Stamp mounts are plastic strips, gummed on one side, designed to safely display stamps in an album. The mounts are cut, usually to the size of the square frame in the stamp album that the stamp fits into. The stamp is then inserted into the mount, the gummed back of the mount is lightly moistened on the back edge, then the mounted stamp is pressed into the appropriate space in the stamp album.
There are no adhesives touching stamps mounted in this way, and they can be removed from the mount for examination and then re-inserted into the mount, without the possibility of any physical damage to the stamp. I mount my ENTIRE collection, mint AND used, with clear mounts.
There are two types of mounts, those with a black background and those with a clear background. Both types have wide usage, though I prefer those with a clear background, as they do not distract from the appearence of the stamps on an album page. It's a personal choice for the collector though, depending on which is more pleasing for them. Everyone interprets "beauty" in a different way, and collectors want their stamp displays to be "beautiful" looking.
The major brands of mounts used in the U.S. are Showgard or Scott Mounts, which open in the middle on the back side. Elsewhere, the major brand is Hawid, which opens at the top. Most of the elaborate pre-mounted stamp albums utilize clear Hawid mounts in them. There are other brands, as well, which are just as good.
Mounts can get expensive, especially if you need them for modern stamps, blocks, souvernir sheets, or covers, that come in many different sizes, from very small to very large. When first buying mounts, the price can be staggering, but here's a strategy. Buy several packs of the three or four sizes you will be using most often and maybe a pack or two of the larger sizes you will need that will be used less often. As you use your mounts, remember to re-order the sizes you are getting low on, and that way, the cost won't be so shocking.
For the person that collects 19th Century or early 20th Century regular issues, almost all the stamps will fit into 24 mm, 25 mm, or 27 mm mounts. With normal sized commemoratives, both horizontal and vertical, most will fit into 27 mm, 30 mm, 41 mm, or 44 mm sized mounts. With the size I use most often, which is Showgard 25 mm, there are 22 strips in a package, and you can get about eight regular issue size stamp mounts out of each strip, thus one package of this sized mount will provide for about 176 stamps.
If you move your stamps from one album to another or remount them for exhibition purposes, the following idea may save you a lot of money buying new mounts. A stamp mount could be used up to four times, before having to be replaced. On the first mounting, moisten the mount on the very top edge, the second mounting, moisten it a little farther down from the top, on the third mounting, turn the mount over and moisten it along the top edge, and on the last mounting, moisten it a little farther down. I customize my stamp album pages and am constantly re-doing them for arrangement changes, cancels, and new varieties. I use this method all the time, otherwise my cost of mounts would be tremendous!
prices of stamp mounts vary, from about $6 to over $12 a pack,
depending on the size and the number of strips in the package. I have
provided a link at the bottom of this page, searching eBay for stamp
mounts. There are auctions, as well as many excellent eBay Store
dealers that specialize in selling stamp supplies. You'll have to shop
around for the best price and lowest shipping cost. Take a look. There
are also many excellent web sites on the internet, specializing in
stamp supplies that you can search for.
Mounts can be cut with scissors, but for an even cut and really professional appearance, one may want to get a guillotine type mount cutter, similar to the one shown in the picture. They are durable, and you can get a small one, which will cut mounts up to about 90 mm in size, on the internet for around $20. I have been using this one for about 30 years now. There is a search link below to mount cutters for sale on eBay.
This is a mount measuring gauge for both Showgard and Hawid mounts. You line your stamp up on the bottom line, and then pick the mount size you will need for it, by picking the size indicated along the top edge of your stamp. I use this tool CONSTANTLY! It also has a simple perforation gauge on the back. I've seen them on the internet for under $1.
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