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United States/Covers & Postmarks : Removing paper from back of pen cancelled US classic postage stamps

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BlackJack
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10 Dec 2016
05:45:45pm
Will the pen cancellation be damaged by soaking the stamp? Is there a better method in todays world.
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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
10 Dec 2016
08:18:07pm
re: Removing paper from back of pen cancelled US classic postage stamps

It will depend on the type of ink that was used at the time the stamp was canceled. I have only soaked one such stamp, and the ink did not run.

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Anglophile
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RPSL, APS, EPA; US, GB, Ireland, British Europe, Italy, Mauritius Classics
11 Dec 2016
01:59:54am
re: Removing paper from back of pen cancelled US classic postage stamps

Instead of soaking, invert the stamp on absorbent paper and use a small paint brush with minimal water to gently saturate the objectionable paper on the stamp. If possible, wet the edge of any such paper and rely on capillary action to wick the water under the paper. Let it soften and then slide off or gently pull with tongs.

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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
11 Dec 2016
12:45:11pm

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re: Removing paper from back of pen cancelled US classic postage stamps

I consulted a friend of mine who collects old pens. I asked him if all old inks were permanent and I seemed to remember that water soluble inks were designed later on so people could wash ink out of clothing etc. Here's what he said:

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"It's tough one, and I'm pretty sure there isn't an unequivocal answer.

Pen inks have generally been at least partially water soluble, i.e water-based solutions, for hundreds of years. However, historically, pen inks have been colored either by dyes, pigments, or a combination. Dye-based inks are generally more readily soluble in water than pigment/particulate based inks, but it's hard to tell what is what. 19th century pens were generally either quills or metal nibs in nib holders. They generally wrote with whatever ink they had, and it ranged from pretty strong stuff to mild diluted ink. So, the question of solubility in water is probably not answerable. You are correct that truly washable ink was a 20th Century item, produced in the (I think 1920's as a marketing item to advance the use of fountain pens as something one can carry around.)

However, a lot of inks used to create permanent impressions contained what is called iron gall, a true ferrous byproduct. English church registries are still clearly legible 1500 years later are so because of the ink. American founding documents were written, it is believed, with ferrous ink. I have some... so your stamp might have been that. "



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