A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Sunday, February 5, 2017

An Unusual Approach to a Classical Period Album

1840-1952 Classical Era Collection: 1920-1929 Section
Scott International Brown & Vario Pages housed in Scott Specialty Binders
An Unusual Approach to a Classical Period Album by Ron Olin

Jim's Note: Readers may be aware that I have had reservations about using only stock pages, such as Varios, for a collection. To me, they lack the historical context, fine presentation, and "permanency" of a printed album. 

But no one can deny Varios and other stock pages present a clean and muss-free way to house stamps, without the need to use mounts or hinges, to say nothing about the arrangement freedom they provide.

And, what if there was a way to combine, in a synergistic way, the advantages of both presentations?

That is why I was most taken with the "outside the box" fresh approach of Ron Olin, who recently wrote a comment for the post Which Stamp Album is best for WW Collectors?

I've asked Ron if he would explain his interesting arrangement, and he has graciously agreed.

USA 1893 Columbians: "Brown" Page mirrored with a "Vario" Page
A couple of years ago, after deciding to step back a bit from a money-management firm that I founded some 30 years ago, I began looking around for a hobby that could expand or contract as time and inclination permitted. 

I tried becoming an AFOL (Adult Fan Of Lego’s) person but, after acquiring the pieces and expanding Lego’s Frank Lloyd Wright house kit to quadruple its size, I found further projects somewhat unsatisfying.  

I then remembered the joy I felt as a kid identifying, sorting, and moving my couple of thousand item world-wide stamp collection from one new album to another (Scott Modern, Ambassador, White Ace, Blue Scott International etc.) and decided to investigate the state of Philatelic pursuit in current times.  I discovered Ebay’s facilitating opportunities, stamp collecting blogs (especially Big Blue, Filling Spaces, and John Apfelbaum’s blog), internet based wholesale stamp dealers, the album choice conundrum, etc.  I relished the decisions and choices represented, attacked them in earnest, and have never looked back.

19th Century Scott International Brown Album
After deciding to become a Classic World Wide Collector (1840-1952), and purchasing several fairly advanced collections housed in the Browns and Stanley Gibbons New Imperial albums, I faced important and deterministic decisions regarding the packaging and presentation of my collection.

I had a barely touched, pristine, three volume set of the Scott Blue International (through 1960) left over from my teen years.  But I remembered having a few stamps even then that could not find a home, and so I rejected the somewhat limiting decision to “collect to Big Blue” (although I highly respect the discipline and satisfactions therein contained).    

I signed up for the Steiner pages, and played around with the PDF pages and reformatting possibilities.  

Classic 19th Century Egypt
From International Scott Brown Album
But I kept coming back to the warm, satisfying feeling I had when viewing the yellowish sepia pages of the Nineteenth Century Brown Scott album which housed one of the collections I had purchased to get started.  

The pages were fairly well populated, and the stamps had been mounted with care (a combination of Dennison hinges and some clear mounts), but the thing was literally “falling apart”.  Loose glassine interleave pages had been inserted often to separate all the stamps mounted on two sides of the pages, but some items would catch on each other and be pulled off the page.  Used stamps were hinge mounted beneath their unused brethren, and the album was “bulging”, as you can imagine.  

This was all very charming from an historical perspective, but far too messy and unkempt for my tastes.  I decided I would love to collect to this album, since it covered all major Scott numbers.  But the prospect of a substantial collection, so housed, offended my sensibilities.

So now you are thinking I would soon discover the Subway reprints of the Classic Scott Brown albums, printed on one side on thick paper, spread across 19 volumes and a lot of shelf space.  Right you are!  This must certainly be the way to go, or so I thought.  

But wait!  I already had some 40,000 or so stamps to identify, classify, cull out, catalog, AND MOUNT.  The good Dennison hinges cost two cents apiece when you can find them on Ebay.  

