Stamp Collection - Stamp Album
A stamp album is a book, often loose-leafed (to allow for expansion), in which a collection of postage stamps may be stored and displayed. Albums are the nearly universal means for keeping stamps, used for both beginners' and world-class collections, and it is common to characterize the size of a collection by its number of albums.
One of the first albums was the Stanley Gibbons “V.R.” published in the early 1870s. This was followed by the “Improved”, and then the illustrated “Imperial” albums. Present-day makers include Lighthouse (Leuchturm), Safe, Lindner, Scott, Schaubek, Seahorse Philatelic Publishers and White Ace. Once collectors have started using a particular brand, they have a strong incentive to stay with it, and the manufacturers offer annual updates for the stamps issued during the previous year.
In the earliest albums, stamps were stuck down to the pages, using either their own gum (as if put on an envelope), or glue. It soon became clear that separating the stamp and page would likely result in the destruction of one or the other, and stamp hinges were introduced. In the second half of the 20th century more sophisticated methods of storage came into vogue, such as the use of clear plastic sleeves, ensuring that the stamps were not damaged, and that both sides could easily be examined. Albums of this sort are known as "hingeless albums".