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Collecting Stamps: Accessories For Stamps
OF EQUAL IMPORTANCE IN THE practice of stamp collecting are the working tools, or accessories. This can, of course, be an overdone field, but there are certain basics which should be in every stamp box, drawer or den.
The first, in the opinion of this writer, is hinges-those small bits of gummed paper which are intended to hold stamps in place, and yet come off without damaging the stamp or the album. This is one of the worst places for economy, since a thousand-odd hinges cost from 15 to 20 cents. Among those recommended are the Luxor, Superior, Merit and Fold-O-Hinge.
Second on the list should be a good pair of stamp tongs for handling the stamps with the least chance of creasing or soiling. Tongs have a greater price range, depending upon the quality of metal and size, but there are plenty of good tongs available at 25 cents apiece. There are three general styles-spade, rounded and pointed-but it is believed the spade type is safer for the novice.
Next would come the watermark detector, usually a black tray or cup to show up the markings better-particularly when a small amount of benzine is placed in the detector. These are priced at 25 cents, 60 cents and one dollar.
Perforation gauges might well be third on the list. Since so much depends on perforations, as noted here earlier, it is worth while getting a good one, particularly since there is a difference of only a few cents. Paper perforation gauges are all right for the start, but metal is preferred. One form of metal perforation gauge has what are known as hyphen markings (diamond shaped) and retails for 20 cents; another follows the more normal round-hole perforations and costs 25 cents. Then there is the plastic or glass combination perforation gauge and magnifying glass ($1.50) and the RotoGauge which has a magnifying glass held over a revolving perforation gauge ($3.50).
Magnifying glasses are considered necessary evils by many collectors, but they surely avoid eye strain and make it possible to see more of the detail and the inscriptions on stamps. These glasses range roughly from $1.00 on up depending upon the lens and the case.
Other philatelic accessories are pocket stock books, pocket stamp wallets, glassine envelopes, color gauges, stamp identifiers, cellulose acetate mounts and a lettering set for those more advanced.