I got all excited again and dug out my two remaining preprinted albums. I used to have more, of course. Like so many others, I started out in the 1970s with my preprinted album of the Netherlands. That was later replaced by an album for the Netherlands & Overseas Territories (for grown-ups!). All these somehow disappeared when my interest in stamps waned for a bit.
Firmly back in my philatelic seat, I purchased a pre-printed album for Great Britain, three big volumes of them. These, too, have since disappeared, for when I moved to Britain and joined my local philatelic society, I was introduced to printing one's own album pages. Wow! A whole new world of possibilities opened up, but that mainly led to me getting bogged down in wanting too much and having too many possibilities and changing my mind too often. I think that I must have designed and printed and subsequently thrown away more than 1000 album pages since!
One of our forum members, Corbin, managed to formulate it very precisely: "If it was left to me, I would be forever rearranging my stamps so they were in whatever order I thought was best for a given day/week/month." My thoughts exactly!
All this came at exactly the right time, for I was at a loss (again), after having embarked on my umpteenth attempt to make pages, how to proceed. Digging out my two preprinted albums, I rediscovered the pleasure of having a very structured way of collecting presented to you. And it's not just about filling gaps of a basic collection.
|The level of specialisation in some albums belies popular criticism|
Okay, it may not give you the explicit possibility of putting in a collection whatever you want, although inserting blank pages might help a bit, but these albums are anything but basic. Looking at my Australia album, for example, I start off with eight pages for Kangaroo stamps, followed by another eight for George V stamps. And they're not just filled with the usual varieties of value, colour and watermarks. No, they also include shades such as pale blue and pale milky blue, and they distinguish between different types of paper such as very thin, or rough & unsurfaced. Now how specialised would you like it to be?
I'm even fonder of my other album, because that is an oldie. It's a back-of the-book preprinted album for Czechoslovakia, dating from the late 1920s, which I received after having bid upon a lot of stamps in an auction. It was so beautifully produced that I couldn't chuck it, and decided to try and fill it. Again, it is highly specialised, and it even allows for non-conformist items by having blank pages with only a title at the top. The fact that it is in Czech makes it even more exotic and special.
|Special 'DIY' page for colour proofs|
I know there are beautifully produced vintage albums around of the Victorian period, complete with clasps and little keys and what have you, and my dream is to find one of those and fill it. Wouldn't that be absolutely wonderful? A vintage album of vintage stamps!
Anyway, the end result of all this is that I'm all happy again. I'll still keep my main collection on my homemade pages, but everything else will from now on go in preprinted albums. Ideal for mentally slightly disturbed collectors like me. And at the same time I'm rediscovering the fun of collecting!
So if you have any old spare ones lying around.....
See yous later