A better choice for the money, in my opinion, is Hawid clear mounts at about four cents a stamp, which allows you to easily change out and upgrade your collection over time.  However, there is no way around it: you have to carefully cut the mount, insert the stamp (or vice versa), and attach it to the page.  It wasn’t the $1,600 or so bucks for material that bothered me so much as the time and tedium involved in such an undertaking.  I imagine some people love this part of stamp collecting, carefully mounting their painstakingly obtained treasures, but I am not one of them.

I love filling spaces, but hate mounting stamps.

1840-1952 Classical Era Collection: 1840-1900 Section
Scott International Brown & Vario Pages housed in Scott Specialty Binders
Another wrinkle, as I formulated my choices, was a Stanley Gibbons New Imperial Album (since out of print) which housed an advanced British Colonial collection I purchased.  Here stamps were densely mounted on one side of a page only, on numbered squares, with the facing page containing descriptions of the stamps to be mounted in each of the numbered squares (dates, watermarks, perforations, pictures, etc.).  How civilized and organized are the British?  

They only missed one thing.  The page with numbered squares should have been a black Vario Stock page with the requisite number of rows of clear plastic in which to insert one’s carefully obtained acquisitions. 

Here I digress.  Mounting about 30 stamps each on two pages of an album costs $1.20 with Ebay purchased Dennison hinges and costs $2.40 or so in Hawid mounts.  A new two sided Vario Stock page can hold the same number of stamps and be had for about fifty cents.  The more important consideration, in my opinion, is the time and effort it takes to mount 60 stamps versus inserting them in stock pages.

Therein was born my decision regarding the presentation and packaging of my collection, and an idea that I have not previously encountered in my stamp blog and internet Philatelic reading.  

Canada 1851-1869: "Brown" page mirrored with a "Vario" page
I have found that I can purchase relatively pristine original editions of the five Scott Browns on Ebay for less money than Subway charges for their reprint pages.  (I did need to purchase the sixth Brown from Subway as it apparently never existed as an original edition.)  I have become adept at breaking down the binding and square cutting the binding side of each of the original bound pages.

Scott Specialty 3-Ring Binders (Primary Collection)
Vario G Binders (Duplicates)
Each two sided page is then spared any mounting related attack and instead placed in a Scott specialty page protector and the protected (and beautiful, historic, sepia) pages are then placed in a new, Green Leather(ite), hidden metal hinged Scott Specialty 3-ring binder to which I apply my gold, laser printed, removable, custom labels.  In my opinion, my “shelf space” looks great and I have the utmost of flexibility in organizing and expanding my collection as I see fit.

Costa Rica 1923-1924: "Brown" page mirrored with a "Vario" page
Between each two sided, protected original Brown album page, I insert a black, two sided Vario Stock sheet with the requisite number of rows to accommodate the rows of stamps illustrated on the facing album page(s).  It is a very simple and expedient matter to insert each stamp in my collection opposite its place (and description) on the historic Brown album page.  Each stock page shows off its contents simply and beautifully, in my opinion, and each stamp is kept in historic context by glancing at the pristine facing page (which is quite attractive and well preserved in its own right).

Duplicates: 1840-1900 Section - In Vario G Binders
For me, at least at this stage of my Philatelic development, this approach suits me well.  I can focus my time on selecting, cataloging, and musing over my acquisitions and can avoid the messiness, and tedium, of the parts of the process that I don’t like.  Everything stays perpetually neat and organized, and presents well.

Expansion from 1940 to 1952 is handled by patient accumulation of relevant matching Scott Specialty album pages and placement back to back in page protectors.

I maintain my duplicates in a less expensive and attractive, but similarly organized structure. Here I cut down the album pages to fit in inexpensive 8.5 by 11 inch Office Depot protectors and use Vario G Binders. If I were collecting to the "Big Blue" pages, this is probably the approach I would use for my primary collection.

Vario G Binder for Duplicates
Scott Specialty 3-Ring Binder for Primary Collection
For completeness, I should mention a few items as an addendum.  They say perfection is the enemy of practicality.  There are a few “perfections” to my approach (or perhaps “deficiencies”), the resolution of which have so far eluded me, and which I will now chronicle in the hopes that others may have some suggestions or alternatives.

