Saturday, January 15, 2011

Are Self-Adhesives Ruining the Hobby?

Reporter Susan Gamble of Canada's Brantford Expositor quotes postal employee Jacqueline Cowper in an article titled, The Stickier Points of Stamp Collecting, as saying, "Self-sticking stamps are ruining the hobby for collectors." Jacqueline deals with a lot of collectors and she hears their complaints "all the time."

Susan, who attended the annual Brantford Stamp Club stamp show and talked to attendees, learned that self-adhesives have become "the bane of collectors who, for decades, have easily soaked stamps off envelopes with nothing more than water."

She points out, "The sticky problem has grown into a world-wide trend with many countries embracing the self-sticking stamp and many collectors can't be bothered dealing with the adhesive."

"Those that love the stamps and hate the glue can still collect," according collector Walter Hopfinger who "soaks the self-sticking stamps in hot water in the kitchen sink for about 20 minutes and then laboriously peels away the stamp from its glue, trying to leave the now-white gum on the envelope."

"It takes a lot of patience, but you don't want to destroy that beautiful stamp.If you have difficulties, cut around the stamp and put it in your album as it is," he advises. "It's still beautiful."

The American Philatelic Society advises self-adhesives "should not be soaked as these stamps will separate into layers of paper before coming off the envelope."  Also, the top layer of the stamp has been known to "crack" or even disintegrate altogether.

To read an informative article from the American Philatelist on how to remove those "sticky" self-adhesives, click here.

Shown above, the first self-adhesive stamp issued by the United States in 1974. Over time unused copies of the stamp have become badly discolored as seen in the photo.

Click here to read Susan's entire article and watch a video about the show.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM