The Stamp Hinge

The stamp hinge is simply a small piece of thin, but tough, paper to which a special gum has been applied. Stamp hinges come in a variety of sizes and styles and are in almost universal use. They may be purchased at all stamp dealers and at most five-and-ten-cent stores. They usually come in packages of one thousand and range in cost from twenty to twenty-five cents. Today practically all stamp hinges are good and, if handled correctly, will not damage your stamps. When making a purchase select hinges that are described as "peelable" - that is, the gum on the hinge has the property of being able to let go if the hinge is carefully peeled from the stamp. Some hinges have this property more than others but the basic factor in making any hinge peelable is the amount of moisture it receives when you apple it to the stamp - the less moisture the better.

The new hinge is flat and usually gummed on one side. It is prepared for use by folding it at about one third of its length. The short end is then moistened slightly and applied to the stamp so that the folded edge is just below the perforations at the top (or side for very tall stamps). Next the long end is moistened and with the tongs the stamp is placed in its proper position in the album. Again I caution you to use only a very small amount of moisture and apply this moisture only to the extreme ends of the hinge. If your stamp is properly mounted (as shown in the illustration) the stamp may be gently pulled toward you and then tipped up so the back may be inspected at any time.

How to use a
How to use a hinge:
1.Fold hinge.
2.Apply hinge to reverse side of stamp.
3.Place stamp into album

It is not necessary, or desirable, to wet the whole hinge. Just slightly moisten the extreme ends of the hinge as shown in the illustration. The less moisture the better. There is a type of stamp hinge that is gummed on opposite ends on opposite sides of the paper. Such hinges are not folded but are used flat. They come in dispensers and are preferred by many people. While hinges have been the only method of mounting stamps available to the collector until recently, a new method is now known. Many collectors, especially of unused stamps, prefer a mounting that will not contact the gum on the reverse of their stamps. Three types are the most popular "Crystal Mount," "Visitrays," and "Protective Mounts." "Crystal Mounts" are long tubes of acetate with a gum strip along the top of the tube, it comes in 6 heights, the collector cuts it to suit his needs for length. It has the disadvantage of being open on both sides and stamps tend to slip out as the album pages are turned, Visitrays come in special sizes for the stamp, but require that the collector do the final cutting and folding of the mount.

The mount has a black background and must be moistened for mounting in album. The protective mount comes completely setup, ready to use, in exact size for all U. S. stamps and many foreign stamps, it has a self sticking adhesive on it, hence is the easiest mount to use. You simply place your stamp in mount, remove protective covering from back of mount and place in your album space. Mounts give a striking appearance to your collection and protect your stamps from damage.

Stamp mounted in a protective mount
Stamp mounted in a protective mount.

The beginner, however, should mount his first stamps with the ordinary stamp hinge so as to become proficient in its use. By far the majority of collectors use the hinge even for the most expensive stamps. If you desire to remove a stamp from an album page once you have placed it in position, be sure to wait until the gum on the hinge has become thoroughly dry. Never attempt to remove a stamp as soon as you have mounted it. To do so would probably tear either your album page or your stamp. When dry, however, the stamp may be removed with ease. Many advanced collectors first mount their stamps on a mat and then mount the mat in their album. This method allows the stamp to be removed as often as desired without damage for it is permanently mounted on the mat. Mats may be made from any stiff thin paper cut to the size of the stamp to be mounted. However, such tricks, while good to know and of possible use to you when you decide to build an advanced and important collection, should not be attempted at the beginning stage. Remember you are now undergoing your basic training. After graduation will be time to consider a serious collection, a matter discussed in a later chapter.

Stamp Collecting Tools
Stamp Tongs - Perforation Gauge - Millimeter Rule
The Watermark Detector
>>The Stamp Hinge
The Magnifying Glass