| Glen Ellyn Philatelic Club
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Some time a little over 15 years ago, I had one of those "ah ha" moments. It was probably while I was taking one of my 30 some International Binders apart to insert the pages of the 2002 supplement into my alphabetically organized collection. What I realized was that I had just spent a bunch of money to buy two packets of pages and another binder and not a single stamp. I was collecting pages not stamps. I decided to give up buying supplements for the International Albums but there were still countries I wanted to continue to collecting. I found the answer on the internet from the Stamp Collecting Blog and the answer was Stamp Album Web. This source of album pages is better know by the name Steiner pages (named after the creator of the pages William E. Steiner) and they are well known and loved among stamps collectors. This review takes an in depth look of these pages, and what they can provide for the worldwide and single country stamp collectors.
The Steiner pages are available on subscription or on a disc. My approach has been subscription and download to file. From time to time, I'll devote a few hours to bring my downloads up to date.
Where I get the country on subscription, Canada for example, I print all the pages for a year. Otherwise, when I have a stamp, I look up the page I need, print it out, and mount the stamp.
These pages may be complete or they may just be started. Yes, I have a lot of Steiner pages, too.
A couple of caveats and suggestions about using Steiner pages. First, you cannot modify the pages that contain stamps. The web site is very specific about this. This can be a little bit of problem if you have a stamp with wide margins it might overflow the border of the stamp outline. Plus, sometimes the Scott mounts do not come in all sizes and sometimes and you have to go to a mount that is a little bit bigger. But then this is a problem with any commercial album page you might buy. If this bothers you there are blank Steiner pages that you can modify to your hearts content. There is a wonderful write up about the kind of paper you should use on the Steiner questions page. I myself use 24# bright white HP paper because my printer is an HP. The pages are set up to print on 8½ x 11 paper and I print them on an ink jet printer. If a page should get scuffed because of the lighter paper, print a new page and remount and punch. On the questions page there are instructions for printing on Scott sized pages but it requires special equipment and the instructions are not for technologically challenged. And finally, you will also have to acquire or have access to a good hole puncher.
I can't speak for others but from my own personal experience I save about $100 a year using the Steiner pages. This considers the pages, binders, paper and the proverbial "shipping and handling" charges. (Of course there are shipping and handling charges. No one buys anything at a dealer's store any more. There are no dealer stores.) With this savings I can fill up more pages and spend more money on stamps. Oh, don't tell the wife. She knows about the savings but not the fact that I'm buying more stamps.
Let's take a look at some of the pages.
This one is partially filled. I've mounted used stamps using hinges. You can see that the size of the border is just right for the size of the stamp and there is no image inside the border. The name of the country is at the top of the page and there is quick description of the stamp and the year of issue right above the stamps. Inside each border there is the denomination value for the appropriate stamp. The design of the pages is very clean and neat. You can also see that penciled in the Scott catalog numbers for the missing stamps.
You can see a slight problem here in that part of stamp issue data has been covered up. This is due to two factors. First, these are mint, self-stick stamps that have a little bit of the backing material showing. Second these stamp were mounted in Scott mounts. The overall size of the stamps and mounts was bigger than was allowed by the border. If this bothers you maybe Steiner pages are not for you. Steiner pages are perfect for used, hinge mounted stamps. You don't use hinges on mint stamps anymore, do you?