First, Vario black, two sided stock pages are sized at 8.5 by 11 inches.  Scott pages and page protectors for 3-ring binders are 10 by 11.5 inches, which I believe is a much more attractive sizing.  The Vario pages are easily placed in the binders and are large enough to handle the presentation area for stamp placement within the Scott page border, but I wish they were closer to 10 by 11.5 inches in overall dimensions.  This is an aesthetic rather than a practical issue, but it “bugs” me a bit.  The Jumbo StarSheet stock pages offered by Subway purport to be closer to the right size, but they have pockets on one side only, requiring more shelf space (and page turning) and the cost is about eight times more than Vario for the same coverage using my implementation.

USA 1893 Columbians: "Brown" Page mirrored with a "Vario" Page
These are Duplicates housed in Vario G Binders
The second issue has to do with whether one collects unused, cancelled, a mixture, or both.

On less populated album pages, one can envision an attractive presentation on the Vario stock sheet of both unused and cancelled versions of the same stamp.  I have decided that there are attractive aspects to both unused, unblemished stamps and their brethren with interesting, and sometimes historic, cancellations.  Further, there is a certain authenticity and aura related to items that have traveled to exotic destinations and been affixed to actual correspondence, so I have decided to collect both unused and cancelled versions of each stamp.

However, on many Brown album pages, particularly those related to the nineteenth century, there would just not be enough room on the Vario stock sheet for both unused and cancelled versions to be adequately displayed.  The solution here is probably to acquiesce to the use of Hawid mounts for the overflow of unused/cancelled dual items on the actual facing album page under sheet protection.  This would represent a lot of work, particularly tedious work of the type I don’t like, but a substantial collection containing both unused and cancelled versions of most stamps might truly be striking in such a presentation.

Anyway, that is my two cents worth.  Any commentary and observations regarding the above approach would be greatly appreciated by this admittedly neophyte collector.

Ron Olin

A Portfolio of Brown-Vario Country pages (Click and enlarge for examination)

Hungary 1920-1925 Semi-Postal: "Brown" Page mirrored with a "Vario" Page

Lithuania 1921-1922 Air Post: "Brown" Page mirrored with a "Vario" Page

Luxembourg Semi-postal 1927: "Brown" Page mirrored with a "Vario" Page

Martinique 1920-1923: "Brown" Page mirrored with a "Vario" Page

Peru 1920 : "Brown" Page mirrored with a "Vario" Page

End of Portfolio....

Big Blue & Vario Page for Canada
Jim's Comment

Most impressive!

Ron may be relatively new (as an adult) to collecting, but his approach to housing his collection in a novel way is genius itself!

It occurs to Ron and myself that his arrangement could well be used for any printed album or pages. That opens up a myriad of possibilities.

Note: All scans and pics are courtesy of Ron Olin, except for the Brown Egypt page and the 19th Century Brown Album cover scans. 

Comments appreciated!

Inquiry About Lindner-T or the like overlay sheets...

Here is what they look like....


  1. WOW!

    let me say that again....WOW!

    Ron, your solution is absolutely GORGEOUS and definitely deserves a round of applause. Definitely provides the best of both worlds, you keep the "aesthetic" of the album page while gain the benefit of the flexibility of the Vario page.

    (and funny enough, I am coming around to something similar for my collection, though rather than involving album pages I am printing page layouts on paper using Excel to go either before or after the Vario page it is meant to mirror. )

    1. If one would like to see what Gene's(DJCMHOH) pages look like, go the the Stamp Community Family discussion thread at:

    2. Thanks Jim for the shoutout....I am working on a blog post about it for my blog I hope to have up this weekend.

    3. Gene- Should be good...looking forward to your blog post!

  2. Definitely nice 'outside the box' thinking :)

    A question to Ron... Did you at any point consider or explore the possibility of using transparent overlay stock pages(Lindner T or similar) instead? They are used here in Europe to some extend, mostly by exhibition collectors with their displays and to some extend with pre-printed Lighthouse pages too (likely the pages/templates would not match Scott or Steiner).


