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Acetone And Scotch Tape

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Posted 09/23/2020   9:52 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"So lets say you spot a pricy cover online that you would really like to have, you order it and it arrives. When you get the cover out you immediately notice the smell of acetone but the seller never disclosed that they chemically altered the cover. Upon close inspection you can see very faint tape mounting marks on the cover. Would you be ok with this?"

You would not notice a smell of acetone (unless it was sent enclosed in plastic) because acetone completely evaporates very fast (it would be long gone before it gets to your mail box). As for residual tape marks, if not disclosed they would not be ok (but would be better than heavy marks unless there was a now wider stain).

"Will acetone make changes to the paper chemistry over time?"

Someone will get back to you in 50 years. A more serious answer is I suspect not but can't prove it. You do have to admit we have been subjecting stamps (including very expensive ones) to various watermark fluids (both for watermark detection and fault detection) for a long time and I have yet to hear that they have caused a paper deterioration. And I have to admit tat each chemical is different and thus acetone could be a problem. We need a good chemist to weigh in.
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Posted 09/24/2020   02:33 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The only moderately sure way an altered stamp or one treated with a chemical can bear a warning about it is if you wrote it on the back of the stamp -- or somehow attached a label to it. But even expertization reports get separated from stamps all the time. I have a few lying around separate from their stamps that I should put with those stamps.

I circle thins on the back of stamp or add small arrows pointing at tiny tears -- just to help a future buyer or owner notice them. But my writing like this on the back of my stamps is going to upset a lot of collectors. So marking on the back is not likely to work, and If I wrote "acetone dipped," it probably wouldn't even fit. Or the next owner might just erase it (I write very lightly!).

My point is that, practically speaking, there is almost no way to notify future owners that a stamp been subjected to anything -- trimming of perfs, repaired thins, acetone baths, you name it. . We "should" do that, no doubt about it. But I don't think it's possible in any way that is likely to work. The future owner is likely going to have to figure that out themselves -- or get it expertized, and experitzing is not likely to be able to identify that a stamp was dipped in acetone any more than it was dipped in watermark fluid.

As for the acetone bath experiment in 2014, I'm really blown away by how much improvement it brought to those stamps -- with some caveats. On the older stamps, it almost worked a miracle in eliminating the tape and most of the glue from that tape. On the more modern (second batch) stamps, there's some color fading or staining visible most clearly on the back of the stamps -- which is troubling. But even they seem to have better looking fronts after the acetone bath. It's been six years now since that experiment, and I wonder if those stamps are still in good shape? If they've all disintegrated, I'd sure like to know! But I doubt it.

I don't know if acetone dipping stamps is ethical or not, but I think it is. And I don't know if it's a good practice in terms of preserving stamps. Normally, I'd throw away any stamp with any kind of tape mark on it. To me, it's worthless. That may be a good thing as it removes such damaged stamps from the gene pool forever. Now, however, I might not be so quick to do that. I'll also inspect the more valuable stamps I buy "just in case" I think they got brightened up by acetone at some point. Whether that would bother me or not, I don't know, but I don't think I'd be bothered by it. Most likely the only way anyone would know is by the fading or streaking of ink on the back of the stamp which would significantly lower its value, but that could happen from soaking in water, too, or other ways, I suppose.
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Edited by DrewM - 09/24/2020 02:48 am
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Posted 09/24/2020   03:52 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add redwoodrandy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Acetone. Writing on stamps. No & No.
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Posted 09/24/2020   10:24 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add PMStamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I don't agree with the quick No for Acetone. It depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you are trying to save a stamp from the garbage bin and include it in your own collection, then I think it is a worthwhile effort. As I stated in other posts I am trying to save whatever I can from my Dad's Crystal Mount damaged collection and incorporate them in my own. If a quick 5 minute bath in Acetone removes the tape translucence and ugly brown stain without affecting the colour or the gum of the stamp, then I add it to my collection. If the colour runs or fades, the stamp goes into the garbage.

If on the other hand you are trying to eliminate a cancel or create a colour shade variation, then I too agree on a big No.
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Posted 09/24/2020   11:09 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
...My point is that, practically speaking, there is almost no way to notify future owners that a stamp been subjected to anything...


