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 – 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.  


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