I can only speak as a worldwide collector. The marriage of the Amos Scott catalogue, and William Steiner pages is unsurpassed. A place for everything, and everything in its place.
I see members wishing Album pages with images, you have it placed before you. Open the Scott catalogue, and there it is.
One can mount stamps 10 years apart, and have a page to accomodate, find a stamp in between, and just print the single page, and slot it in.
To the dedicated one country collector, I can see they just don't measure up. Bland and featureless. One can see by other members here, including "PostmasterGS" German Album pages, the pinnacle of stamp presentation. One has to know one's limits. These are far beyond what I could produce.
Pros - price is excellent value @ $50 for access to all files; comprehensive, regularly updated; can be modified as needed; made for regular size pages, so easy to find in standard binders Cons - presentation is somewhat bland and "bare bones"; I find the pages have too many stamp boxes Pro or Con - they follow the Scott order - pro or con depending on whether you like how Scott does it (I don't, especially for semi-postals/air mail).
If you are a general worldwide collector, or seek an inexpensive way to house a country collection - which is not your main focus - and you don't want to invest the time/effort in creating your own pages - it's an excellent option. Probably the best out there IMO.
I have several Latin American countries in Steiner layout printed on fairly nice paper. They are not a main focus for me, they look fine, and I'm happy to keep them there for now. I wouldn't keep my Canada or French African on them.
I use them for all of my country collections (none of which are primary focus for me - I'm a postal history guy and I do the stamp collections for fun). The value proposition is excellent. I don't always agree with the layout (sometimes too busy, frequently top heavy instead of the more centered approach I personally favor) and the boxes are occasionally a bit off size but it's hard to beat in terms of flexibility and ease of access.
It depends on what an individual wants. Steiner pages are ideal if you wish to stick stamps on pages without any regard for aesthetics. They're intended for printing on A4 or US equivalent. That's not a size that is attractive in comparison with most standard stamp albums. They're knocked out with no real thought as to the look of the printed page - instead of being vertically centred on the page, the boxes tend to be arrayed at the top, leaving white space beneath. And the impulse to follow catalogue numbering means that there's little thought given to, say, framing a vertical stamp with two horizontal ones, or vce versa. One could, of course, purchase the very expensive Palo pages, which reproduce Steiner's design on large pages with a different font. Equally, one could put lipstick on ones pig, give her a pedicure and douse her in Chanel No 5.
Does this matter? It depends on whether you care what your collection looks like. Many won't, even to the extent of putting attractive, perhaps expensive, stamps on cheap-looking pages. But you really can do much better yourself, with blank album pages and a packet of hinges or a mount strip. In that context, the one benefit I can see in Steiner is giving a good sense of stamp size, if that's not evident from the catalogue.
I shan't froth at the mouth about the inanity of separating air-mail and charity stamps ...
(some of this was in a post made yesterday in another thread)
I went with Steiner pages for completeness (more spaces than Scott based upon collections purchased), able to print pages when I want, lay flat design, and more affordable (no odd $ize pages, binder$, and $lip ca$es). You can edit the PDF's to make custom pages without a special printer. You can choose the paper you want. You can append catalog numbers to the PDF's prior to printing using Acrobat Reader.
For completeness, Steiner often includes minor varieties that Scott albums does not. In the modern era, it includes space for mini-sheets (usually a minor variety) that Scott ignores.
Some Scott page layouts (think more International) are as crowded as Steiner. Steiner does not butt stamp frames together like Scott. I do not like the appearance if you use black mounts on Scott pages. To me Scott looks best with clear mounts or hinges,
I have purchased many collections on Scott pages and have no desire to change.
The primary negatives raised are more aesthetics (bland, use of ring binders) and not function with a touch shaming by some. If you want a printed Steiner on larger paper, look at Palo albums or stampalbums.net.
If you collect a limited number of countries, create your own pages.
I use Steiner pages for all my non-US collections (Mystic pages for US). I like a clean page without the ornate borders one sees on most printed albums. Because of the PDF format, they are easily customizable. I can add comments or illustrations (watermark examples etc.) where I want. The pages also allow me to make spaces for varieties without having them stuck on the margins like barnacles. Yes, sometimes the native pages appear crowded but that is easily fixed with a few clicks of a PDF editor. I have control over the appearance of my pages instead of trying to fit my collection to a predetermined format. For countries that have fewer stamps, I can print the pages I need instead of having to thumb through empty pages. I use black, split-back mounts for all my stamps. I think it makes for an attractive page without all the distractions. To each their own. Dan
Experienced stamps need a home too. I'd rather have an example that is imperfect than no example. I collect for enjoyment, not investment. APS Member #223433 Postmark Collectors Club Member #6333 Meter Stamp Society Member #1409
Steiner pages get a big THUMBS DOWN from me. I made a for better or worse decision; around 1983-84; to go with the Scott International, Big Blue, pages and binders. At the time, I was pursuing an 1840-1965; Parts I through V; world wide collection. Now, with world wide gone and my remaining collections being in specialty interest areas, it's not worth the time to remount tens of thousands of stamps just for sake of change.
