Removing valuable stamps from envelopes

You never know what is hidden in the pile of mail received by you. May be one of those enveloped contain such precious philatelic item as a stamp from Aunt Martha's Caribbean cruise or some exotic stamps that only few people have.


So, by soaking these stamps from an envelope you will be able to start an original collection of used stamps.

You should also remember that some kinds of stamps are considered to be more expensive when they are actually attached to envelopes. So in some cases it is advisable to consult with a professional concerning this issue if you are not an expert in this field yet.

Anyway to pile stamps from an envelope you should use a special technique that will insure you from damaging stamps. Follow these tips and the process of soaking of stamps will be easy and save.

1) The first stamp is to rip a section of an envelope near the attached postage stamps.

You mustn`t remove a postage stamp from an envelope at this stage. Just one wrong motion can damage the philatelic item and it will lose its value. If you want to pile a postage stamp from a postcard do the same procedure.

It is advisable to presort the stamps according to their color so you will easily prepare them for the next stage.

The second step is to put the stamps in a bowl with warm water and then soak them. Remember that the temperature of water shouldn`t be very high otherwise you can damage your philatelic items.

It is also essential to soak stamps of the same color in one bowl that is why you have already sorted them. Soaking stamps of different colors in the same vessel can lead to their staining as some inks have the tendency to bleed.

Submerge stamps attached to the section of an envelope in water and let them float for a while. The approximate time of such a procedure is 30 minutes or even more.

3) Check whether the backing of a postage stamp is loose enough

If you have followed these instructions you will be able to separate postage stamps from envelopes easily and without paying much effort. Start from the corner and if you feel that the stamps do not come off let them soak longer than 30 minutes.

Some stamps, especially old ones, are hard to remove that is why use special instruments as tweezers to fulfill this procedure.

4) Dry up postage stamps after soaking them

While soaking postage stamps absorb much water so it is essential to remove excess water by dabbing the stamps with a paper towel. Never wipe the postage stamps because you might rub off the design. To remove extra water put the stamps on a newspaper.

Be cautious because little gum can be still on the back side of a stamp that is why it might stick to the newspaper. Then lightly press the towel on the postage stamps until the water is absorbed.

5) Press the postage stamps

You should not forgot that soggy stamps rumple easily that is why you need to put them under the press till the time they dry up. By doing so you can be sure that your precious items won’t have any wrinkles.

Before pressing stamps put them between two sheets of paper and then place something heavy on them. The time necessary for stamps to become dry is a couple of hours or so.

6) Classify your postage stamps to have a collection

After completing all these stages sort the stamps, which you`ve got, by some criteria such as theme, year of issuing, subject etc. Try to think creative and during an exhibition your collection will draw attention of many philately enthusiasts. Do not forget to put stamps in a special album so you will be able to keep them in safe conditions.

What stamps you shouldn`t remove from envelopes?

You should take into account that envelopes, especially with stamps on them, are also very precious philatelic items. So, in what cases you shouldn`t put off stamps from envelopes? Below you will find the list of basic issues that explain why it is unreasonable to remove stamps from envelopes in some cases.

• If your postage stamps have special postmarks and cancels

Another great historical event of later period in America is signing of the Declaration of Independence. John Trumbull painted the distinguished political leaders, who were involved in this remarkable event, on his canvas titled “Signing the Declaration of Independence”. One of these paintings made the basis for the twenty-four cent stamp of 1869. The item depicted this remarkable event in details. P. Manship marks that there were some difficulties to place a lot of tiny details on a few millimeters, but stamp adaptors coped with the task.

Postmarks or cancels could be extremely rare philatelic items that add value to a postage stamp. The postmarks extend to the paper of an envelope so you can destroy the wholeness of it while removing a postage stamp from its foundation.

• If the mail came from a famous sender

There are a lot of envelopes that were signed by some famous person such as President or a film star. Such envelopes with stamps on them are worth keeping intact. Remember that such items could be extremely expensive and highly collectible.

• If the postal stamp was applied on an exotic postcard or maximum card

Maximum cards as well as postcards could have quiet exotic designs. Usually, a stamp attached to a maximum card has the same theme as the postcard picture. Thus, taking stamps off the postcards will defeat its purpose.

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