|A few basic tools are all you
will need to start stamping. Tongs, which have rounded tips or a spade edge, will allow you to handle your stamps without
damaging them. This is especially true when handling wet stamps after soaking. Choose the tongs that are most comfortable
Hinges or stamp mounts can be used to mount your stamps. Stamps
can also be put into stock cards, which have sleeves. Folded hinges have a short and a long side. The short side is put on
the back of the stamp very close to the top edge of the stamp, and the long side is mounted to your album page. This allows
for examining the back side of a stamp for quality. If you can afford to purchase stamp mounts, which are like pockets, these
should be used for unused mint stamps.
Magnifiers are useful to examine stamp details, spot errors, detect
flaws and tears, or identify printing methods. Magnifiers come in many sizes and types. You may even use a microscope to examine
stamps. A 10-power magnifying lens, however, should be adequate.
As you become more expert, you will need a perforation gauge to
measure the teeth of a stamp. Stamps have many different perforations, and knowing which one you have could result in the
gain or loss of a sizeable amount of money. Stamp gauges are sold in metal, plastic, and even paper formats.
To use the stamp gauge, you align the perf holes of the gauge with
the perf holes or teeth of the stamp. When they match, the stamp perf is identified. Many gauges measure down to half-perfs
or less. It is also possible to use a stamp with a known gauge to identify other stamps by comparing the stamps.