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The Basics on Stamp Soaking

The Basics on Stamp Soaking

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The Basics on Stamp Soaking

Stamp collecting can start out as a hobby but it can also become an individual’s life’s work. From waiting for the next print to purchasing stamps disabled dating far back, this hobby takes a lot of passion and heart. There are people who collect baseball cards and people who collect comic books. These are basically kept in special plastics or containers to preserve their newness. But for the people who collect stamps, starting the hobby begins with meticulous preparation.

Before even thinking about soaking stamps in water, there is a need to sort good stamps from bad stamps. Like sorting laundry, stamps need to be sorted as well because of color and ink, setting aside stamps that have colored paper on the back and stamps printed with red and purple due to colored cancellations. In addition, stamps that are dark in color, stamps printed on paper of poor quality or stamps that have any kind of colored ink which can disperse in water should also be set aside. The reason behind this is that when soaked, these might stain the good stamps.

To remove the glue at the back of stamps, fill a low basin with some water from a tepid to cool temperature and let the stamps float with the image face up. Waiting until the adhesive dissipates which is tested by carefully testing the wet stamps by ease of sliding off paper. Once the glue is completely dissolved, let the wet stamps dry on paper towels. If the edges curl or the stamp looks all wrinkled, there is no cause to worry. Once it is completely dry, use tongs to lift them one at a time and insert them in a heavy book like a directory or an encyclopedia. This method will make the stamps look nice and flat.

What can be done with the bad stamps mentioned earlier? They are not entirely bad stamps because there is a way to include them in the stamp collection. First, there is a need to trim off extra paper around surrounding the stamp. To soak these, use cooler water than what was used earlier to let the stamps float. Then wait until the glue is dissolved, dry them, placed in a heavy book, until they can be included in the collection.

What can be done with the dirty or stained stamps? A little quantity of pure dishwashing liquid can be used for soaking. Afterwards, rinse with cool and clean water. On the other hand, a weak water solution and some detergent can be used to treat badly stained stamps. However, be very careful with this method because it might as well eliminate the ink.

Image taken from page 21 of ‘Round the Hearth [and other verses] … Edited and arranged by R. E. Mack’
Image by The British Library
Image taken from:

Title: "Round the Hearth [and other verses] … Edited and arranged by R. E. Mack"
Author: MACK, Robert Ellice.
Shelfmark: "British Library HMNTS 11650.h.22."
Page: 21
Place of Publishing: London; Nuremberg printed
Date of Publishing: 1889
Publisher: E. Nister
Issuance: monographic
Identifier: 002319562

Find this item in the British Library catalogue, ‘Explore’.
Download the PDF for this book (volume: 0) Image found on book scan 21 (NB not necessarily a page number)
Download the OCR-derived text for this volume: (plain text) or (json)

Click here to see all the illustrations in this book and click here to browse other illustrations published in books in the same year.

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