Now that you have spent good time and money on your stamp collection, you want to take care of it! What are some of the things you should never do a stamp? Some of these points may seem basic to an experienced collector, but newer collectors may appreciate them. Here goes!
1) Never use scotch tape or a glue stick to mount a stamp on a page. This may seem obvious, but I have seen scotch tape used as a stamp hinge. It doesn’t work! If and when you want to remove your stamp from the page, I guarantee you it will almost always tear or, at the very least, cause a thinning of the stamp paper.
2) Never store your stamps in a photo album. A friend of mine once gave me her childhood stamp collection to evaluate. Every stamp was stuck between the sticky, pre-glued pages of an old picture album. Yikes! Most of them would have ripped had I tried to unstick them. Photo album pages can also yellow your stamps with time. A proper stamp album or a stockbook is a preferable alternative.
3) As a general rule, don’t clean your stamps. Think of antique furniture: how many people have removed special finishes or patinas by stripping a piece of furniture that would have been worth 10x more if they had just left it alone? The same rule applies to stamps, if you expose your stamps to hot water and detergents there is a HUGE chance you’re going to cause damage to the stamp. More than one person has tried to clean a stamp only to end up with a nice piece of blank paper. Many older stamps were printed with something called fugitive ink–a special kind of ink that dissolves in water–in order to prevent people from reusing them. Obviously, dissolving the ink renders a stamp useless.
4) Never trim a stamp in order to center it better. The less you do to a stamp the better. Otherwise you risk reducing its value. People like stamps in their original condition, especially with older, valuable ones.
5) Never use an eraser to remove marks on stamp paper, you could tear it. Plus, you might inadvertently erase something that actually contributes to the value of your stamp.
6) Never sort your stamps with food or liquids on your desk, they could easily spill and damage your stamps. It’s always better to have a clean work surface.
7) Never rip an old hinge off the back of a stamp. Once again, you could tear the paper so easily. Better to just leave it there if it doesn’t peel off while gently pulling with a pair of tongs. Most modern stamp hinges are ultra-peelable, but older ones are not, so they will more than likely strip off a layer of paper. Once again, that will reduce the value of your stamp.
Hopefully all these suggestions will help. If you have any tips of your own, please leave them in the comments section below. We really appreciate them!