Mounting Entire Envelopes

Ever since I began collecting entire envelopes I have been greatly puzzled in my efforts to find a feasible, practical plan for mounting them. And not myself alone, but many others are in the same predicament; for a perfect plan for mounting envelopes has not yet been made public. Such a plan should include the preserving of specimens intact, without marking, cutting, or pasting them, and also admit of each specimen being removed at pleasure, without injury to either the album or the envelope, in order that they may be handled and examined.

I am indebted to my friend Mr. W.C. Kurzweg of Watertown, Wisconsin, for the details of the plan of mounting entire envelopes that I now lay before philatelists. During the A.P.A. convention Mr. Kurzweg unfolded this plan to me and it at once impressed me as being what philatelists had long been looking for; and upon trying the plan I came to the conclusion that it was well nigh perfect.

Nothing could be more simple; the whole story can be told in a few words. The plan merely consists of mounting pockets made of the corners of envelopes on card board, or paper if you prefer, and slipping the specimens into these pockets – from which they can be removed and replaced at pleasure.

If the reader of this will take the trouble to clip the corners off an envelope – cut them diagonally, forming a right-angled triangle the two short sides of which will be formed of the outer edges of the envelope and be of equal length, about 1-1/4 inches; the third side will be the pocket – then paste two of these corners on a piece of card board, in such a manner as to cause the two pockets to fall where they will hold the two lower corners of the specimen to be mounted. An excellent feature of the plan shows itself right here; the outer edges of the pocket you have made are perfectly square and thereby aid materially in arranging your specimens with mathematical precision. In fact there is no excuse for arranging them in any other manner.

If you will make this simple experiment you will find that you have two pockets that will securely hold an envelope, and yet from which the specimen can be removed at any time without difficulty. The different sizes can all be thus be provided for by increasing or diminishing, as the case may be, the space between the pockets.

The best material for mounting the envelopes on is card or bristol board – the latter is the better – of about three or four ply. This is kept in stock by all paper dealers, and is 22 x 28 inches in size. Other sizes are made for special purposes, but the one I mention is the only size always to be found in stock in colors. Colored board should be used, as white or a light tint soils so quickly that it is not advisable to use it. The best color I have seen is a dark maroon, but unfortunately it is almost impossible to find it at the paper dealers, as that is not a regular stock color. A magenta, or something on that order, makes a very acceptable color; and the envelopes look much better on a dark background than on a light one.

Bristol board of three ply thickness and of the size above mentioned costs in the neighborhood of three dollars a hundred sheets. Each sheet may be cut into four sheets 11 x 14 inches – a convenient size – and a hundred of the smaller sheets, costing about seventy-five cents, will be sufficient to mount from six to eight hundred envelopes. For the pockets you can purchase envelopes – white are the best, and they should be of a good quality and thickness – and cut them up as directed. If you exercise care in purchasing a high cut, well-gummed envelope you can make four pockets from each by first fastening down the flap.

In arranging the envelopes of course every one will follow his own plan. Let me tell you how I placed my October 1886 series. First come the No. 1, two 2s and two 3s on one-half the first page; four 3s and the single No. 4 constitute the other half of the page. Here we have ten envelopes on a page, in two columns, ample space between, and a half-inch space all around the outside. The bottom envelope of each column shows entire, the other four in each show about 1-5/8 inches and their entire length; enough to show the stamped impression and a little to spare. Should you desire to show more of each envelope you could place but four, or even three, in a column. Until you reach the No. 9s, you can readily arrange the envelopes in two columns and have sufficient blank space about them. But the 9s cannot be placed in double columns without taking up nearly all the space and leaving but very little margin. This difficulty may be overcome by placing these sizes in one column, the long way of the sheet. The official sizes can also be arranged in this manner if you desire to economize space; for my part I have placed them the short way of the sheet and four on a page. My set of the October issue, including spaces for thirteen ten-cent envelopes recently issued, making a total of eighty-one envelopes, takes up just eleven pages or sheets – making an average of seven to the sheet – and no page is at all crowded. It makes a magnificent display and one that will interest anyone; if he be not a collector, he cannot help but admire the beauty of the pages; and if he be a collector and desires to examine any specimen critically, he can remove such, examine the watermark, gum, knife, etc., and replace it without the least difficulty.

It is important that the collector have a good guide in the arrangement of a collection in the manner I have described. Horner’s list is very good, but is long out of date and cannot be depended upon to list all the varieties, many having turned up since it was published. Then, too, many new issues have followed that work. The promised work of Messrs. Bogert and Rechert will undoubtedly furnish this much-needed guide.

So far I have urged this plan as applied to envelopes only; why is it not fully as applicable to postal cards? They would perhaps need to be spread more, thereby taking up more space, but they certainly would show to the best possible advantage and be preserved in perfect condition.

These sheets of card board can, as they accumulate, be bound into volumes, if the owner chooses to do so. The expense would not be very great, and the collection would be kept in much better condition in a bound book than in loose sheets.

This plan commends itself to me, and I believe it will to other envelope collectors, from the fact that it is quite simple and inexpensive. For about a dollar and a half the material for mounting a collection of six or eight hundred envelopes can be obtained, while the work of mounting is not very great. I spent four hours mounting my first seventy-five envelopes, but can mount as many more in much less time, through profiting from my experience with the first lot.

I should be very glad to have envelope collectors try the plan. Perhaps there are still improvements to be made upon it. As it is I think it well worthy the attention of all.

Publisher’s Note. Being much impressed with the ideas given in the above article we tried the plan and found it so excellent that we are considering the advisability of issuing an album for envelopes or postal cards in accordance therewith. The main trouble is with the binding. Such an album must be bound well and strongly, and be provided with plenty of guards. The card board leaves would each have to be hinged separately on cloth, and the expense would be considerable unless a fair-sized edition could be made at one time. We should be glad to hear from any of our readers interested in such an album, and should there appear to be sufficient encouragement to warrant it we will undertake its preparation.

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