I have been buying pre-cut mounting cards for many years now. It must be a bit cheaper to buy sheets of card from a stationers or artists’ suppliers and cut them to size yourself (which is what I did when I started out carding beetles) but I’m more than happy to invest in pre-cut cards to save me time and to make my collection look a lot neater.
In an ideal world, I would use exactly the same design of mounting card for my entire life. But in reality, since Lydie Rigout ceased trading, I’ve run out of the really top quality mounting cards that she used to sell and ended up using a nasty hotch-potch of cards from other sources in recent years. Finally, last week, I took delivery of some cards from Dr. Hildegard Winkler and they are exactly the same as the ones I used to get from Lydie Rigout! Using these cards has reminded me what a pleasure it is to work with top quality kit. I’ve had to massively reduce the amount of glue I use – with other cards it quickly soaks in but with Winkler’s cards it lies on the surface and gives you loads more time to place the specimen and arrange the appendages before the glue dries. And of course, there is no curling of the card.
Ordering from Dr. Winkler was not as straightforward as from other suppliers. I first placed an order and got a pro-forma invoice. Then to avoid hefty international bank payment fees, I phoned Dr. Winkler (who of course speaks good English) and gave him my credit card details over the phone. I used Google translate to figure things out on Dr. Winkler’s German-language website.
Other suppliers of mounting cards include:
Paradox (Poland) – I’ve seen a sample of their cards and they seem to be very good quality. Probably the best alternative to Winkler if you want an English-language website and online payment (by PayPal).
NHBS (Enlgland) – probably the best UK source but as best I can tell, these are the same product as sold by Ento Sphinx, and if so, I saved about 25% by buying direct from Ento Sphinx (including the p&p and currency conversion costs) compared to NHBS.
Ento Sphinx (Czech Republic) – really nice company to deal with, and one of the few that sell lined cards (which I prefer) though on card which I find too thin and absorbent.
Watkins & Doncaster (England) – (search for E6089 ‘die-cut card’). I’ve never used their cards but by reputation they are made of rather flimsy card and because they’re not fully punched out, you need to push them out and trim them round before you can use them.
I have spent a lot of time on researching suppliers of mounting cards in recent years. I would be very grateful to anyone who could add to the information on this page. Do you know of anyone else supplying the same cards as Dr. Winkler? What do coleopterists in other European countries and in North America use? Are any UK companies going to help us all out by retailing Winkler cards to the UK? Or can somebody start selling die-cutters so we can cut our own?