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How to store sort and soak stamps

How To Store Sort And Soak Stamps

One of the most exciting ways to collect stamp is to process them while they are still attached to envelopes. It’s a little like detective work, and doing so is pretty fun and exciting. However, if you are careless in processing your stamps from the envelopes, you could very well damage them. And you know what they say, damaged stamps are worthless stamps.
If you are one of the countless stamp collectors that derive much pleasure from soaking and mounting stamps yourself, you will want to learn the proper way of processing stamps.
First of all, you have to collect all the envelopes with their stamps attached. Some of this mail will come from your mailbox. The others you can collect form neighbors and friends – having a foreign correspondence won’t hurt (plus they use stamps not readily available from where you’re from. But at least be sincere with your correspondence!).
You may then want to sort or organized them before and after soaking. Get your tools ready for the soaking and mounting process – your stamp tongs, scissors, and a saucer with lukewarm water, towels, and such.
Now, take an envelope and cut the envelope around the area around the stamp. Make sure you leave enough space so that it is easier to handle the stamp. You can then place the stamp along with the paper it is stuck too – reasonable trimmed by your earlier action – on the saucer of water. Make sure you put the stamp in with its front facing up. If possible avoid having the stamp getting damp on the face.
Also, avoid putting too many stamps in the saucer at the same time. The purpose of soaking the stamps is so that the stamp gum dissolves. However, the gum also can cause the stamps in the saucer to stick to each other if they are not properly spaced.
Make sure you use lukewarm water. Hot water can cause the color of the stamp to spread or stain. Now, place the stamps on a towel face-down. Use a pair of stamp tongs to separate the envelope paper from the stamps. Although using a newspaper is fine, try avoiding paper that has colored ink on it as may stain the stamp.
Let the stamps dry. It may take a while and they may end up curled and wrinkled. Do not fear, however, since the next step will take care of that problem. When the stamps are completely dry, place them flat in any book. Telephone directories do well for this. Just make sure the book does not have colored ink to stain the stamp. This step should take a few days. Make sure, that you remove them immediately as paper contains acid that could damage your stamp.
When you are ready to store your stamps, you will need a stamp album. This is where you store your stamps and should be the centerpiece among your tools. A good stamp album protects your stamps against chemicals, the elements, dust and dirt. This is probably the piece of equipment you will want to invest a better deal of money in. Shop around and compare products well before choosing a stamp album for purchase.
A good album will allow for the stamps to be laid flat and safe from damage. Use stamp tongs to deal when placing the stamps in your album.
For stamps which you will not place in your album – duplicates, or those that you plan to give away, use glassine envelopes. Glassine envelopes are great way to keep stamps temporarily. They also serve as transit storage for your stamps – a place to put them before mounting them in your collection. Avoid using paper envelopes as they have a high acid content that could very well damage your stamps. These envelopes also make a great container when mailing or giving stamps to other people.
In all, stamp collecting can be a fascinating experience for those who do it properly. As you build your stamp soaking, and mounting skills, you will better appreciate the beauty and the history of stamps. You may, as you go on, opt to purchase more specialized tools and equipment to keep your stamp collection in tip-top shape. But in any case, the knowledge of these basic stamp processing skills is integral to any stamp collector’s hobby efforts.

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