, I can simply print out a new page and transfer the stamps. Optionally, I also have a blank page with printed border which follows each for odds and ends related to that stamp or set for more freedom. For example the main page it for mint, the secondary page is for blocks, an FDC, PN# single(s), etc. I also pre-print precancel pages by issue (not by state/city).
I use mounts for mint and the more expensive items, archival "corners" for covers and hinges for lower value used. While I stage new pages I keep the stamps on stock pages otherwise they are stored in boxes and 102 display cards, glassines for short term storage and stock pages/books as needed.
Having said all that I only collect US and select few foreign pieces. Your WW collection would be a huge lift to create custom pages for everything... When researching creating my own albums, I came across several excellent free albums available for download on the web. Look for Jim Griffith's and Philosateleian (Kevin Blackston). There's another source for WW collections, the guy's name was Bill Steiner (www.stampalbums.com)... He has a tremendous number of pages for WW collections.
GeoffHa also makes another good point. Provide adequate protection and display but every dollar spent on supplies and supporting material is a dollar less to spend on stamps.
Phil, your current plan sounds fine. Once you settle on an album supplier, be sure you can obtain blank pages that match the albums. Blank pages permit you to depart from the fixed arrangement of the printed album and mount items that the editors chose not to include, for example. Examples may be watermark varieties, inking errors, unusual cancels and so forth.
Quote: do not use printed or hingeless albums as a default. Printed albums are, by their nature, restrictive. Hingeless albums are both restrictive and expensive. If you have earlier stamps of some value, hingeless makes sense. For most stamps, it does not, and you will have albums that cost more than the stamps they house.
I disagree with this. It appears to presume that pursuing lowest cost necessarily is the goal, but not all collectors are cost sensitive. I have noticed on this site that many responses seem to start from the standpoint that finding the cheapest way is the highest goal. This is a false assumption. There are many collectors who prefer a luxury approach and you should not hesitate to pursue if you find it satisfying. This is a hobby that you create for yourself and constant hand-wringing over costs may reduce your level of satisfaction. Of course, for others it's the opposite.
I have to object to corners being used for covers, whether the corners themselves are archival or not. I've begun adding FDCs and non-philatelic covers to my collection. One thing I've noticed is that almost every cover which was mounted in a collection with corners has discoloration. If the corners were the standard photo mounting corners, which were usually used in the 1920's through the 1960's, there's a light yellowing of the outline of the corner where it came in contact with the mount. Although it would seem that using archival corners would produce a safe environment, the archival corners produce a different effect over time. The area of the cover which came in contact with the archival corner mount remains pristine while the rest of the cover's surface ages, providing a contrast.
For now, until I determine how I want to organize and mount the collection, I've put the covers in archival sleeves, or for oversized covers into glassine envelopes. Time consuming, sure. Protects what I have, definitely.
When I do mount them, I will likely go with what will be the most expensive route and use full size mounts. This way, the covers will be somewhat frozen at the condition of deterioration they are currently in. All paper deteriorates, but that process is greatly arrested when the contact with the atmosphere is either arrested or minimized.
I understand the cost/benefit analysis here, and while I am comfortable with the cost, I understand it may not be for everyone.
There is only 1 rule for organizing your collection.
Rule 1 - There are no rules.
My personal choice is the vario padded 3 ring binders with slip cases and vario pages with stamp tags. This way you never have to worry if you collect varieties and you can mix in plate blocks with single stamps, so a lot more flexibility. Of course this is just my taste.
Quote: Any suggestions or advice to assist me in this tremendous undertaking?
Figure out what you want from long term storage. Once you know where you are going, choosing the tools of trade will be easier.
That said, as years go by, even after the most considerate of selection you will face situations when doubts will arise. For example I've used stock books for the past 30+ years (and have got 170+ to store my collection of 110,000 worldwide stamps), but from time to time I've pondered the possibility to switch into stock pages (more flexibility, but increased cost and potentially weaker durability), or Steiner pages (better presentation, but way too slow - and I really dislike hinges), or hingless country albums (the cost alone will give me heartburns). The grass will always appears greener on the other side of fence once you do something long enough, and maybe a bit of daydreaming helps to keep it 'fresh and exciting'.... But in the end, if you have found a system that truly works for you, then you have got no real need to change.
StampMan2002 - If the corners you are using at discoloring the item, they are NOT archival. I've been using archival corners for about 22 years and have no discoloration. I would never recommend using the old photo corners - not that you did...
For some covers I do have a sleeve which is trimmed and the mounted with corners. I have far too many to go with full sized mounts on all of them, although there are a handful that are not mounted and if I ever do, that would be the way but only due to their particular value.