Funny how many collector have no difficulty retaining a separate certificate as long as it makes the stamp worth more. But apparently some do not have the ethics to keep a history of the alterations or amateurish chemical 'treatments' they have exposed a stamp or cover to.

To reiterate, this is public forum and read by thousands of people, telling them that they can be soaking their stamps in chemicals is a bad idea on several levels. It is better that we encourage good stewardship.

Acetone can be harmful to stamps, it will fade some of them and can totally ruin other stamps depending upon the soak time, printing type, and some cancel ink.

Lastly, acetone is commonly used to remove manuscript cancels on classic stamps. (Hell, they acetone to clean fountain pens.) Soak a stamp in acetone and anytime in the future if the stamp gets analyzed under a VSC6000 it will likely be flagged as altered/cleaned. (The original poster was speaking about doing this to US stamps #7, #13 and #17, stamps that are likely to have manuscript cancels and that one day in the future may be sent in for certs.)
Don
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Posted 09/24/2020   11:30 am  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I did not read the entire thread when I posted yesterday. I did not realize there was talk of "improving" a cancel. I completely oppose that. I am just open to the possibility of removing tape stains from covers.

Someone mentioned sending things to a professional preserver (I think they used a different name for them), but we have no clue what chemicals they use, do we?
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Posted 10/13/2020   10:31 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add modern_who to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have read, long ago, that carbon tetrachloride would dissolve the rubber base of Scotch type tapes. My father had an electronics repair service after the war (WWII) and had a gallon of it sitting around as a solvent for cleaning things. My brother and I used to play with the stuff back in the 1950's and dissolve moth flakes in it to spray a quickly dissipating "frost" on windows; also to kill flies. (We also used to rub mercury on silver dimes to make them super shiny only to watch them turn into a dull amalgam. Experimenting with pyrotechnics was fun, too. Those were the days, and we're both still here, both having survived tours in Vietnam, as well.) But back to the carbon tet. Try finding that today. I would suggest researching what might be or is being used as a "safe" replacement and experiment with that on some expendable taped stamps (and as far as I'm concerned, if they can't be recovered they are all expendable). What have you got to lose?
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Larry, APS Member

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Posted 10/13/2020   10:50 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
... What have you got to lose?


In the 1970s, I worked my way through college by working second shift in a textile mill. I ran a dye beck and was exposed to o-Toluidine and aniline dyes. It took 35 years but I end up with bladder cancer and on dialysis. (According to researchers and my doctors at Duke they are convinced that given my history I developed the rare bladder cancer I have due to the exposure I had in the 1970s.)

What have I lost:
- my free time since I now spend 20 hours a week being kept alive by a machine
- a kidney and bladder
- just north of $3 million in medical costs
- I can only drink a total 30 ounces of fluid per day
- I can only eat 1200 calories of a renal diet per day
- 58 operations in last 6 years and another one this week

So yes, you can have a lot to lose.
Don
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Posted 10/13/2020   2:12 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add modern_who to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hey, 51studebaker

I'm talking about a stamp with tape on it. The danger with carbon tetrachloride is asphyxiation and it is not a problem if used in a well ventilated area. You don't want to breath the stuff just like you don't want to breath a whole lot of things such as gasoline fumes. Don't read into this something I didn't say.

Also, your argument is a non-sequitur.

CCl4 is a very simple compound compared to the kinds of things you were using. It looks like water and unlike most solvents, is non-flammable.

Also, carefully using a small quantity for a few minutes is not the equivalent of working in a toxic environment hours per day for a number of years.

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Larry, APS Member

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Edited by modern_who - 10/13/2020 2:20 pm
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Posted 10/13/2020   2:51 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add modern_who to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Go GREEN. Retired Clinical Laboratory Scientist.


So what would you suggest? Chlorophyll, that's the greenest natural substance I know?

Solar panels? Bird decimating windmills, maybe? Plant a tree?

Looks like going green doesn't really give us an answer for this, does it?
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Larry, APS Member

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Posted 10/13/2020   3:34 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Larry,
I do not understand how my post could be considered non-sequitur. The discussion is about hobbyists using chemicals to alter stamps. My post above makes the point that some chemicals can be harmful to be around, seems applicable to me.

