Tools of stamp collecting

Stamp tweezer

Stamps are fragile and are best handled by using a special stamp tweezer, which has a thin and flat grasp.

Stock book

This is an album-like book with thin, horizontal transparent acetate strips across the pages, allowing one to place stamps behind the strips.  The stamps are not fixed down and can be moved and re-arranged as required.

Loose stock pages can be bought for ring binders.  Loose pages with sizeable pockets can be used to store envelopes (covers).


A variety of magnifying glasses is available to stamp collectors, from a small round hand-held glass to a wide magnifyer mounted on an adjustable arm.  Some collectors prefer a torch-type magnifying glass with battery light.

Perforation gauge

This is used to measure the sizing of the perforations around a stamp edge.   Perforations listed in stamp literature first give the perforation measurement horizontally (left to right), and then the figure for the vertical perforation.

Specialist viewers

A watermark detector is available to check on the watermark used in the paper upon which a stamp is printed.  An ultra-violet lamp can be used to view the phosphor lines or phosphorescence of a stamp.

Blotting paper

Blotting paper is useful when drying stamps that have been soaked off paper.


Albums are available with pages on which details of stamp issues are printed, with spaces for the insertion of the relevant stamps.  Other albums may have pages with feint quadrille patterns, or you could simply use blank pages to mount stamps and covers.

Stamp mounts

Stamps are not affixed to album pages but are placed in protective mounting strips, which have an adhesive backing and clear acetate at front.  For envelopes larger protective mounts are used, or small corner mounts with adhesive at the back (like photo corners).

Colour key

A fold-out colour key is available to compare and describe colours of stamps, much like the colour sample keys used for paint.


A stamp catalogue is an essential tool to identify a stamp and check on its date of issue and some other details.  Most catalogues indicate values of stamps in mint (unused) condition as well as used (postmarked).  The values indicated are usually the prices charged by the dealer publishing the catalogue, and may also represent a handling fee rather than a ‘value’.

Where to get the tools for stamp collecting

Consult a stamp dealer in your area or one advertising stamp collecting accessories.   Many public libraries have stamps catalogues available in the reference sections.