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STAMPS, IN THEMSELVES, ARE wonderful things to collect, but they're poor orphans without a home-subject to dirt and damage. No one can consider himself a collector without an album, even though it may be extremely modest, or even home-made.

Printed albums vary considerably in scope, and in price, but they are excellent for the novice or the intermediate collector. Most of them are profusely illustrated and serve as guides in identification. One of those most widely used is Scott's Modern Postage Stamp Album which provides spaces for 11,000 stamps and is priced at $2.00 bound and $2.50 loose-leaf.

Another is the Educator Album, published by the Washington Press, and a third is the new Empire Stamp Galleries' Worldwide Postage Stamp Album, with spaces for 15,000 stamps, loose-leaf, priced at $3.95.

Scott's International Junior Stamp Album has become the International Album, and consists of two volumes, one from 1840 to 1940, and the other from 1940 to 1949, with supplements. Vol. I, bound, is priced at $6.00 and $9.00 for the loose-leaf edition. Vol. II comes in loose-leaf form only, and is priced at $8.00.

In the foreign field there are also the Scott Specialty Albums in nineteen units and based upon logically collectible groups of countries. Prices range from $8.00 to $24.00 per book.

There are also printed albums, for United States stamps alone. The Scott American Album is priced at $2.50 bound and $3.00 loose-leaf, while the Scott National Album, looseleaf, is priced at $10.00. Then there are the White Ace printed albums for U.S. Commemoratives in singles and blocks, plate number blocks and airmails; the Scott U.S. Commemorative Album ($8.00); the American Commemorative Stamp Album ($4.50); the Scott U.S. Plate Block Album ($7.00), and the Empire Album for U.S. Plate Blocks ($2.00).

After a while the progressive collector finds he has surplus stamps, not provided for in his printed album, and that he is adding larger pieces and covers. When this happens the logical step is the so-called blank album-usually looseleaf and with plain or quadrilled pages. The latter are most generally used because it aids in proper mounting and lettering. To describe the various blank albums in size, quality and cost would be an almost impossible task. It is probably sufficient to state that the prices range from a few dollars to roughly $So.oo per volume. The factors which determine price are, of course, quality of paper, manner of production and type of binder. Blank albums are the ultimate, but should always reflect the contents. It would be foolhardy to spend $30.00 on an album to house a collection worth little money, and it would be equally silly to buy a $5.00 blank album for a collection the value of which might well run into thousands of dollars.

There are also special albums for special fields of collecting, such as Pan American stamps, British Jubilees and Weddings, the U.P.U. issues, etc. In this field, there are also special albums for the collectors of covers, (stamps on the original envelopes) and there are folders for those who gather full sheets of new stamps.

Complementing the albums are the stock books, also available in wide price ranges, for the storing of unmounted material and duplicates, and what are known as "approval cards" used by many collectors for the same purposes. Stock books and approval cards are actually of heavy paper, with pockets in which stamps (and covers) are stored.

A "Demonstration Collection" album for 3-ring binder, covering the educational features of stamp collecting, explaining the various terms used and showing how various collections may be formed, has been published by Elmer R. Long ($3.00).

William C. Denhof has provided pages (3-ring) for U.S. ordinary postage and airmails, illustrated by means of material in the great Ashbrook and Brookman books.

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