Spade or Pointy, for years the philatelic arguments have raged (SIC: been discussed politely over a glass of port!). What is the right answer? Is there a right answer? Most philatelists take a definite stand on which kind of tweezer they would rather wield but there are some who are quite happy being the philatelic version of a switch-hitter and will work with whatever they have to hand at the time.
We wanted to delve a little deeper into this subject to see if a true favourite emerged. In order to do this, we spoke to several philatelists across the Stanley Gibbons family to find out on which side of the “tweezer war” they stood...
“You’re not supposed to stand on them! (Ed: Thanks Hugh, he’s here all week guys!) My favorites are a pair of gold-plated Stanley Gibbons tweezers with medium ends”
HUGH JEFFERIES, EDITOR, PART 1
“Spades every time, safer and much better for getting hinges off gently!”
GEORGE JAMES, HEAD OF COMMONWEALTH
“Pointy, for me they are just feel much easier and smoother to use, I find the spade ends feel too cumbersome.”
SCOTT BRADLEY, HEAD OF GB
“Spade. Pointy tweezers are very useful, but if you're not careful it's so easy to pierce a stamp - particularly a classic issue on thin or brittle paper.”
ROBERT SMITH, PHILATELIST, COMMONWEALTH SPECIALIST
“Pointy, I find them easier to use to pick up stamps and less likely to buckle or damage a perf”
TOM HAZELL, HEAD OF AUCTIONS
“If we are being technical, I use Davo 57 small spoon tweezers – neither too pointy or too spade-like. Maybe the Goldilocks of the tweezer world!”
ALISON BOYD, EDITOR OF PHILATELIC EXPORTER
“Spade - why on earth would you voluntarily put something sharp and pointy near a small, valuable piece of paper?”
GRAHAM SHIRCORE, STANLEY GIBBONS CEO
“it's like comparing a scalpel to a hatchet!”
“The latter (Spade) but I actually prefer the spoon ends!”
PAUL MATTHEWS, AUCTION VALUATIONS EXPERT
“It's partly what you get used to. But with spade-end tweezers there are types where it matters which way up you hold them! And a busy dealer who is forever putting tweezers down and picking them up again (without really looking) just doesn't need that. I would struggle to use them now because they are awkward, in that you have to get more of the end underneath the stamp. With pointed ends you have much more precision, and you can do a lot more in the line of careful hinge removal. If you want a somewhat exaggerated analogy, it's like comparing a scalpel to a hatchet!”
DICKON POLLARD, SENIOR PHILATELIST
“Spade; less chance of pressure damage in my book.”
DEAN SHEPHERD, EDITOR OF GSM
“Pointy...I don't have a reason really, it is just what I started with at the beginning, so the spade tweezers feel odd to me now.”
VICTORIA LAJER, STANLEY GIBBONS M.D
When all was said and done the actual voting showed us that there was no massive preference across the company as 51.3% of people asked voted for spade and, 42.6% of people voted for pointy with 7.1% quite happy to go both ways. The one surprising trend that did shine through was that our Commonwealth collectors seem to prefer a spade whereas those who plump for GB rather like the pointy variety.
We’d love to know what side of the debate you stand on, did you agree with our experts?