    1. Keijo

      I uploaded a pic of the Lindner T overlay sheet at the end of the blog post for those that are visual learners. ;-)

    2. Here is a link about the Lindner T system..


  3. I looked briefly at the Linder T (or was it "Safe") system, but my recollection is that it was (1) very expensive, but more importantly (2) it did not provide worldwide coverage for the 1840-1952 period. Please correct me if I am wrong on coverage, but it seemed geared to European countries and perhaps colonies?

  4. Upon further investigation of the Lindner T system on the link provided, I find that my comment about coverage may be off base. They claim availability for every country in the world, which may or may ot include every country and/or colony that ever issued stamps.

    So coverage may be subject to investigation, but a quick look a cost emphasizes that concern. The premium pages are about $4 a piece. The T-blank stock pages look to be about $6 a piece. If I have 6000 pages, this translates to something like $60,000 plus the binders for the primary collection. I suppose this is not out of the question for some, but I would rather spend the money on stamps and about 5% of this amount on albums to house them.

    But, thanks for giving me/us something to think about.

    1. If Palo albums offers the Lindner T system as an option, then it would cover the world, as Palos are often/usually based on Steiner, which indeed does cover the world.

      But Ron's comments about expense makes it unlikely a WW collector could afford it, at least the Palo/Lindner option.

  5. Great post and a very interesting setup, Ron. I had a similar idea after seeing pictures of the old Gibbons albums but never considered using existing album pages as the illustrations. Genius!

    Regarding some of your questions / issues. Have you considered the Lighthouse "Grande" stock sheets? According to my lighthouse catalogue they will gain you an extra inch in width for an extra $0.20 per page before discounts.

    Good job getting your Varios for 50 cents per page. In my experience, The best I can do is $.90 CAD per page plus shipping, when I buy 150 pages. It sure adds up. But I never considered the cost of buying more old Dennison hinges; that adds up too.

    I'm a happy hinger but I often get in the same mood as you in terms of 'this is taking too long!' It seems to me you've got a very good thing going there.

    Best wishes,


  6. So, like the proverbial “dog with a bone”, I have been “studying up” and thinking a lot further about some of the responses so far to this blog entry and the implications.

    First, I did look earlier at the Grande pages. In addition to being more expensive, they measure 12.25 inches in height, which eliminates the effective use of the mental hinged Scott Specialty Binders that I like so much.

    Second, the cost on E-bay for 200 new Vario pages has gone up from $99.00 to $104.95 plus shipping, but you are still in the range of 50 cents or so a double sided page.

    Finally, the Linder T-Blank system gets more interesting as I study it. They sell background inserts which measure about 10 by 8.5 inches and you can buy “double sided” T-Blank pages for $5.28 each. Theoretically, you could just use cut-down Brown album pages for your “inserts” and do two Brown album pages for each double sided T-Blank page. Using this approach, the T-Blank system is only 10 times more expensive.

    In addition to the money difference, which is considerable for a 6000 pages or so collection, my problem is that I just don’t like the look of the plastic sleeves attached at the side to a heavy, cardboard like piece of paper. I like the slick page protection of a sheet protector, and a full black background page for the stamps.

    But I have to say, if I had studied the T-Blank system earlier, I might have given it some serious consideration. To each his own, but I still suspect I would have ended up where I am today.

    What a great discussion. Please keep the thoughts and observations coming.

    1. I did some digging on the Amos site to figure out what you meant about 'metal hinged' specialty albums. I see now. Didn't know about those. :)

      I just assumed a setup using Grande pages and Grande binders.


      PS - Given the state your current collection is in, I wouldn't change a thing! Just throwing out suggestions for those of us who are early enough into this that we could shift a little.

      PPS - I'd also like to hear more detail on your binder labels. Haven't seen anything like those before either.

  7. Great(and timely for me) post! I collect in some ancient Browns as well - but only to 1920. The bindings on both the 19th C and 1900-1920 are totally shot which have at times caused damage to stamps as the pages slide when you put the album back on the shelf. I've thought about going to a bookbinder, but it doesn't resolve that basic problem of too many stamps sliding against eachother when the book is closed and album bulge.

