Looking after your collection

Stamps are very precious and need to be well looked after. To help prevent damage the best place to keep them safe is in an album.

When you stick your stamps in your album, follow these easy rules:

1. Remove stamps from envelopes by soaking them

Cut the envelope around each stamp. Set aside any stamps that are on coloured envelopes - these must be soaked separately as colours may run together and ruin the stamps. Soak the stamps facing upwards in a bowl of warm water. After a few minutes, gently peel the piece of envelope away from the stamp.


2. Use tweezers rather than fingers

A grubby mark or a tear can ruin a precious stamp and lower its value, so handle every stamp carefully. Tweezers are much better than fingers, which no matter how clean, will always leave a mark on the stamp.


3. Dry your stamps between sheets of blotting paper

As soon as you've taken the stamps from an envelope, put them between two sheets of blotting paper and then place a light weight on top. This will keep them flat while they're drying out. Be sure the stamps are completely dry before you mount them in your album.


4. Mount your stamps carefully

When you put stamps into your album don't stick them down like a stamp on a letter. Use stamp hinges or mounts. These will hold the stamps in your album without spoiling them.


5. Make your album interesting

Once you have mounted your stamps, use a magnifying glass to look at the perforations and coloured dots that make up the picture. You can then look up information about the stamps and write it into your album.  You can include things like the number and size of perforations, the date of issue, who designed the stamp, whether it has a watermark, and a few details about what the stamp was issued for - as a definitive stamp, or to commemorate something etc.

Handy hint:

Never throw away any stamps without finding out their value. You might throw out a stamp your friend has been looking for and was willing to swap five stamps for!