I occasionally get this question from customers. When selecting an album and/or mounts for your collection, there is only one rule to follow: Select whatever you are happy with and don't worry about the resale value. The value of a collection is in the stamps. There is almost no value in the album or mounts themselves.

As a dealer, I buy stamps only. I usually pay nothing extra for mounts or albums because I rarely sell a collection intact. Everyone collects and mounts stamps in their own way. Think about it. When is the last time you saw an auction lot for used supplies? It's not common.

If you want to spend hundreds of dollars for albums, that's fine as long as you are doing it because you like the appearance and that's what you want. But if you think high price albums are going to raise the value of your collection, you are mistaken. A high price album doesn't always mean that the stamps are of a superior quality too. You'd be surprised how many run-of-the-mill collections I've seen in expensive albums.

Of course, I wouldn't use stamp hinges on mint, never hinged stamps because that will decrease their value. But peelable hinges are still OK for used stamps. And hinges are pretty cheap.

Personally, I collect used US issues and I use Scott mounts with a Scott National album. I like the black background and I like that the stamps stay in place better than with hinges. The mounts aren't super expensive. I like the layout and quality of the album pages of my Scott National albums. That's the process I use for my own collection. But I know that when I sell my collection, the album and mounts will end up in the garbage.

Whether you use hingeless albums, Harris albums, Scott albums, Showgard mounts, Scott mounts it just doesn't matter when it comes to resale value. When it's time to sell your collection, the way to get the most money is to remove the stamps from the mounts/albums and put them neatly in a nice, clean stock book with Scott numbers listed underneath. That allows a dealer to quickly examine the stamps and look for hinges, damage, etc. Otherwise, the dealer has to provide the labor to remove the valuable stamps from the mounts for inspection. And labor means money.

There are a lot of nice commercial products out there: Davo, Elbe, Hawid, KA-BE, Lighthouse, Safe, Stanley Gibbons, Scott, Showgard, White Ace, Harris, Lindner, etc. Compare them. Select the one you're happy with and enjoy your stamps.

I would be remiss too if I didn't mention that you can create your own album pages. This is especially nice for collectors who don't like seeing blank spaces in a commercial album for stamps that are out of their price range. Homemade pages are also nice for the collector with a specialized collection where a printed album doesn't exist.

If you create your own album pages, the only thing I would suggest is using acid-free products which are what most of the commercial albums are made from. Some manufacturers even make acid-free blank or quadrilled pages for the collector who likes creating their own pages.