Stamp Tongs are the single MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF EQUIPMENT A STAMP COLLECTOR WILL EVER BUY. They are cheap, about $4 to $10, and a nice pair will provide a lifetime of usage. Without a good pair of tongs, the handling, examination, and mounting of collectible stamps would be nearly impossible and extremely dangerous.
The reasons for using a good pair are as follows:
First - You MUST NEVER HANDLE STAMPS WITH YOUR HANDS. Your skin contains oils and acids that will destroy a stamp in time. Even an expensive or rare stamp, with finger prints or smudges on the surface from handling, is WORTHLESS. The pair of Showgard #902 Six Inch tongs shown in the picture on this page is actually my "backup" pair! They have never been used. The pair I use all the time has all the bright nickel plated surface WORN OFF on the sides and bottom of the tongs, from pressing against the palm of my hand. If the acid in our hands will remove polished nickel plating, imagine what it will do to a fragile piece of paper, over a long period of time.
Never use a pair of eyebrow tweezers or other type of clamping device
to handle stamps. They often have serrated edges made for clamping on
to something. Stamp tongs have thin, razor sharp edges, specially
designed for picking up and holding postage stamps. Using the wrong
kind of clamping device could result in a torn perforation, damaged
paper edge, or possibly a bend or crease, which would make even an
expensive stamp worth very little, if anything.
They come in many types, some as low as about $4. I would recommend the Showgard six inch pair shown on this page. After having used these for many years, I don't think I could ever return to using the smaller pointed or spade types. These are the best, and they don't cost much more than the smaller types of tongs, about $8 to $12. Shop around on the internet, depending on the seller, prices can fluctuate greatly.
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