    I thought about doing something similar to you Ron and without doubt you have developed a great way to present your collection and enjoy further collecting. My dilema is I don't want to further damage my stamps by removing them from the album and setting them into stockpages. Let's just say that I don't want to give my stamps any more thins that they might already have!

    Here's my latest idea:
    Cut pages out of the browns. Cut them down, but not too much where it doesn't leave enough margin for the old ornate scott frames around the pages, and insert them into custom pouches made by this company: http://www.atlanticprotectivepouches.com/
    I need a clear pouch to hold a 9x11.5 brown album page and no company that I've found yet makes something that fits this. Then I will buy 3 ring binders that will fit the pouches comfortablly. That's my current challenge. I'll let you know if I solve that mystery.


    1. Mason-

      Nice idea, and thanks for the link.

      But, wouldn't a Scott specialty page protector work to house (slightly) cut down Brown pages? The ornate frame is still intact. That is what Ron does, and you can see the pics of the result. Or, are they not quite large enough for your purposes - especially with stamps mounted on them?

    2. Jim,

      I think that could work. I don't mount duplicates on the pages and so stay within the ornate border. Will investigate!

  8. Ron,

    Great idea! Alleviates the need to make all those little white labels to ID your stamps when using Vario sheets.

    Actually, your nice looking binder labels caught my eye. Especially the ones on your Vario G binders. Looks great! Can you give some more detail on what you used and how you made them?

    1. Hi ChrisW,

      I have an HP Ink Jet printer. I have laid out an excel sheet with the cells set up to match the size of the desired label(s), one for the Scott Specialty Binder and two for the Vario G Binder.

      I print full sheets using Avery #6470 removable Full Sheet Labels which print out 8.5 by 11 inch pages which contain as many labels as fit on a page. I then carefully cut these up, peel off the protective back, and stick these “removable” labels on the binder backbone.

      The trick is the background color and the font color. I play around with custom mixes of blue, yellow, and green as per excel background and font colors on the ribbon at the top of the excel sheet. The idea is to get the letter fonts close to “gold” and the background a compatible, good looking match to the basic binder color. This is done by trial and error, and you must print out and match until you like the look. It is never a perfect match to the basic binder color, but a slight amount of contrast can actually be quite attractive. If you study the pictures in detail, you will see what I mean.

      I hope this answers your question. I had a lot of fun doing this, and it is relatively cheap to change these labels as whim and circumstance dictate.

  9. Hi Mason,

    Actually, I kind of already did what you are considering. I started with a full set of Browns with mounted stamps. In my opinion, they were too messy with duplicates, dirty pages, etc. to keep the way they came, but I knew I had a many month project ahead of me in placing the stamps in my primary and duplicate collections. So what I did was cut all the pages down to the pretty Scott Brown borders, which by the way, measure 8.5 by 10.75 at the extremes. These fit nicely (and look nice, in my opinion) in Office depot PVC free, standard sheet protectors which cost only ten cents a piece. They went immediately into my “duplicate” Vario G binders to await inventory, valuing, and eventually a place in my primary collection when merited. Perhaps you should consider trying this. After a while, one learns to really like the look. Often, I grab one of my Vario G Duplicates binders for an area that I haven’t yet moved through, and greatly enjoy just flipping the pages and admiring the stamps.

    1. Thanks Ron, I think I will take a look at that option. I see that you maintain the Scott borders with some comfortable margin. And I like the Scott specialty binder idea. Would match my US collection format

  10. Oh wow! They look much more robust in the pictures. Great job!

    1. I was referring to Ron's explanation of his binder labels. I guess I messed up with which reply button to hit so my comment didn't nest correctly. Sorry!

  11. This is an interesting and very unique approach to creating and labeling stamp albums. I very much like some of the things you are doing, particularly "reusing" the Scott Brown album pages as a reference to the other page with the stamps mounted on it. That's clever.

    But to my taste, at least, it's also a bit sad that the "real" album page, the one from the Scott album, does not end up with any stamps on it. Maybe I'm being too sentimental? I'll admit to never much liking plastic (vinyl) stamp pages except for storage, and although I do use a few hundred Vario pages for stamp storage (in about 40 three ring binders), I can't bring myself to use them for my actual album. And Scott's ring binders seem much more industrial to me, more like office binders, than the binders with smaller rings used in Europe. So I've avoided them as well. My preference is just more traditional. I don't mean this to be a criticism, only a different point of view about what makes an album look classical and attractive. My preference for mounting on paper pages is not the "right" way, just mine, and I can appreciate a number of your ideas. Yours is certainly one of the more clever approaches.

    I like the way you've used the Stanley Gibbons identification page idea using Scott classic pages. I like the ease of sliding stamps quickly into the Vario slots, though I still prefer paper pages even with the added work. Paper or plastic, there must be an alternative, and of course there is -- hingeless pages but they are expensive. You're right that hinging and mounting go slowly.

    AS for the Lindner system, it's always seemed to me too much -- too heavy (literally) having a heavy vinyl page overlaying a paper page. So much "stuff" just to show off stamps! I think the Lindner idea is to allow looking at the back of stamps. I really don't want to look at the back of my stamps. So I've never found it appealing. Your approach is a little like this, but better in that it's really nice to look at the Scott Brown pages opposite the stamps. So I'm a little "allergic" to vinyl. I just prefer paper for its elegance. lighter weight, and classic qualities.

    Your use of Scott binders (plus the Lighthouse binders) also looks good, better than the office supply store binders sometimes used for the growing number of Steiner page collections. Stamps need larger pages so they can be spread out and look well presented, one reason classic album pages tend to be larger. Your search for larger sized Vario-type pages acknowledges this, I think.

    I also love your label-making idea and may try it. It's clever and solves the problem of not being able to find labels for many countries and not wanting to use a label maker which isn't a very elegant looking approach.

    Your system is cleverly designed and very effective even if I wouldn't use all parts of it.

  12. Hi DrewM,

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful and insightful observations, as I can see we share many of the same proclivities. Let me comment on a few specifics.

    I also like to see stamps on a “real” album page, it is just that I started with more the 40,000 items that would need to be mounted. The problem I have with hingeless pages, in addition to their cost, is twofold.

    First, I like the Scott Brown/Specialty page look and feel, and don’t like any other format I have seen offered hingeless. Also, the Specialty pages have the Scott catalog numbers printed, which is worth a great deal to me. For those Specialty pages which I have and which duplicate the Browns, which is a considerable number, I switch them out to get the Scott Catalog numbers. On remaining Browns, I neatly write them on the page in very tiny lettering.

    Second, I don’t like seeing a blank page on the left when the album is open. I haven’t seen any hingeless pages utilizing both sides of the paper.

    The solution I would have without Vario pages, to which I may eventually evolve, is to use Scott Specialty page protectors and insert a two sided Brown page, or two one-sided Specialty pages, in each protector. I would then use strips of Hawid mounts for each grouping of stamps on the album page to create my own “hingeless” album under sheet protection. (This would eliminate the nagging problem with individual paper pages tearing loose from the rings of the Binder, as plastic sheet protectors more or less eliminate this phenomenon. This would also make “flipping” through one’s collection a great pleasure, as each “flip” would present easily and without hassle twice as much to see.

    “Thickness” is another issue, as you have noted with the Lindner approach. You don’t need thick pages when you are behind a sheet protector. The Brown pages are printed on two sides and are on thin paper, which is great. When I use Specialty pages instead of the Browns, I tend to copy the Specialty page on a large flat bed printer on paper which matches the color, but not the thickness, of the Specialty pages.

    In the back of my mind is the possibility that as I fill up Vario Pages with both unused and cancelled versions of each stamp, I may then selectively convert over to the “hingeless” solution above described where each page flip would show me two versions of the same beautiful Brown/Specialty album page, one with unused stamps and the other with cancelled versions. This way I could work into the mounting issue at my leisure, with no pressure what-so-ever.

