cddstamps on stamps

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Collectors Buying With Confidence – How do I clean toning from stamps?




Collectors Buying With Confidence –  How do I clean toning  from stamps?    


Hello, in the previous article I mentioned about cleaning stamps that have a light toning, cleaning to remove the brownish spots, by using a very light chorine solution. Well the first  sheet of stamps in that article is not worth it, just wont have any success and the second example I used would see you remove, or at best partially remove, the gum and since the value is pennies don’t even bother, just buy a new stamp or set of the stamps.


But there may be times when you might want to try the chorine cleaning solution. A used stamp that is very cheap and is not worth buying, or something with a bit more value?  As collectors buying with confidence we can decide what is best for a given situation.


Let me take the cleaning topic a step further and discuss two aspects of cleaning. This article will address the first, cleaning toning. A second article will address another aspect – cleaning dirty stamps.   You can read more on these from many websites which offer similar advice but this is my attempt at a shorter text to cover the basics.


So, the removal of toning first. As I say you can soak the stamp in a very light or should I say weak chlorine solution.   Only one stamp at a time and only for say 20 to 30 seconds, moving the stamp around in the solution.  Then, remove the stamp and soak again for about a say a minute in clean water. It is also worth testing this out on a stamp you really can throw away.   Get to know the reaction on the stamp to the solution you have made up.  This is a very simplified view and if you ask a chemist you will get a 1000 word or more discussion. But the principle is right as best I have read and tried.


Now if you do some research you may see some articles saying use an ammonia solution.  Not necessarily wrong as this will remove the stain, and by all accounts gives you a good result if the solution is not too strong,  but – and I am again being as basic as I can be here – ammonia is not a disinfectant so will not kill the bacteria – the rust mold, whereas chlorine is a disinfectant and will kill the  bacteria as well as whiten the paper of the stamp.


One last point, the stamp itself plays a very important part in the outcome of the cleaning process, depending on what solution you use. The type of ink, the ink colour or pigments, the type of paper,  the engraving method I believe can even affect outcomes and no doubt more.  Too much detail to even begin to comment further.  I mention this in case someone  thinks I have missed something. Yes I know there is far far more to all this but I am trying to be brief and cover the basics.


One tip -   for a test case get a stamp, cut it in half, try one half in one solution, one in another and  learn the results.  Useful idea?


And finally, if in doubt, perhaps buy a product like the Lindner stain remover, or another I believe called a mildew remover for stamps which I believe are meant to be good.


So, be careful out there.   Collectors buying with confidence can also be collectors cleaning with confidence 😊


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

Collectors Buying With Confidence – What is toning, what is rust?




Collectors Buying With Confidence –  What is toning, what is rust?   


Hello, I touched on this very briefly, that is, you might find toning on the reverse of a stamp but will only know about it if you see the reverse of the stamp. 


Well here is a rather different example I came across, there are hundreds I could show as examples to explain, but I think this one is pretty good for the purpose. To be blunt, it is embarrassing that someone would  even think of listing this for sale.




As defined in many philatelic glossaries, toning, or rust or foxing are other terms used, is, in simple terms, the brownish spot(s) you see on a stamp and or the perforations as seen from the front and or the reverse.  Or in the example above all over the sheetlet.


This condition is caused by the stamp being poorly stored in a damp condition such that a mold or fungus grows on the paper.   Often thought of as a brown mold and one that can spread from stamp to stamp even when stored in an album.  Toning can be found on used and mint stamps and can be particularly noticeable on certain gums and especially in tropical climates where there is high humidity and stamps and albums are not stored in suitably dry conditions and without adequate air ventilation.


What to do if you have a stamp or stamps with toning.   First choice is throw it away, but that is not always practical.  Second or maybe first option is to clean it in a very light chlorine solution.   There are many pros and cons to this and I wont explore them all here but just repeat, a very light solution so as not to damage the stamp by fading colour for example, or making the image too bright. Another topic to discuss.



I have this stamp above.  I should throw it away, I know.  I will keep it until I get a better copy   but I will keep it in a black mount and well separated from other stamps in the album.  I won’t try to clean it as it is a mint stamp and that would just remove the gum, and anyway I rather like it as a spacefiller for now.  No value, just that I like it and the new one has not arrived yet.


