Thursday, November 29, 2012

Some Simple Stamp Soaking Solutions

Ken Stewart writes on the Junior Philatelists on the Internet website, "Soaking stamps is one of the basic skills the beginning collector must master. There is nothing difficult about soaking stamps; but care should be taken before, during and after soaking to avoid damaging the stamps . . . a little patience doesn’t hurt, either. Used stamps are generally collected off paper and, therefore, learning the techniques for achieving this are important."

He offers several tips including this these two...

"If you wish to soak a stamp off of a postcard or envelope without cutting up the envelope or post card (people will often offer to let you have stamps off of their mail if you don’t destroy the mail), here is how to do it. Cut two pieces of filter paper (from a new coffee filter) that are a little larger than the stamp you wish to remove. Wet these two pieces of filter paper until they are about to drip. Place the filter papers on top of each other and on top of the stamp. Cover with a small inverted plate or a watch glass (you can get these from broken clocks) and leave for about one-half hour (practice will get this down to a science). The purpose of the plate or watch glass is to retard evaporation. The stamp should slip off easily. Place the envelope or card somewhere to dry, and place the stamp face down on a Formica top or a smooth metal surface. The stamp will pop free when dry."

According to Stewart, "You can soak large amounts of cheap stamps using the following method. It sounds like it won’t work, but it does. Place several pounds of stamps in a large tub of lukewarm water (the stamps should be sorted for colored paper as above). After about ten minutes, gently agitate the mixture with your hands for about a minute every ten minutes until it appears most of the stamps are coming free (about an hour). Let the stamps settle and pour off the water laden with gums and dirt. Add new water. Agitate and let stand several minutes and then again pour off the water. Do this several times more to get all of the gum out. Practice again makes perfect. After it looks like all the gum has been washed out, pour off the water and put the mass of wet stamps somewhere to dry. When dry, the stamps and paper will be easy to separate (any ones that don’t are resoaked). This process is hard on stamps that have ink that runs like the 4-cent Lincolns from the 1954 Presidential set. So you will have to learn which stamps not to soak this way. This is a very efficient way to soak kiloware after you have taken the good stamps out. "

To read his entire article, click here.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM