Basic Tools of the Stamp Collector


LS150 – 4 ½” Round-Tip Tongs

Handling stamps with your fingers is risky business. Each time you hold a stamp between your fingers you’re subjecting it to oils and dirt, plus the possibility of accidental folding or creasing. For that reason, you should invest in a good pair of tongs. There are many types to choose from, but generally beginners are better off with a short, rounded-tip model. It’s important to know that regular tweezers should not be used, as the sharp, angled tips could damage your stamps.


LS120 – 1,000 Pre-folded Hinges

Hinges are a popular way to hold stamps in place on album pages. Pre-folded stamp hinges are easy to use, inexpensive, and suitable for many postally used stamps. For mint and more expensive stamps, collectors often prefer stamp mounts.

Learn more information on stamp hinges and mounts.

Perforation Gauge

LS130 – Perforation Gauge

A really inexpensive but important tool is the perforation gauge. This measures the number of “perfs” per two centimeters on any stamp. With some look-alike stamps, this is the only way to tell them apart.

Learn more information on perforations

Magnifying Glass

LS162 – 3x Power Magnifier w/ 6X Spot Magnifier

It doesn’t take long to realize that a tiny variation in design can mean the difference between a common stamp and a rare one. For this reason, you’ll want to own a magnifying glass. To use a hand-held glass, hold it between your thumb and forefinger, resting two fingers on a hard surface. This lets you freely move the glass, but keeps it steady at the proper level for looking at the stamp. Keep the glass at an even height so it’s in focus, and look through the glass with both eyes. Do not squint or close one eye.

Watermark Tray & Fluid

If you collect older issues, you may want to check for watermarks on your stamps. You’ll need a small watermark tray and a bottle of watermark fluid. Place your stamp face down in the tray, and pour just enough fluid over it to cover. The watermark then shows up as a dark design on the stamp back. Never use water on a gummed stamp to detect a watermark as that will remove its gum! Click here for more information on watermarks.

Get More Tools

This is just a partial listing of supplies that are available to help you enjoy collecting and get more out of your hobby. You can find all of them listed in Mystic’s U.S. Stamp Catalog, along with other helpful items. It’s easy to order your stamp collecting supplies by mail, phone, or on our online shop.

Click here to get a copy of Mystic’s U.S. Stamp Catalog. Virtually all US postage stamps are illustrated in full color so you’ll know what they look like – even the rare ones. You’ll also find behind-the-scenes stamp stories as well as all kinds of helpful stamp information. And it’s absolutely FREE to you as a member of the Mystic family!

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