    Finally, may I suggest, if you haven’t yet, that you obtain an example of the new, mental hinged Scott Specialty 3-ring binder? It looks anything but “commercial” to me. In my opinion, it is an order of magnitude improvement over the old green Scott Specialty Binders that we are all familiar with (3-ring or post), and is both beautiful and durable (especially with pretty labels). I absolutely “hate” the way even small amounts of use make the old green Specialty album binders immediately show their age such that I don’t even like to pick up the album in the fear that I will increase further the degradation.

    1. You've inspired me to order a Scott Specialty 3-ring binder and some page protectors to see how it looks.
      I'll just be sliding the Brown pages into the protectors - no transferring to stock sheets. Like I said, I don't want to give my stamps any more thins than they already have by lifting/transferring! In the beginning I made the mistake of using Prinz hinges, which have to be the worst thing to do to a stamp.

      I need to do something before more stamps get damaged in the old books. Will post when I get things set up.

  13. Jim - this post might be your all time record for comments!?

    Just a thought to keep in mind that having pages for a WW collection in page protectors will make adding new stamps a bit of a pain. For a small collection I have on Steiner pages in page protectors, I will usually accumulate my stamps in a stockbook until I have a full page's worth or close to it, then mount them and place the pages in protectors.

    Just something to keep in mind.

    1. Hi Chris

      Just checking for recent posts, I note that..
      Had 35 comments, so impressive for this post, but not a record...yet. ;-)

      Yes, pulling a page in and out of a page protector to add stamps one by one is rather annoying in my view (and dangerous for the stamp too?).

  14. Chris, AWESOME job, would you be willing to share the Label Font and R/G/B Settings for the Titles. I also use the New Scott Binders and would love to use your Labels. Again nice job

    1. With all the participants, it is difficult to know who to ask questions of. For that inquiry, it would be Ron (Brown Derby). ;-)

    2. Hi Todd,

      The Red/Green/Blue settings that I am currently using are 255/204/0 for the "gold" lettering, 0/20/10 for the Specialty Binders, and 0/0/0 (i.e. Black) for the Dark green Vario G binders. Black looked better than anything else I could come up with because the Vario binders are such dark green.

      I only spent a half hour or so of "trial and error" checking out and making these selections, so if anybody comes up with what they think are "better" matches, please let me know. (Of course, this is all rather subjective.)

      Best of luck.

  15. Todd,

    Sorry, I missed at first that you also asked for the Font settings of the labels as well as R/G/B.

    I chose Calibri lettering for all parts of all labels. I used size 36 for the years (e.g. 1840-1900), size 16 BOLD for "POSTAGE STAMPS" and "DUPLICATES", size 26 for the Specialty album countries, and size 25 BOLD for the Vario G country names. Again, all subjective.

    1. Thanks so much Ron, that's just the info I was looking for as well.


    2. Ron,

      Thanks again for all of the Label Information. I use the Steiner Pages for my British Commonwealth Collection. I print the pages out on Scott "Style" Archival Sheets in a 10.5 x 11 format and keep them in Scott Metal Hinge Binders (38 and counting). But the one Detail Missing has always been nice looking Labels. Thanks for Solving that Problem. You are a "Rock Star' my Friend.

  16. Ron, Thanks for your comments about your album "system".

    You have at least a few ideas I had never thought about like double-facing pages. I may consider incorporating some into my collection. I'll get one of the metal-hinged Scott ring-binders and see if I like it better.

    I've been using older style two-post Scott binders (without metal hinges) -- being a traditionalist and all. I like the two-post style and have never been bothered by the pages "curving" as everyone points out about these albums because I limit the number of pages in a binder, and I use cardboard spacers, as you really should. You're right that the hinges (if you can even call them that) on the non-metal hinged binders often don't hold up well over time. However, I have a few older Scott binders, including my original Scott National album which goes back 50 years to my teenage days, that are still in very good shape with no hinge damage. I'm pretty careful with my albums, I guess. But the metal hinged binders do look sturdier.