If your covers are yellowing in the exposed area, I'd suspect the pages or if present, the interleaving that they are in contact with may be affecting them. If the paper is really acid free / archival safe it should not be causing damage in a relatively short period of time (20-30 +/- years?). Also, are the pages subject to sun light, smoking, humidity or other hazard?
As for the comments about cost: Exactly right, it's up to the individual to strike the right balance for them. My comments are limited to what "I" do. If that's of value to someone else, that's fine if not, that's fine too.
As I said, (at least for me...) Provide adequate protection and display but every dollar spent on supplies and supporting material is a dollar less to spend on stamps. In other words, strike a balance. Philatelist will tend to spend more on supporting materials. I have a great deal invested in tools, supplies and reference materials but I still try to strike a balance.
The purpose for me are the stamps, while I am very particular on display and storage I'm constantly reminding myself if I bought 'that' is it what "I" really want, how expandable is it? and is it safe?, do I like the looks?, whats the cost compared to the value of the contents?... etc. and is also why resigned to designing my own albums, which does keep cost down and gives me much more freedom for materials and display. "I", again this is just my thoughts, would never spend more on an album and mounts than the collection the contents are worth. No need for a $15,000 safe to house a $1500 collection, nor would I put a $500,000 collection cardboard box. But, I'd rather, in my mind, spend a little more conservatively on safe display and storage and spend more on the stamps and reference materials as needed.
While many may disagree, pre-printed albums are, for me, too restrictive or the ones that aren't are too expensive for a large and expanding collection. Designing 1000's of my own pages for a fraction of the cost over the past decade+ has also helped me gain more understanding and knowledge through the research I do in preparing the pages and I manage to derive a little more fun from the hobby combining creative computer use which I also enjoy.
Jconey, I wasn't referring to the way I'm mounting the covers in my collection when I talked about discoloration, but to the way the covers have aged before I acquired them.
I've had the unfortunate position of having to advise relatives whose collector family member had passed on how to best dispose of their collections. Unfortunately, many of these collections were subsequently stored in attics or closets which were not climate controlled. The covers which used the archival corners showed a definite whiter area where the cover came in contact with the cover while there was a slight darkening of the paper of the cover in exposed areas, even when the collection was mounted on Scott pages. I've attributed this to the heat/humidity and degradation of the paper, not to the album.
If I'm in error about the degradation of paper caused by heat and/or humidity concerns, please correct me. I'm never too set in my opinions to accept new ones.
I agree with you on the point that it is up to each collector to establish a balance on preservation/supplies cost versus what they are collecting. I also agree, that for me, I will have to design my own pages as I collect each issue in-depth, not just a single mint or used stamp. There are no albums available for that!
I would advise all collectors to do three things: (1) Keep tabs on how your collection is expanding, especially if you are a one country specialist. The preservation requirement for a collection of common mint or used stamps which have a nominal value don't require much need for preservation as there are so many of them available. If, on the other hand, as your collection advances, and you find you are starting to add more expensive or scarcer material, it would be a good idea to ensure that material remains in the same condition as you found it for future generations to enjoy it when it passes to them. This would require greater resources being allocated for supplies and preservation. Again, it's a balance. (2) Keep an accurate record of where you purchase your material from along with dates, names and prices. I use a spread sheet. It makes it very easy to determine approximate value for insurance and sale purposes, as well as providing heirs a starting point when they are not collectors. (3) Get all the literature you can about what you collect. The more you know, the better informed you are. I've found that every dollar spent on reference material has repaid itself many times over.
Okay, I'll come down off my soapbox and quit pontificating...
Any storage method involves a trade-off of some sort. Top-shelf hingeless albums are very attractive and easy to use but are also very expensive, and if you have a large WW collection, shelf space can become an issue. Stockbooks are probably the cheapest and most economical with shelf space, but there can be a lot of moving stamps around and/or time spent plotting pages out. Vario pages are probably the most flexible (and are also by nature hingeless), but again, you have to plot your own pages out and in many collectors' eyes, the presentation doesn't match in comparison to a printed album page. Steiner pages are inexpensive and attractively laid out but are probably the least economical with shelf space of any option.
You basically need to decide which of these factors are most important to you: aesthetics, cost, economy of shelf space, flexibility, and ease of use. No single solution is ideal for all of those things, at best you'll satisfy 2 or 3 of them. whichever of these is most important to you will point you toward your solution.
With stock books, the glassine interleave are a pain and stamps always move out With Vario, stamps stay more in place , but the pages are hard to turn in 3 ring binders Stamps always move in mounts of Hingeless albums Dealers card in a box, well you eventually reverse the box …