cddstamps on stamps

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

Sunday, September 03, 2023

Collectors Buying With Confidence – Can you soak self adhesive stamps off envelopes?

Collectors Buying With Confidence –  Can you soak self adhesive stamps off envelopes? 

Confronted with this $64,000 question how would you answer?   The answer is yes you can. But, the right question to ask might be, should you remove self adhesive stamps from envelopes?

And even that question needs further detail.   Simply put, self adhesives are just that, peel and stick in some countries jargon. Peel the stamp from a backing paper and stick with the self adhesive gum on the letter or package or whatever is being mailed.

And, yes different countries, different years of issue, different printers, many different self adhesive gums and you will find many different degrees of let’s say “stickiness”.  For example, early Australia self adhesives  soak away quite easily and  if care is taken  there can be no obvious damage to the stamp.  Modern Australia stamps have little removeable tabs or slits, which if a stamp is removed from its envelope, for example after being stuck on the envelope, can peel away showing the stamp has been used.  Same for GB Security Machins as many will know. 

I could write on this topic for ever because of the many variables, the gum differences from country to country  / printer to printer and the Postal Administration security features that are incorporated into the stamps. But that might just confuse so I will try to be concise.

For collectors, you have to decide what is acceptable in your collection.   Some collectors do not want stamps “on piece” in their albums so they want stamps removed from the envelope even if it means using chemicals to  “remove” the gum.  Others find it acceptable to have a stamp “on piece” with a small envelope margin. (see image below)

Collectors Buying With Confidence means the collector can buy what suits them, and, in my opinion, as long as they understand what it is they are buying that is ok . My experience and observations are that  many sellers soak self adhesives using a chemical  but the end result does not  leave a stamp in good condition.

Even soaking in water can, as perhaps you can see on these two Australia stamps below, leave the stamp “damaged”.  I only kept these while sorting a collection we recently bought so I had something to show for this article. The creasing is from the soaking and the removal of the stamp from the envelope with the gum separation causing the wrinkling.  These are damaged, but unless you look at them at an angle under light you might not see the damage.



Below, the stamp when seen from a scan.


One more example.



Again  below the stamp seen from a scan.





The  first image of the two stamps is taken with a camera because the soaking damage does not necessarily show on a flat scan: it is more often only seen when the stamp is held at an angle to the light. We would never dream of listing these for sale but sadly, in my opinion, whether it be Australia, or GB Machins, or USA or other countries self adhesives, that is not how many other sellers see things. 

Another example. Here is a GB Security Machin. A scanned copy, so it might not be too obvious because it is flat and not at an angle to the light but compared to a copy on piece (below) you might see the difference. The “soaked” copy,  I read this was removed from the envelope with a chemical, clearly is not the true pure colour it should be even allowing for a good or poor scanner.  There is a high probability, in my view, the image has been adjusted as well, because the security slits do not, under normal scans, show to be that colour dominant.



We have thousands of these 2nd class stamps in stock and I can assure you I have never seen a stamp with this “colouring”.



A copy still “on piece” with a trimmed margin of the envelope.

Collectors Buying With Confidence means knowing what you are buying when it comes to self adhesives, and yes the images you see in listings. If you want a damaged stamp so be it. If the seller  tells you it is not damaged or doesn't mention anything in the listing description, you be the judge of what a chemical does to the paper. Often the image pretty much tells the story.  

Michael …. Please visit my online store    where I think you will see quality and appropriately described stamps.  


At 4:27 AM, Blogger Ian - Norvic said...

The key thing with self-adhesive stamps is that some of them no longer have the water-soluble layer between the stamp and the glue.

Modern Great Britain self-adhesives are like this since 2009 - not just Machins, but current definitives and self-adhesive special stamps and miniature sheets.

At 1:44 AM, Blogger michaelatcddstamps said...

Excellent follow up and many thanks for adding that. Collectors should learn the gum type before they try to soak, whether it be water or a chemical, although I think you know my view on that now! Michael


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