Stock pages are heavy cardboard pages with clear plastic or sometimes cardboard strips on them to display or store stamps. The clear plastic strips are preferable for display purposes. Some of the newer ones are double-sided and made of durable plastic, with the strips attached at the sides and bottom (illustrated above). With these, your stamps will have a snugger fit and won't move around as much, and the strips are less likely to fall off than with the older pages that have the strips attached only at the bottom.
The pages are punched for storage in ring-type binders, and come in a variety of sizes and configurations, from one strip per page to seven strips per page. The six or seven strip configurations are suitable for most postage stamps. If you want to display souvenir sheets, blocks, postcards, or covers, you will need one of the types with larger strips (fewer rows) to safely cover them.
This is a very inexpensive alternative to buying an expensive stamp album. The pages are usually sold in packages of five or ten, with the unit price per page being around fifty or sixty cents each. A cheap three-ring binder to store them costs about $2 to $5.
These pages are also an ideal way to safely arrange and store your duplicate stamps, until the time that you integrate them into your collection or trade them for something else that you would like to have.
only drawback to stock pages is that you can't label and describe your
stamps in the way that an album page allows. But, an alternative would
be to print descriptions on small pieces of cut paper and then arrange
them in the pages around your stamps.
Stock books are also a less expensive alternative to buying a stamp album. They employ stock pages, though they are bound together at the edges in a book, and they usually have soft, padded covers. They have the flexibility of single stock pages, but are a lot nicer looking for displaying and storing stamps. Keeping smaller stamp collections in bound stock books has always been popular with European collectors.
Stock books come in varying sizes, from very small to very large, and can contain from 8 to 32 double-sided pages, usually with interleaving to protect the stamps on opposite pages from catching on each other. A small stock book can cost under $10, whereas a large stock book, made of high quality materials, can cost over $100.
using a stock book for a collection, one can arrange their stamps, so
as to avoid having visible gaps in their stamps, if they were to be
mounted on a printed album page. For example, all of the spaces on one
of my Swiss Lighthouse album pages are filled, except for one space in a
set on the top of the page. That empty space is for a stamp that
catalogs $16,000. Arranged in a stock book, that first set could be
arranged so that there would be no missing stamp in the set.
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