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Album Review: United States Albums

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Pillar Of The Community
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United States
3042 Posts
Posted 02/08/2022   10:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add apastuszak to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
My choice is still to use the Avery Framed View Binder:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006IEMA

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Free Ukrainian Stamp Album and modified Mystic Stamp Album Pages - http://www.stamphacks.com
Ukrainian Philatelic and Numismatic Society Member #1212: http://www.upns.org
Eire Philatelic Association Member #2869: http://www.eirephilatelicassoc.org/
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United States
1 Posts
Posted 07/09/2022   02:44 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rdw to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
So ... I'm new to this forum and was interested in this discussion because I, like many other contributors, am trying to decide whether to purchase a hingeless US album and, if so, which one.

After going through 11 years and 36 pages of posts (which were interesting to read) I've come up with the following conclusion: Buying a hingeless US stamp album is like buying a house or a car - you will never find perfection, and, in the end, other than 'hard' constraints, one generally ends up buying something which, under the applicable circumstances, 'feels best', i.e inherently subjective factors are often what makes the decision.

All that said, I still am unsure what album to buy. My 'gut' feeling, after completing my full reading of all these posts, is to get Mystic hingeless pages and, for a variety of reasons, put them in a high quality non-mystic 3-D_ring binder.

Where I am coming from: From a philatelic perspective, I am primarily a collector of stampless covers. However, a few months ago, a postal history dealer friend asked me if I wanted to look at a mainly mint U.S. stamp collection he purchased from the estate of a long-time customer. Although I didn't think I'd be interested, I thought "what the Hell" and took a look ... For reasons I have yet to understand, I was 'hooked' and plunked down a considerable amount of money to purchase the collection (at a good price). I then decided I would only focus on the 1847-1934 time period, and am now to the point where I have considerably built upon what I had to start with and am slowly purchasing single stamps to fill in the holes.

The original album I purchased involved Minkus album pages, with individual manually applied mounts, in a generic vinyl 3-ring binder. To this point, I've added a lot of newly purchased stamps into that album, but have found that I'm now running into having to add extra stamps to some of the pages or even print pages on my own on blank Minkus pages to hold issues which are not present on my minkus pages. I'm also not pleased with having to manually apply mounts. Over time these issues have led me to consider purchasing a hingeless album with the major classic issues arranged in Scott number order. That's the background for my getting involved in this forum.

I'd love to have an available option for a 'perfect' US hingeless album, but, again, after perusing the content of this ongoing discussion, I'm convinced that, at least for the present, such an option doesn't exist.
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United States
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Posted 07/09/2022   07:23 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Generally, when there is a discussion between buying Mystic vs Scott National and other preprinted albums it ends up being how much esthetics is involved in the purchase decision. Your stamp should be equally safe in my opinion. Mystic gives more options for expansion; If someone has the cash for Scott National they would likely collect varieties beyond what is in Scott so added pages would be used. The same could apply to Mystic but given its paper size (an esthetic aspect) Mystic offers easier options to create and add pages for booklet panes, etc.

I have the Mystic Heirloom and it qualifies as hingeless since I use mounts (no love for hinges old or new). The mounts typically cost under 4 cents each if you buy in strips and cut to size.

I also prefer clear mounts and if one did use hinges it blends in better,
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Al
Edited by angore - 07/09/2022 07:28 am
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United States
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Posted 07/09/2022   08:46 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add apastuszak to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I find hingleless albums to be somewhat restricting. I have a very large collection of stamp mounts and am able to hack together any pages I want to modify my existing albums. If I used hingeless albums, I would not have the mounts around, but would be forced to buy them. So, then I have the added expense of a hingeless album AND having to buy stamp mounts.

I switched the black stamp mounts back when I was in my 20s. I bought a copy of Linn's Stamp News and saw some pictures of stamps in black mounts and thought they looked really cool. I didn't even know clear mounts existed. Years later, I saw an album with clear mounts and REALLY liked it. But, I was heavily invested in black stamp mounts, and could not afford to remount everything with new mounts.

Now I'm 53. I could probably afford to remount everything. But I just don't want to go through the effort to do so.

