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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : Should I remove hinges from old stamps?

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Safariamber
09 Jul 2019
02:32:24am
Hi All,

I am fairly new to stamp collecting, but I have fairly old stamps due to inheriting the majority of my collection from family

however, since sorting through my stamps I found that most of the old stamps (anywhere from 80-150 years old) are attached to hinges and pieces of paper (From being cut out of a stamp album in the past).

I would like to remove the hinges, however i am not sure if it is safe to soak very old stamps, as I am scared they might fall apart Sad

So the questions is... to soak or not to soak?

I would appreciate all advice Big Grin


Thank you Happy

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ikeyPikey
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09 Jul 2019
10:43:04am
re: Should I remove hinges from old stamps?

'
If by 'old' you mean early-mid 20th Century, you can soak without much fear of ugly surprises and/or lost value.

Ugly surprises (from any century) can include:

- fugitive ink - once upon a time, there were (what might best be called) experiments with fugitive (water-soluble) ink to prevent re-use of postage - however, the world is full of humid climates, rainy weather, sticky fingers, et al, so there were not many stamps printed with fugitive ink - perhaps someone has a list?

- tears & repairs - folks have been known to 'help' stamps by putting a hinge over a thin, a tear, etc, and their good efforts (now frowned upon) will be undone if you soak off the hinge

- very thin paper - you should be able to spot these on your own.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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"I collect stamps today precisely the way I collected stamps when I was ten years old."
Safariamber
09 Jul 2019
05:10:37pm
re: Should I remove hinges from old stamps?

Thank you IkeyPikey Happy

That has helped a lot, however my oldest stamps are from the late 19th century (1870-1899), are these still ok to soak?

????

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ikeyPikey
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09 Jul 2019
06:22:00pm
re: Should I remove hinges from old stamps?

'
You will need to identify them one-by-one - sooner or later - so why not before you soak them?

Catalogs will give you an indication of what you are risking (in terms of relative value), and may contain useful information about fugitive ink etc.

I never did much with 19th Century stamps, so that's about all I've got for you.

Folks who know the classics might have rules like "never soak a stamp with a grill", and I would never know it.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

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"I collect stamps today precisely the way I collected stamps when I was ten years old."
Linus
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09 Jul 2019
08:23:05pm
re: Should I remove hinges from old stamps?

Amber-

I would NOT soak late 19th century (1870-1899) stamps for 2 reasons: 1>The fugitive ink issue and possible fading of colors and 2> you do not have to soak the stamp to remove the hinge.

I will give you a prime example of fugitive ink from Hong Kong. The stamp shown below has fugitive ink. It will dissolve away right before your eyes in a flash!

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It will look like one the 10 copies shown below. Yes, these are all damaged, as they have been soaked. How do I know this? Because, many years ago, I soaked one of them myself, and was shocked to see the ink float away. I learned the hard way about fugitive ink.

Image Not Found

To remove the hinge without soaking, simply place the stamp face down and apply a drop of water to the hinge only, not the whole stamp. Use your tongs and spread the water over the entire hinge remnant. It will bead up like a water bubble. Wait a minute or two, blot the stamp with a soft towel to remove any water, and the hinge should peel right off. Press under a stamp catalogue overnight to flatten it back out.

Find an old stamp that has a chunk missing or is trimmed or torn and experiment a little taking the hinge off. Practice on common stamps before you try it on the good ones. Let us know how it goes.

Hope this helps,
Linus

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rjan
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10 Jul 2019
06:29:46pm
re: Should I remove hinges from old stamps?

There is an alternative to abstinence (this is not a religious or social commentary) from soaking. Too often older stamps of good value have too much hinge and paper material on their reverse to ignore and in many cases properly identify. Total immersive soaking can bring poor results in a select set of stamps (early Russia, Nederlands colonies and some Brazil BOB come to mind). But I rarely use this when checking stamps and preparing them for my collection. But all too often I do find flaws not readily evident and this necessitates examination of the original condition of the stamps.

I use a small makeup brush, given to me by my wife, to moisten the adhesions without soaking through the entirety of the stamps. Careful reapplication of moisture and coaxing of material off the stamp have restored many classic to unsullied condition. As with all new processes I recommend a few tests on inexpensive material to get right mixture of moisture and pressure to remove foreign materials.

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