cddstamps on stamps

my thoughts on stamps, stamp collecting, philately in general and maybe a few other topics !

Saturday, October 31, 2020 maybe it is only a number but we are very proud of it. 20,000 positive feedbacks Thank you to our wonderful customers. We look forward to seeing you again and welcoming new customers. Have a philatelic day. Stay safe cddstamps

Monday, October 26, 2020

 Part II - Cleaning Stamps

 I split this article into two part. I hope this  second and final part is interesting, especially the  images.

 Now let’s take this theme of cleaning the stamp one step further. And in this case I want to talk a little about removing self-adhesive stamps from their envelope of use.

Early self-adhesive stamp actually soaked off the envelope quite easily.     This can be seen in UK and Australia stamps for example.  But more recent self-adhesive gums are in fact produced to be so  “adhesive” they do not  allow the stamp to be soaked from the envelope. A massive loss to the beginner stamp collectors of this world -  well that is the old school talking isn’t it!

But seriously, for example, let’s take the Great Britain Security Machins – introduced in 2009  with  new security features, namely no water soluble layer of gum between the paper of the stamp and the self-adhesive and  the U shaped security slits.  The absence of the water soluble gum  made the removal of the stamp from  an envelope rather difficult – certainly a soak in warm water did not work -   and the security slits were designed such that if an attempt was made to remove the stamps from the envelope the  paper in the slits would be removed from the stamp.  The security slits were also designed to prevent forgery I might add.


Many collectors who now collect Security Machins are collecting the stamps “on piece”.  In fact if one reads the Stanley Gibbons  Catalogue  about these Security Machins you will see they say    “We recommend that used stamps are retained on their backing paper and trimmed with a uniform border of 1-2mm around all sides, taking care not to cut into the perforations”

But this has not stopped many people from finding a way to remove the Security Machin stamp from the backing paper. On a personal note, I do not endorse this practice. I know many who do and you can find many sellers with Security Machins in their internet stamp shops “off paper”.

The chemical concoctions used vary quite widely. There are pages and pages of guidance and advice on how to remove these and many other modern self-adhesives stamps “safely” with no damage.  Personally I think adding a chemical of any sort to this type of stamp is going to cause some “damage’ in some form or another, or shall we say some change in the stamp.  Many tell me I am wrong and I understand there are varying opinions on this. Maybe each stamp and each type of cleaning  material will give difference results.

So in summary, three last points:  

1) The stamp is yours and what you do with it to please yourself and please how you have it in your collection is your choice. 

2)  If you are buying a Security Machin - or any other modern self-adhesive for that matter -  from an internet stamp sellers store  -  Buyer beware – the scanned or photographed image may not actually tell you all you need to know about the condition of the stamp. 

3)  If you are doing the removing yourself, once you have started to remove the stamp from the envelope / backing paper with one of the treatments there is no turning back – damage done cannot be repaired – it won’t recover like the hair on my daughters head!  

I hope you like the images. Most are mine, some are from a friend who helped me understand a bit about soaking Security Machins and one, well I just happened across them!


Health and safety note 😃  : only two stamps were “damaged” and thrown away in the making of this article.


Friday, October 23, 2020

Cleansing Stamps

 Cleaning Stamps

Hello and welcome to Part VII of my series, Caveat emptor.   In previous articles I have generally talked about the images we see listed to help describe a stamp or group of stamps. I have tried to give some insights into what to think about when looking at the images in the context of what the seller is presenting in the scanned or photographed image.

In this piece I want to talk about something a little different.   After writing it I realized it was rather long so it is in two parts.  This is Part I

Let’s forget stamps for a minute.  One day my daughter came home from work and her hair was lovely, a clean blonde look that quite suited her.    Hmmmm! I thought she was a redhead when she left this morning.  She was stunning as a redhead in my biased view.  Now she was stunning as a blonde!

I am reminded of this because I remember reading on a stamp chat forum some time ago about how to remove rust, or toning or foxing as it is also called, from a stamp.   Yep, just like my daughter’s hair….well sort of …. use some bleach or some chemical concoction and you can change the colour, so to speak, or to put it another way, remove the rust.

I do not advocate doing it to a stamp to  “remove” rust but it is done I am lead to believe and  until you actually get the stamp(s) you bought you won’t know, and even then you may not realise it has been treated in someway.   Does the treatment harm the stamp?   Does the treatment harm the hair?  some say maybe. Ultimately the hair will recover and it will grow back to its original colour.   Not so with the stamp.  Once treated that is it. You have what you have and as long as you as the collector are happy and look after the stamp  and do not  allow more rust to form then I guess that is ok.    Maybe it will never be seen that the stamp was treated to remove rust – each situation is different so there is no definitive answer anyway – but if ever you want to  sell such a stamp  it might prove to be a problem.    Buyer beware of course.

One example:  Above: pair before using a chemical to try to remove rust shading on the left hand stamp.  Second image below the reverse before using a chemical -  third image, the reverse  after  using chemical and  finally the front of the stamps after using a chemical on the left hand stamp.