Big Blue, Part 1, has not been sufficient due to too many missing stamps, especially no full sets. For the pre-1940 period, I use blank and quadrilled pages to mount stamps. I use Showguard mounts for higher catalog, or stamps on very thin paper. I prefer the black mounts so the stamps show up better.
I use some of the Part II, III, IV, V, Big Blue pages, but again need blank pages for souvenir sheets, varieties, postal history, etc. I also have made use of carefully trimmed down Scott Specialty pages.
Steiner pages, for me, saved me from giving up on stamp collecting all together. Yes, they are bare bones, but that's what I like. Too much wordiness, too many frillies, ornate frames and other graphics tend to draw my attention away from the important part.....the stamps. Deciding to collect worldwide gave me plenty of choices of albums and other storage devices, but all of them fell short of my individual needs and wants. I would love to be able to collect on a worldwide level with top of the line albums, but by the time I came up with enough money to buy them, I'd be in my grave. I guess I could have just filtered my stamp collection down to a number of countries to collect, so that I could give all those nickel stamps the red carpet treatment, but that would have defeated the whole purpose of what I wanted to collect.
Of course, the other problem with all the myriad of printed albums is non-flexibility. No matter how complete they all try to be, there is ALWAYS something else that there is no space for. Choices? Well, you COULD just put it in the margin, like we all use to do, or just stick a random blank page in, which wouldn't match the other pages. OR, you could design a page that fits with the scheme of the other pages and fills the need you have. This is a lot easier to do with Steiner pages, BECAUSE they are designed simply. It is much easier to come up with a custom page that mimics a Steiner page, than it is to try and mimic some of the expensive pre-printed albums. I actually LIKE the fact that Steiner leaves space at the bottom of some pages. It leaves room for easy expansion, by mirroring the page using AlbumEasy (or whatever program you like), and just add whatever you want on to the bottom of the page, whether it's a block, pair, on piece or similar.
If you wanted to add something to a well filled page, you'd have to redesign the entire page PLUS add a second one for the overflow.
No, Steiner pages won't appeal to everyone, but they are a perfect fit for me.
And like I said..........without Steiner pages, I'd probably have given up on stamp collecting all together. And I'm just NOT done yet.
Quote: No, Steiner pages won't appeal to everyone, but they are a perfect fit for me. And like I said..........without Steiner pages, I'd probably have given up on stamp collecting all together. And I'm just NOT done yet.
You are not alone, I have been contacted by several collectors, with almost identical sentiments. I also guage what's coming in, when I buy. Steiner designs on all sorts of paper thicknesses, with mounts and varieties. It's great to see pages identical to ones collection. So easy to follow the format.
Following this thread with great interest. Everyone has different tastes and preferences, of course. I've heard a lot about Steiner pages and wanted to know more about them. But, from all I've read here and elsewhere, I'm convinced that, for me, the best option remains the use of good quality stock books with black pages. They provide the ease of use; the space that gives complete freedom for arrangement, movement, replacement; the great look of a well arranged page; etc., that I like. Printed albums all feel too restrictive, and the need for mounts or hinges seems a nuisance. And empty spaces for stamps that I don't (and may never) have look unappealing. Tastes differ, as I said, and stockbooks suit mine, but from what's been said above it seems that, if I had to choose printed pages, Steiner would probably be my choice.
I like the simple look of Steiner: not ornaments, not too much text. Also the completeness and, not being too crowdy pages, you have always room for varieties. You can print the pages that you need, when you need. No endless empty pages. What I don't like? Being European-minded, I don't like neither the segregation of charity ("semi-postals" for Scott) and air mail stamps, nor the absence of space for perforation varieties on Scandinavian stamps. I use cląssic, European, albums for pre-1950 or pre-1960 Scandinavia and Germany and Steiner for later isssues. My exception is Switzerland, housed wholy (by now) in Steiner pages.