Anyway, one final point. When you as a collector buying with confidence get the stamps you have purchased, how confident can you be about how the stamps were stored by the previous owner?  You most likely do not know the condition of the place they came from so a stamp may not seem to have toning when you get it because you cannot see the brown spotting, but in time it might develop especially if your storage conditions are less than ideal.  All the more reason to make sure you store your stamps in the appropriate storage conditions.


So, be careful out there.   Whatever the suggested retail value of a stamp, collectors buying with confidence will always pay attention to the condition, especially if it looks like there is a sign of toning.  


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

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

 Part XVI

 Collectors Buying With Confidence – that is damaged isn’t it ??   

 Hello, how are we all?    Well and enjoying our collections.     I have been quiet because I really wasn’t sure what to write about. Then I saw this. Well, I just couldn’t resist it as a topic. It is damaged isn’t it?



It is of course SG 452 issued in 1970  with a cat listing (2021) of £15 in SG (Scott $16) for a very fine condition stamp.  It is clearly damaged and might pass as a spacefiller for a $1.  Certainly would not pass any quick look and see and come up with a Fine Very Fine condition description. Seriously, that is the condition description it is listed with. I won’t tell you the asking price just in case you are prone to shock reactions.  Ok  I will, $12.25 USD.


Time and time again I remind myself that collectors are very smart and would never be fooled into thinking this was anything other than a damaged stamp and would never pay more than $1 for it as a spacefiller.  But I see so much sold that is junk I just think a quick reminder is worth my time if it helps collectors buying with confidence.  And anyway, isn’t it fun to see some of the rubbish being listed on these online market places 😊  Who are these sellers I often wonder?


So, be careful out there.   When you see a stamp that is clearly damaged do  not waste your money.    Go without and wait another day.   Enjoy and buy with confidence.


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

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Collectors Buying With Confidence – returns not accepted??


Part XV


Collectors Buying With Confidence –       no returns accepted??   


Hello, so here I am doing some research, having a pleasant time looking at listings, laughing at some of the sellers ideas of a decent stamp and impressed with others for the quality of their scans and descriptions -  make a note of them as sellers worth looking to buy from if they have what I am looking  for.  Often, when I know what I want I will first go to those sellers and search their store.    Why waste time searching all the listing when so many sellers are just, well you decide what word I should use.


So I see this nice stamp.   Ok, I read the details and there it is,  “Returns not accepted”. Well, I don’t know about you, but that just turned me off right away.  


Am I wrong?  Would you buy from a seller that says, Returns not accepted?   In the past two weeks I have had two orders out of 10 that were nowhere near as described and I sent the stamps back and got a refund.  Ok so I learnt my lesson not to buy from these sellers again. And ok, sometimes people make mistakes.  But to bluntly say, and it was not hidden in the details I might add, Returns not accepted,  is that a sign of a quality seller?


Well, am I wrong?


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


Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Collectors Buying With Confidence – what is a stock image??

 Part XIV

Collectors Buying With Confidence –      what is a stock image??    

Hello,  yes I am back as finally I have another topic.  I have been waiting on a few purchases to arrive.  One purchase in particular.  I will be honest and say I wasted my money but it was not anything much and I was thinking at the time it might give me material to write about. And sure as day follows night, it has done. 

Received the order today.  Opened the envelope carefully – I always do and I recommend you always do because in my experience  well over 50% of people who sell stamps on these online marketplaces have absolutely no idea how to pack stamps, especially mint stamps and perhaps  anecdotally people who say, ,stock  photo. 

I had two mint stamps in the order as you can see and as I opened the envelope one fell out.   Luckily the cat knows not to lick stamps.  Am joking here, I don’t have a cat! 

But the real point is this.  Collectors buying with confidence should not in my humble opinion as a rule, unless there is an exceptional circumstance, should not buy from a seller that says in their description, stock photo, or stock picture or example of the stamp you will get.    That is my rule.  I only did it this time to prove I was right. 

I think in some circles it is called click bait. Whatever, it is tantamount to a con trick. If you cannot see what you are buying, perhaps you should either ask to see it, or move on to the next store. 

In this example I don’t mind wasting the money as I have something to show and perhaps to help other collectors buy with confidence and reduce the likelihood of you being disappointed when the stamp or stamps arrive.   Bit of a click bait listing wasn’t it! The seller had no intention of selling stamps even close to the one listed.



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

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