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.  


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