Stamp Accessories Guide

Hinges & Mounts

There are two main ways in which collectors can mount their stamps to album pages. The original method involves using
hinges, small pieces of special gummed paper which allow the collector to attach stamps directly to an album page.

Plastic mounts meanwhile enable collectors to present their stamps in albums without physically attaching the stamps themselves to pages. Stamps are placed inside protective plastic mounts and the mount is then attached to the page, meaning unmounted mint stamps can remain in pristine condition whilst still appearing in an album. Mounts are available already ‘cut to size’ or in strips that can then be cut to the correct size depending upon the size of stamp.


One item every stamp collector must have is a pair of tweezers. All stamps should be handled with tweezers; they ensure that the natural oils in our fingers do not get on to the stamps and, after a bit of practice, they are easier to use than fingers as well. They come in different lengths, with different points and made from different materials (generally stainless steel or gold-plated).


Most collectors like to have a magnifying glass so they can look at their stamps more closely. Again, they come in a wide range, from the fairly basic, offering 2 or 3× magnification, to pocket microscopes giving 30× magnification, and digital microscopes such as the
Pro10 Portable Digital Microscope that offer a really detailed examination of your stamps (view our video demonstration below). Another useful type of magnifier is one that incorporates a millimetre scale – ideal for measuring overprints and other features.



Perforation Gauges

The Stanley Gibbons Instanta – which measures perforations to a decimal point and is easy to use – is the choice of most collectors and dealers. There is also an electronic perforation measurer which is even easier to use – but it is a bit more expensive than the Instanta.

Watermark Detectors

Watermark detectors come in a variety of types and a wide range of prices, all of which are effective in their different ways. If you are collecting older stamps, watermarks are generally clearer and can be identified simply by placing the stamps face down on a dark background or watermark tray and, if necessary, adding a few drops of lighter fluid or watermark fluid.

The Morley Bright products are an excellent alternative if you do not like using fluids, which many collectors do not. More modern stamps, especially mint ones are more difficult to sort and for these one of the electric watermark detectors will probably be the answer. The
Stanley Gibbons Detectamark and other electronic products are highly effective (view our video demonstration below).


Colour Guide

Happily, the standard colour guide for stamp collectors, the Stanley Gibbons colour key, is another relatively inexpensive item which will provide years of use. It features 200 different colours and will allow you to tell the difference between “mauve”, “purple”, “lilac” and “violet” with ease.

Ultra-violet Lamps

Finally and especially if you are collecting the modern stamps of Great Britain at a more specialised level, you will probably want an ultraviolet lamp to identify different papers and phosphor types. These come in a range of designs at different prices, so it is useful to seek the advice of an experienced collector before deciding on the one to buy. If you collect Great Britain stamps, you really need a “short wave” lamp to identify different phosphors, but some lamps incorporate both “long” and “short” wave bulbs, which give them wider potential use.

A lamp with a “hood” is generally to be recommended, firstly because direct exposure to prolonged ultraviolet light is damaging to the eyes, so you should avoid lamps which cause you to see the bulb itself while you are using it. Also, such lamps are more effective in the dark, so anything which shields the stamp being examined from other light sources, including daylight, will improve the effectiveness of the lamp.

More Stamp Collecting Guides 

Stamp Guide

Stamp Catalogues Guide

Stamp Albums Guide

Stamp Collecting – Getting Started

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Bestselling Accessories


Stock code: R2530 | SG number: 0AAAB
An essential stamp collecting accessory and one of our bestselling products, the Stanley Gibbons Colour Key is the best guide to philatelic colours and shades available.

Designed with 200 colours featured on punched colour panels and supplied in a plastic case, the Stanley Gibbons Colour Key allows collectors to quickly and easily identify the colour and shades of their stamps.


Stock code: R2570 | SG number: 0AAAG
Discover the hidden rarities in your collection with this bestselling handheld tool.

The NEW Stanley Gibbons Detectamark Spectrum makes it even easier to discover the hidden rarities in your collection. It is simplicity itself to use and the mulitiple colour settings and adjustable light source, unique to the Detectamark Spectrum, provide additional help when identying more difficult watermarks. It even shows up watermarks on modern stamps printed on thick, chalk-surfaced papers with full gum - the ones that other detectors fail to identify.

It is clean safe and very effective, without the use of chemnicals and solvents and also helps to detect minor damage, such as thins, tears or repairs


Stock code: R2534 | SG number: 0AAAC
The Instanta Perforation Gauge is a vital piece of equipment, measuring perforations on stamps to one decimal point.


Stock code: R2551
A packet of 1000 Stanley Gibbons peelable folded stamp hinges designed to help collectors quickly and easily attach stamps to album pages. An essential purchase and ready to use.

How to mount your stamps with Stanley Gibbons Stamp Hinges

1. Lightly moisten short end of hinge and allow to dry slightly.
2. Attach top to stamps, immediately below perforation.
3. Lightly moisten lower third of hinge and mount on album page.

Note: do not remove hinge before it is thoroughly dry.


Stock code: RPTW5000 | SG number: 0014
A selection of the 4 of the most popular types of stainless steel tweezers. Includes self locking needle point, angle point, straight point, and flat point tweezers. Approx 110mm long.


Stock code: RPRO10 | SG number: AC99
Now with FREE stand worth £14.95

The Pro10 Microscope combines a digital camera with a portable microscope that magnifies up to 200 times so you can view stamps, coins or anything else at amazingly close range. ou can also save and share the experience using the integral digital camera itself, by uploading them to your computer or even view them through your television screen. The PRO10 does not support Apple/MAC.

  • View items in extraordinary detail like never before

  • Pocket-sized and portable

  • Easily capture and share images

  • Crystal clear LCD full colour display

  • Marvel at the detail at up to 200x magnification on the integral 2.8" (7.1cm) TFT LCD full colour display, allowing a crystal clear view of the area you are examining.

    Ideal for identifying overprint details as an aide to verifying authenticity. A fantastic alternative to a traditional eye glass when travelling to view auction lots. Capable of identifying defects in gum through the use of the surface detail mode.

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