But my primary concern is people posting potentially damaging suggestions (to the stamps/covers or to ourselves) in a public forum. The original poster was asking about using acetone on older US stamps and if it will 'attack' the ink in manuscript cancels. (Which it will.) In my opinion we should not be suggesting that folks can play amateur chemists with classic stamps and in a public forum. We have little control over how others might react to such a recommendation; some collectors might think 'if a little of this stuff works ok then a lot will work even better'. If a hobbyists has a classic stamp their grandfather used some scotch tape on, suggesting they experiment on it might end up with them totally ruining the stamp. Better that they retain a stained stamp with a connection to their family than losing the stamp forever.

This community reaches hundreds of people a day, the majority of which never post anything and many of which have less experience than most of the regular posters. This is not like a stamp club meeting where a few highly experienced hobbyists are in a corner discussing a topic like chemically altering a stamp. This is more like standing in front of a bunch of people in the local park; what we say reaches a highly diverse audience (in terms of levels of philatelic knowledge). I think that we (the community) should be consistent in the messaging on being good stewards of the material in our current procession and as such the first priority should be 'do no harm'. That means no harm to the stamps/cover, do no harm to ourselves, do no harm to others or the environment. And in my opinion we should not be recommending folks use chemicals which will remove manuscript cancels and/or be detectable as being chemically treated since this alters the stamp forever.
Don
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Posted 10/13/2020   4:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add PMStamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Crystal Mounts and the associated practice in the 60s and 70s of closing the sides of the ineffective Crystal Mounts with small pieces of tape caused major harm to the stamps. The brown seepage from the Crystal Mount adhesive and/or the tape pieces ruined an entire collection and basically made the stamps in the collection uncollectable. When my father passed away and I ended up inheriting the collection, my intent was to amalgamate what I needed into my own collection. For 39 years since his passing I have continued to try and somehow salvage some of the stamps. I am not trying to alter them, remove cancels or anything like that. I am trying to restore some back to a collectable appearance.

I tried to sell the collection through 2 different auction houses and both stated it was very nice material cataloguing in the 10s of thousands, but with the tape staining I would be lucky to get $100. So the choice became - the trash bin or some form of restoration. Several thousand stamps have already gone through the shredder, but if I find a stamp cataloguing $100 or more I will try and rescue it. So far very hot water baths will crystalize the tape translucence to the point where it will scrape off with a knife, but will not remove the brown stain. Acetone on the other hand removes both within 3-5 minutes but has the potential of bleeding the ink. So I have a success rate of 1 in 5 which is better than throwing the whole thing into the shredder.
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Edited by PMStamp - 10/13/2020 4:48 pm
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Posted 10/13/2020   5:01 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
PM Stamps,
Thanks for posting your experience. Since you mentioned selling the collection, will you be trying to sell the chemically treated stamps when you get done? If so, will you disclose to the buyer(s) that the stamps have been treated? And if disclosed, how much value do you feel the restoration has added to the stamps that responded well to the treatment?
Don
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Posted 10/13/2020   5:52 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add PMStamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
51studebaker,
Do you consider stamps that have been exposed to lighter fluid or watermark fluid for detecting watermarks as chemically treated? If not why not?

I have no intention of selling my collection, and yes I have noted in my stamp database any stamp in my collection that has been exposed to Acetone, whether by a QTip dab or a short bath. Same as all the rest that have gone through the shredder, these will go into the shredder if I get a replacement, or if they are worthwhile selling they would be listed as faulty or defective.

I'm not reperfing, not regumming, not creating imperforates or any of the other fraudulent behaviours, I am merely trying to remove tape residue in order to include stamps that I need in my own collection. If this is so bad then why can I pick up a book in the library that deals with the various chemicals that can be used to deal with certain stamp stains?
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Posted 10/13/2020   6:49 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, I consider a stamp which has been exposed lighter fluid or watermark fluid as being exposed to chemicals. I would not consider the presence of a process in a book as adding validity, for example there are books published on how to build bombs.

In terms of seller disclosure, the differentiation is less about chemicals and more about conservation vs. restoration.

Conservation means working to preserve a stamp or cover. On the other hand restoration means working to put a stamp or cover back to its original appearance.

My opinion is that a seller does not need to disclose conservation actions taken but should disclose any restoration actions that have been done on a stamp or cover.
Don
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