Here is a pro-con list I made for some of the major album makers

Scott National

Pro:

1. Nice large pages that have room for a lot of stamps
2. Nice paper. Heavier than normal, and cream-colored
3. Room for every major Scott catalog number
4. Premium Binder
5. Space for every Scott Major Number
6. Scott Catalog Numbers on every page
7. Pages laid out in Scott Catalog order number

Con:

1. No stamp descriptions
2. Coils needs to be collected in pairs
3. Large pages are not a standard size, making custom pages difficult

White Ace

Pro:

1. Wonderfully beautiful pages
2. Nice thick heavyweight paper
3. Stamp descriptions for all stamps
4. Premium Binder

Cons:

1. To collect every Scott major number, you need to have 2 sets of se-tenants, one to mount as a se-tenant, and one to mount as a broken up set of stamps
2. Extremely expensive.
3. There are multiple supplements needed. The annual supplement only includes commemorative stamps. You need to buy separate supplements for definitives and booklet pane stamps.
4. Since each page contains custom artwork, making your own pages can be difficult
5. No Scott numbers on the pages
6. Pages laid out in alphabetical order based on stamp name

Mystic Heirloom

Pros:

1. Slightly thicker than normal cream colored paper
2. Scott Catalog numbers on each page
3. Stamp descriptions on left page, while stamps mounted on right page
4. Relatively inexpensive compared to other albums
5. Somewhat cheap binders
6. Page designs are somewhat simple and on US Letter size paper, making creating your own pages easy
7. Pages laid out in Scott Catalog order number

Cons:

1. Binders are cheap, but a premium option exists for more money
2. Some of the stamp layouts are not what you would expect. Se-tenants are broken up on some pages. Other se-tenants are strips instead of blocks of 4.

Scott Minuteman

Pros:

1. Nice large pages with plenty of room for stamps
2. Stamp descriptions for all commemorative stamps
3. All Scott Major numbers included.
4. Scott numbers on all the pages
5. Coil stamps don't need to be mounted as pair
6. Pages laid out in Scott Catalog order number

Cons:

1. Paper is VERY thin. I think it's just 20 lb.
2. Pages are bright white, which can be hard on the eyes
3. Binder and cheap vinyl
4. Oversized pages are difficult to hack, since you need a large format printer, which is expensive.

My preferred features in an album

1. Heavyweight cream colored paper
2. Room for all major catalog numbers
3. Stamp catalog number there AND visible after you mounted the stamp
4. Description for every stamp, even the definitives.
5. No "back of book" section. Stamps get mounted by year.
6. All major catalog numbers covered
7. You mount se-tenants in the collector preferred format and never break-up setenants

I learned that my perfect album does not exist. So I just need to pick which set of features I will live without. I also learned that my preferences do not align with a lot of other people. I made my own Ukrainian stamp album, and I have had several people tell me they don't want the catalog numbers on the pages.
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Free Ukrainian Stamp Album and modified Mystic Stamp Album Pages - http://www.stamphacks.com
Ukrainian Philatelic and Numismatic Society Member #1212: http://www.upns.org
Eire Philatelic Association Member #2869: http://www.eirephilatelicassoc.org/
Edited by apastuszak - 07/09/2022 08:49 am
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United States
10956 Posts
Posted 07/09/2022   10:05 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi apastuszak,
Nice summary write up, thank you.

In my opinion there is no 'winning' when it comes to stamp albums, page design, and page layout. It is similar to;
- trying to paint and decorate a living room
- trying to develop an application interface
- trying to design a website or webpage

All these things are highly subjective and quite feng shui, tastes and preferences vary with each person. But interestingly, many folks think that what they like should also be liked by everyone else.
Don
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
788 Posts
Posted 07/09/2022   2:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add classic_paper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This is hard to ask without sounding judgmental, but I'll try. Please believe that I'm asking for your insight, not to wag a finger: For those that want/need an album for US stamps to include Scott number and/or be in Scott order, why?
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Valued Member
148 Posts
Posted 07/10/2022   10:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tsmatx to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
My choice is still to use the Avery Framed View Binder:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006IEMA


I went ahead and purchased this binder -- the 2 inch version, as I've been on a never-ending quest for a really good binder. Good work by Amazon getting it here overnight. While it is noticeably better than Avery's regular albums, it still falls far below my expectations. The binder covers are not sturdy and the rings are thin, and the lock/unlock is weak. Oh well, I'll put it to use for something. I come across really sturdy 3 ring binders probably 80's vintage mostly from old baseball card collections which are built like tanks and I cannot find anything even close to them on the market today.

How would you say this compares with the Mystic Heirloom Hingeless binder? I am thinking about purchasing that, kind of surprising to hear the binder might not be up to snuff.

Also, on the topic of White Ace, I believe White Ace offers 2 different versions--"Complete" which has setenent issues as both singles and blocks, and "Simplified" which has them only as blocks and should be cheaper also due to fewer pages. But not sure Simplified is available for all years! Their product line is very confusing.
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