    Scott binder prices (plus slipcase) are not the least expensive choice. I did a little price survey with slipcases and shipping costs recently, and albums and slipcases from a few other good album manufacturers like Schaubek and Davo, proved less expensive. Scott blank pages are also much more expensive than those sold by these other manufacturers. It's on the printed album pages, however, that Scott beats them all. Scott's printed page prices are affordable. Those of the other manufacturers are pretty astronomical.

    I also really like the look of Scott pages, page borders, layouts -- and the cream colored paper. Most European album pages are on bright white paper (not my favorite) and their borders and page layouts are austere.

    I mention the issue of different albums because most collectors use one brand so their "system" is cohesive -- and looks better on the shelf.

    Going with Scott binders, as you have, involves a significant outlay of money, about $75 for each binder + slipcase. Multiply by the number of volumes your collection requires, and costs rise quickly. If you need 20 volumes, "just" binders + slipcases will cost you around $1500. And you still don't have any pages!. This has to be the major reason the average collector uses standard albums. Even a set of standard Big Blue binders and pages from 1840 to, say, 1970 will set you back over $1000. So, choose your album brand wisely.
    And hope you don't change your mind later!

    I use Scott specialty albums for most of my major collecting countries. I've tried to reduce costs by using used (sorry "pre-owned") Scott binders and slipcases in good condition. If I need to, I fix a wobbly hinge with dark green "gaffer's tape" which looks good and sticks tenaciously. It goes neatly around the hinge in one continuous loop both inside and outside. A few snips to access the hinge "wire" and post holes is all it needs. It's barely noticeable, feels good to my hand, and the oldest has lasted for 3-5 years with the tape intact.

    The two-post older-style Scott binders I like don't come with metal hinges (or do they?). For ring binders, I like smaller rings better. European ring-binders have more rings and smaller rings which looks better to me. I'll look at the smaller Scott 3-ring metal-hinged binder.

    You're using original Big Brown pages which means they're thin so they don't bulk up your albums. Collectors who use your system with Vintage Reproductions Big Brown pages should note that those pages are on heavier paper and are one-sided. The heavier paper would make for a somewhat thicker album. I don't think printing on only one-side would be problem.

    Thanks for this information about a clever album system. There are some very good ideas here.

  17. Thanks DrewM,

    I really enjoyed you comments. Just a couple of points. I buy my mental hinged Scott Specialty Binders for $34 at iHobb or Subway, and I don't buy the slip cases, as my judgment (subject to review) is that you don't need them with my system and mental hinged binders.

    Using the thick Vintage pages adds a lot of thickness. When I have a thick Specialty or Vintage page instead of a two sided Brown album page, I make a copy on matching color but thin paper and put them back to back (I suppose I could print on both sides, but that is too much trouble and reduced flexibility later.)

    You like the two post binders, but I don't (to each his own.) I believe the mental hinged binders are only available as 3-ring binders.

    I enjoyed reading you post, as you make some very good points.

  18. Is there a year in the Scott 1840-1940 catalogs that roughly approximates retail value today?

    David Carter, Tucson

    1. Hi David

      Interesting idea. ;-)

      The problem, though, might be twofold.

      First - "Retail" value is all over the map - from 10% (buying collections) to 100% (individual stamp from a dealer), depending on the circumstances.

      Second - Any catalogue from the past will only imperfectly reflect the retail prices of today - some stamps have gone up, others have gone down, others stayed the same (relatively speaking).

  19. Hello,
    I really like this method of utilizing the elegant Scott Brown pages. I'm having a dickens of a time cutting the pages from the album. I removed the cover off of one album and took out the "spacers", then had the local Fed Ex print shop cut the binding off and trim the pages so they will fit in 8.5 x 11 page protectors. If they were careful I would retain the entire border. They were not careful :-(. Any hints for cutting these pages out of the album?

    1. I (Jim) haven't had any experience with trimming the Brown pages to fit page protectors. Sounds like a bit of a chore. ;-)

    2. I was hoping Ron aka Brown Derby might give me a couple pointers. Thanks.

    3. cchutt - Ron guest authored this post two years ago, and unfortunately, I don't think he is still monitoring the comments section here.