Robert Murray Stamp Shop, Edinburgh
Established 1977
Retail shop, auctioneers, mail order

Stamp Albums for Children

There are various basic approaches to arranging a stamp collection. Here we look at those which are most suitable for junior collectors.

The three main types of album are;
Traditional stamp albums with fixed pages and printed headings
Traditional stamp albums with loose leaves, either headed or plain
Stockbook or stockalbum types

Traditional stamp albums with fixed pages and printed headings
This is what most people would think of as a "junior stamp album". Fixed pages, country names at the tops of the pages. These are laid out to accommodate what the publisher would think of as an "average" mix of world stamps. So an album published in the UK would have more space for British stamps, and for the larger Commonwealth countries, than a similar album published in, for example, Spain. (So, if you live outside the UK, think about this before buying.)
Examples of this type; Stanley Gibbons "World Stamp Album", "Postbox", "Transworld".
Some of these are also available in starter packs, which normally also contain stamp hinges, some stamps, an introductory booklet, etc.

Traditional stamp albums with loose leaves with country headings
There are still some albums available of this type with country headings. These are similar to the type shown above, but the pages are in a ring binder. The great advantage here of course is that you can expand the album by adding extra pages for whichever countries you have filled. You can also add pages for small thematic collections and so on. So if you happen to have a friend buy you a present of a hundred Latvian stamps during a visit there, you are not restricted to just the small space provided in the original layout of the album.
Examples of this type; Stanley Gibbons "Global Stamp Album", "Worldex", "Swiftsure". .

Traditional stamp albums with plain loose leaves
Probably the most popular overall because of the flexibility you have.
There are numerous types of these. Hopefully this table will help to explain the differences.
Usually the cheapest, but the rings are more likely to wear the page. With any of the ring binders, it is easy to add or move pages.

Good compromise between 2 and 22 ring - pages sit more evenly, wear is spread, but slightly more expoensive than 2-ring.

Multiple-ring (normally 22-ring in the UK)
More expensive than the other ring types, but the pages site nicely and wear at the holes in minimised.

Springback (where there is a spring clip right down the binding edge) Traditional and maybe even old fashioned, some people like this type because it feels like "a real stamp album", some because it can give you good flat pages with a large mounting area. The main disadvantage is that you really have to take the pages out of the binder in order to work at them.

Posts ("pegs") usually two posts, with a mechanism to secure the top of the post to the binder.
Very secure method of holding the pages, and with virtually no wear at the holes. Usually allows for large capacity of pages in a binder. More difficult to move pages around, as you must remove all the pages from their pegs in order to get other pages in.
Commonest style of page, normally with a faint quadrille design on one side (small squares to help in the layout).

More expensive, as cheap black paper tends to migrate colour or chemicals. To be safe, better quality paper has to be used. Gives a striking visual appearance, but is difficult to write up any details and information.

Always present with black pages, and sometimes available as an option on white, this stops rubbing between the face of the stamp and the back of the previous page. Not as much of a reason to be used now compared to earlier years when more stamps had fugitive ink. No advantage if plastic mounts are being used.

Some pages come with a linen hinge between the main body of the page and the binding edge. This allows the page to lie more flat, but such pages are much more expensive.
Hinges or plastic mounts.
The biggest choice of methods of mounting stamps is between stamp hinges (cheap, traditional, adds little bulk) or plastic mounts such as the Hawid or Showgard brands (more expensive, adds more bulk to the pages, but if properly used will give full protection to the stamp without making any mark on it, and almost always used for mint stamps).

Examples of this type; Barrington "Prestige", "Adaptable", "Standard", Stanley Gibbons "Simplex", "Senator", "Universal", Prangnell "Mult-o-Ring", and very many more.

Stockbook or stockalbum types
Many people go for this method, largely because of the ease of use. The stamps fit into strips across the page. Most collectors use stockbooks as a method of storing stamps waiting to go into their collection proper, or for keeping duplicates. Examples of this type; Compass, Windmill, Stanley Gibbons, Lighthouse, and many more.
Advantages and disadvantages of the fixed page stockbook are as follows; Advantages; Very easy to use, quick and simple. Stamps can be moved around as often as desired without making any marks, and very suitable therefore for expansion or rearrangement. Disadvantages; Fixed number of strips per page, so larger stamps will very often overlap. Stamps not fixed in any way, so if the stockbook gets bumped or dropped it is possible that stamps may come out of position. Possibly perversely it has the risk, due to the ease of use, of losing some of the enjoyment to be had from stamp collecting (if you are forced to spend more time on the layout and mounting of stamps, you are more likely to appreciate their interest, designs, quality of production, and so on). Some stockbooks come with semi-transparent ("glassine") strips which slightly obscure the design of the stamp.
The loose leaf type (such as Prinz System or Hagner) has the flixibility of coming with different page formats, so stamps can be put onto pages to match their size. This type has a firmer grip on the stamps than you will find in the fastbound stockbook type, and with the black pages give a good appearance with little effort.

Our overall advice for albums for children.
Age from pre-school to about 8 years.
Best starter is a fastbound album with country titles. A stockbook would be easy to use, but might not give the full potential interest.
Age range roughly 8 to 11.
Fastbound album very suitable, perhaps a slightly bigger one at the older age. Loose leaf (printed or plain) suitable but maybe with some help.
Age range approx. 12 to 15.
Larger fastbound might still be ok, but probably better with a loose leaf album.
Age 16 plus.
You're probably best to look at this as if it were for an adult.
Any age.
Stockbooks/stock album systems are suitable for any age, but in the knowledge of the pros and cons.

Where to buy stamp albums. All stamp shops should have a range of junior stamp albums. Sometimes other hobby shops, bookshops, and department stores will have something. In case of difficulty, we can supply from our shop, over the counter or mail order.

Robert Murray Stamp Shop
5 & 6 Inverleith Gardens
Scotland EH3 5PU
Tel. 0131 552 1220  or  0131 478 7021
or UK local rate number 0845 0500 886
How to Order
Mail Orders are accepted by post, telephone, email, or fax. We accept payments by cash, cheque, Visa/MasterCard, Switch/Delta, and some foreign currencies.
Basically, we charge [the advertised price of the goods] plus [the actual price of postage] plus [50p per order handling charge]. 
Full details can be seen at our How to Order page.
Our Shop
is open five days each week, and customers are always, of course, welcome.
We carry very wide stocks of the whole world - much, much more than is listed on our website.
Full shop information at this link.
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