How Not to Store Your Stamp Collection

How many stamps are incorrectly stored?

Damp, environment, improper storage, even cigarette smoke must cost collectors literally millions of pounds annually on a national/global basis. It is extraordinary how many collectors advise that their stamps are in perfect order and how many are not.

Take a good look at your collection. How is it stored? Is it in a cupboard near to the floor? Often this is not a good place to store your collection especially if your house is damp or areas are unheated.

It is amazing how even valuable collections may be badly stored. Some stamps can be worth literally thousands of pounds each and still be stored in albums inside black hawid-type strips. Not the perfect method to store valuable stamps?

It would have been fine except for two important ingredients which had been added to the cocktail of storing those rare stamps: each album leaf was inserted inside a ‘plastic’ exhibition protector. Now what could be wrong with that? Perhaps nothing if the collection had been kept in a stable environment and the leaves had been regularly ‘aired’ but it hadn’t Worse still each hawid mount in which each stamp was inserted had been ‘glued’ to the album leaf with a ‘rubber-based’ glue, not light ‘lick-moistened’ as they are designed for.

Think old sellotape which sometimes breaks down into a gooey gluey substance that never dries. The plastic exhibition-protector sheets had ‘incubated’ the glue so it never had stabilised. The gooey glue had literally leached around the ends of the hawid mounts and insidiously reached the perf tips of some of the valuable stamps. That small decision probably cost thousands.

A recent collection had stamps which had been stored with great care. Doubtless when they entered the stock-book they were perfect but it was a very old stock-book. The stamps had never once been checked or moved probably in twenty + years.

The early stamps had toned around the perfs which was not immediately obvious until a stamp was moved and a yellow-brown outline of where the perforations had been was indelibly imprinted onto the stock-leaf which also smelt slightly musty.

Therefore take a close look at your stamps, how they are stored, where they are stored and if they are housed in one of those incredibly cheap ‘chinese type’ stockbooks which were so prevalent 20+ years ago. Consider moving your stamps now, especially if they are mint.

How Not to Store Your Stamp Collection
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