Philosateleia
Kevin Blackston
PO Box 17544
San Antonio TX 78217-0544
United States of America

Philosateleian Blog

Product review: G&K Prince binder and dustcase

A few months ago, I was searching for a binder and dustcase to house my American Indian stamp collection. I don’t have easy access to a local stamp shop where I could do a “hands-on” inspection, so I spent some time searching online for information about the various binder and dustcase combos available to me.

My main criteria were price and compatibility with stock pages I already own. Specifically, I wanted to stick with a three-ring binder system. After doing a good bit of research, I ended up purchasing G&K’s “Prince” binder with matching dustcase in black.

G&K Prince binder in dustcase
G&K Prince binder in dustcase

Let me note that this is not a paid review, nor did I get the product for free. I paid for it out of my own stamp budget.

Price

Although the Prince falls on the lower end of the price spectrum for binders with dustcases, it’s not exactly an inexpensive item. I ordered from Subway Stamp Shop, paying roughly $30 plus shipping.

Specs

The dustcase itself is solid and fairly well constructed, if otherwise unremarkable. The color matches the binder, the outside of which is nicely padded and covered in imitation leather. To me, the binder feels like it could break if much pressure was applied, but I don’t know that your average discount binder from an office supply store would fare any better.

A small plastic sleeve at the bottom of the binder on the outer edge will hold a small label identifying the binder’s contents.

One interesting feature about the Prince binder is that it does not have the usual metal “tabs” at the top and bottom of the metal spine. Instead, you have to actually pull the rings open to insert or remove pages. This is nice because you don’t have to risk damage to the corners of your pages due to contact with the tabs.

The binder measures 10¼×12¾ inches, which easily accomodates normal 8½×11 inch pages, and even sheets slightly wider than that. The binder is 1½ inches thick; Subway suggests a capacity of 40–50 sheets, but your mileage will vary based on the thickness of the paper or stock sheets you’re placing in it.

Naturally, you’re not going to fit full sheets of stamps into this, but that’s not what it’s designed for.

Stock pages and inserts inside open G&K Prince binder
G&K Prince binder containing stock pages and inserts

Conclusion

Overall, I’m satisfied with my purchase. I think the Prince binder is a bit on the pricey side considering what you get for your money. Nevertheless, there aren’t a lot binders with dustcases on the market, and the Prince is less expensive than options available from other manufacturers.

Would I buy this item again? Yes, for a small collection that I feel needs the extra protection of a dustcover. For a larger collection of inexpensive stamps and covers, I’ll probably stick with less expensive binders I can buy for a few dollars each.

Have you used the G&K Prince binder? What’s your impression of it?

Where is that sunny coast?

I’m in the process of creating pages for my landscape stamp collection, and each page bears the name of the natural feature depicted on the stamp(s) it holds. That works just fine until I run across a stamp with a scene I can’t identify.

Such was the case with this 45¢ airmail stamp issued by the U.S. in 1990. It’s obviously a tropical island—but where?

45-cent stamp depicting tropical coast
Tropical Coast stamp

For an answer, I contacted Mark Hess, the designer of this stamp and several others. I asked whether he had a specific location in mind when he created the design, or if it was intended to be a generic piece.

Mark was nice enough to respond, and wrote:

“The tropical image was a conceptualized idea of Columbus’ first visits to the continent; i.e., the tropical islands of the Caribbean. My initial painting included more palms and banana plants, however expert ‘checkers’ reported that many of these seemingly indigenous plants were actually transplants brought to the islands for commercial reasons and so were removed…

“So, in answer to your question, the tropical scene was intended to be the Caribbean, but in a generic way.”

That’s good enough for me. For my album page, I went with the heading “Tropical Coast, Caribbean Sea.”

Spring 2011 update for The Philosateleian

Collectors using most stamp albums won’t have spaces for 2011 stamps until sometime next year, but if you use The Philosateleian, you can mount your newest acquisitions now!

The Spring 2011 Supplement (201 KB, 4 files, 5 pages) is available and ready for download. I think I caught all the mistakes, but if you see any problems I missed, please let me know.

Finally, if you like these pages and haven’t made a contribution before, please consider supporting Philosateleia. Thanks for using The Philosateleian, and happy collecting!

Art deco bird first day cover

It’s not often that I receive an unexpected cover in the mail, so imagine my surprise and delight when this first day cover bearing a copy of the new art deco bird nonprofit stamp showed up in my mailbox.

Cover bearing a 5-cent art deco bird stamp
Art Deco Bird First Day Cover

The American Philatelic Society, of which I’m a member, sent this to me from the AmeriStamp Expo held in Charleston, South Carolina, earlier this month.

The cover contains a solicitation for donations, but I still think it’s a nice gesture considering I’ve been a member for years.

As for the stamp itself, I have mixed feelings. The existing seacoast stamp used by nonprofits was issued in 2002, so it’s probably about time to replace that design.

5-cent stamp depicting seacoast
Seacoast

On the other hand, the new design just kind of makes me go, “eh.” What do you think? Is the new stamp better or worse looking than the existing stamp for nonprofits?

Why I’m a stamp collector, reason 1

In recent days, I’ve been musing over this question: why am I a stamp collector? There’s no single reason, but rather multiple reasons that I enjoy the hobby, and I intend to share them in a series of posts here.

Reason 1: stamp collecting stimulates the senses

We live in an age in which great value is assigned to entertainment and technology. We spend our time watching the television and surfing the Web; we communicate using 1s and 0s via e-mail and Facebook. Verily, I myself spend time working on this website, and at the end of the day it is nothing but a collection of bits and bytes. If the electricity is turned off, the things on which we spend our time suddenly cease to function.

Stamps, on the other hand, are tangible and stimulate the senses in a way that websites and the mass media cannot. I can touch the textured surface of a Thai stamp picturing Pa Hin Ngam National Park; I can run my finger across the surface of an envelope mailed when Abraham Lincoln was president of the United States. I can gaze at a beautiful modern landscape design or be absolutely amazed at the intricate engraving required to produce some of the true classics of philately. And when I open a box of old covers, I can smell the musty years.

In addition to that, I frankly just enjoy preparing a letter to go in the mail. Folding the paper, sealing the envelope, affixing a stamp—plus one of my own local post stamps—all feel real in a way that clicking “send” on an e-mail does not. Hinging a stamp into my album feels real in a way that uploading a digital photo to a website does not. I enjoy the experience.

I do not claim that stamp collecting tops other things in life—one’s faith, a loving marriage, strong relationships with family members, experiencing God’s creation. Even such a stamp nut as I can’t argue that. But there is a certain sense-based enjoyment that I derive from the hobby, and that, my friends, is one of the reasons I am a stamp collector.

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