For my, Steiner are an easy, cost-efective solution for collecting a lot of countries, without spending too much Money.
How interesting. I have a great fondness for the Scott segregation, of Airmail, Semi Postals, and Postal Tax etc. I consider that a remarkable divergence / inspiration, from most catalogues
It helps me be so organised with the 6 albums of Turkey I have. I find it so organised to see all the Airmail stamps in 1 contiguous group. as with the extensive Postal tax catalogue. Yet, I seem to be in the minority, in this appreciation.
Scott International albums lack too many stamps, as we all know, including stamps that are not that hard to find. Their paper used to be too thin, but it has been improved so the pages aren't as likely to tear as they once were. And the holes have been moved more inboard with the same good result. Pages in an International album look good. Stamp arrangements are generally aesthetic even if some pages are a little overcrowded. Scott Specialty albums are the same with good looking page layouts, quality paper, and an overall look of sophistication and quality. I've never much liked most of the European albums. Lighthouse pages, as high quality (and expensive!) as they are, are pretty bland, just rows of stamps. Davo pages are bright white and very plain looking. Schaubek seems a little better, though I can't quite remember why.
So where in this Universe of Stamp Album Pages does Steiner fall? I'd say more like some European albums, but not as elegant. Steiner's page borders are too plain, one reason Palo Albums made their borders a little fancier when they licensed Bill Steiner's pages. There ought to be a page border option for Steiner pages, something more like the fancy border used on Scott Specialty pages. Palo Albums (with Steiner layouts on them) have larger pages which spread stamps out more. On "normal" sized 8.5 x 11 or A4 pages, Steiner's page layouts are often too crowded. Too many stamps on a page ruins the appearance of any album. Remember those childhood albums we had with the 50 or more stamps per page? They were overwhelming to look at, cluttered, kind of a mess. Steiner isn't nearly that bad, but he's a little too close too much of the time. I'd say half his pages could be divided in two and look much better -- two pages for each one of his. Not always, but often.
I did create one 8.5 x 11" Steiner album. I printed out all the pages on 65# paper, punched three holes in them, and put them in some beautiful padded Lighthouse Vario-F three-ring binders. I didn't like the result much. Too small. They looked like stock books. The pages were difficult to turn (the rings sometimes grabbed the holes). The stamp layouts and plain borders lacked any elegance. Of course, small pages isn't Bill Steiner's fault. I could have printed my pages on larger paper, and I could have put them into better binders. So could you.
Nevertheless, I use a lot of Steiner pages. Mine are printed on larger Scott Specialty-size blank paper, not 8.5 x 11 but 10 x 11.5". That size helps spread the stamps out. Stamps on that size page are much nicer to look at. Now if I could just solve the problem of that bland page border . . . .
I like the fact that Steiner's pages have an identifying a name above stamps, something more album makes should do. It makes looking at "whatever that stamp is about" much clearer -- especially if a stamp is not only in a foreign language but a foreign alphabet.
What's great about Bill Steiner's pages is that they even exist at all. They are decent-looking pages covering every country in the world. Anyone with about $50 can print them to make a stamp album.I bet Bill Steiner has brought more new collectors into stamp collecting than just about anyone else. Before Steiner pages, starting a stamp collection meant you had to get over the hurdle of spending a lot of money for an album. With Bill Steiner's pages, that's not necessary any more. For that alone, he deserves a medal from some stamp organizations.
But his pages are pretty bland. They lack elegance. Look at some old albums from a century ago if you wonder what "elegance" in stamp albums is. And on the smaller paper they're usually printed on, the pages are way too crowded. But the size of the paper people usually print them on is not his fault. It's the fault of collectors -- or maybe the makers of computer printers.
I use Steiner pages to fill in gaps in my Scott Specialty albums. In that larger size, they look much better. If there were a way to have a Scott Specialty-like border printed on them, I'd like them even more. There's a reason classic era albums had large pages with nice borders.
Thanks, Bill, for your amazing and massive collection of stamp album pages. They've benefitted the hobby tremendously. You deserve some kind of award. But I'll only use your pages printed on larger paper -- and when I can't find pages which match the album I'm already using. And if you could add a fancier border option I'd appreciate it.
In my opinion the lack of education on paper buying and good archival practices is causing harm to the hobby. How hard is it to write a simple web page to educate hobbyists so they can make informed buying decisions (or simply add a few links)? This oversight is something that should not go unsaid. Some collections that have been mounted on cheap paper will become the 'Crystal Mount' collections of the future. Don