This is a topic that has some sellers and collectors argue is acceptable and some present the opposite point of view.  It is you as the collector who has to decide what you find acceptable.  Just be aware that with let’s say ”old” stamps  say pre 1950s  - although we can always find rust on  more modern stamps if they have not been  stored in suitable conditions -  you will often find  rust, simply because of the age associated with the paper and the paper quality the stamps were printed on and the storage of them over  the years.  

Let me suggest this:  finding pristine condition stamps from the late 1800s and  early 1900s is possible from very well established dealers and  frequently at very high prices and  for stamps with excellent  providence, but I doubt – again generally speaking -  that such material is  generally available from the 1000s of  part time stamp sellers one finds these days across the  many internet philatelic portals that  exist on the internet    Simply put, if you see such material perhaps you should be asking yourself a few due diligence questions.     Yes, Buyer beware.

Perhaps I can give one more example here   The Great Britain George V  example below shows another perspective.  Not only the partial cleansing of the rusting but also a change in the colour of the stamp face after the cleansing.   

The image pair to the left show the stamps before cleansing, The image pair to the right is after cleansing.   This stamp has – as best I know - 18 colour shades.     This shade has clearly changed in the cleansing process. Buyer beware.

The images below show the before and after images of the reverse, and yes the cleansing has made an improvement. 

In Part II I will discuss  cleaning or rather soaking self adhesive gummed stamps  with particular reference to Great Britain Security Machins.

Have a lovely weekend and enjoy your stamps.   Michael 

Thursday, October 22, 2020


What’s in an Image Part III?    Addendum.

Fig 1  as per listing Qty 2 

    Fig 2   stamps as received

Hello do you remember reading Part VI of my series Caveat emptor and my piece “What’s in an Image Part III”, it was the previous article.  Sorry if I am complicating matters with my numbering.  It was about a seller showing an image of each and every stamp when there are multiple copies available of the stamp being sold.  

Well here we have the proof of my example. I spoke about a GB George VI stamp. The rather collectible  Scott  268  (SG 494)  The seller listed  “Qty 2”. The stamp shown  (Fig 1) is the stamp in the listing.  Guess what the buyer received?

Yes, the stamps, as in Fig 2, which are not two stamps with same quality as the one in the original listing. Well not in my view, because the centering on the second stamp was far from as good as the image shown. That is, the stamp to the left is very much centered offset to the right.   NB: Sorry about image quality but this is what has been sent to me.

Moral of story, apart from buyer beware, of course is this, ask for an image of the stamp you will are buying.

 Enjoy your collecting.  Buyer beware, or perhaps buy from an accredited  and well respected dealer?  Just a thought.

Stay safe    Michael

Friday, October 16, 2020


What’s in an Image Part III?

Hello and welcome to Part VI of my series Caveat emptor. I have talked previously about the theme, “what’s in an image”.  I have one more example to show on this. It concerns showing an image of each and every stamp when there are multiple copies available of the stamp being sold.

Let me explain.   You see a Mint Never Hinged copy of Scott  268  (SG 494) listed for sale.   This rather nice and very collectible stamp will fill that gap in your  GB George VI collection.  But when you look carefully you see the listing says Qty 2 . The image you see is nice, well centered  and while only the front of the stamp is shown  you think yes the price is right let's buy it.  If Mint Never Hinged it must be clean on the reverse as well.

Buyer beware,.  What do you get when your order arrives?  Do you get the stamp shown above on the left of the image which was the one you saw listed or the one on the right?  Maybe only small differences but none the less not exactly what you thought you were buying.  Many sellers will say   words to the effect “as good as the image shown or better”.  This is often is used when the  stamp is a used copy.     Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I am reminded and what is good quality to one eye may not be the same to another.

But let’s just reflect on the stamps above. The right hand image is not as well centered  and at the bottom right corner there is a fractionally short perf.  Very pedantic to see this but maybe you really do like full perfs on your Mint stamps.

Just one more example as below. I used a different right hand stamp this time to try to show a very minor blemish – very light yellowing in the gum.

 In my humble opinion, as a buyer you should see the  exact stamp you are buying on display. And, the more  the value the more justification there is for seeing the reverse of the stamp by the way.

I know this is regarded by some sellers as a debatable topic because they  argue there is  no reason to show a copy of every stamp  when the stamp is a modern stamp  and from a  Mint sheet for example. It is argued by many sellers, and well respected sellers I might add, that  when selling modern Mint  it is acceptable to  just list one image and  add “Qty 12” for example. On this point I am not going to disagree because in the majority of cases  I think this can be said to be true. But, and there can always be a but I think, one has to  look at the seller, are they known to you?, what is their reputation? and also  consider the stamp in question.   In my example the stamp was issued in 1948.  The printing quality was not,  back then, what is usually is today.

It is a question of buyer beware.  This article was provoked by something a friend of mine told me. I hope to show you a real life example  of this situation in the coming months.  I hope you keep reading and I welcome  “caveat emptor” topics to share.


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