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Soaking The Right Way?

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Valued Member
United States
199 Posts
Posted 04/29/2020   03:19 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jossanders52 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have my method to soak stamps from old 100++ years documents.
(for my Thailand revenue collection)

If I use room temperature clean water, it will take days to soak off and then when I remove stamps, most will be damaged or in pieces because some area of the stamps still stick to the paper.

So, I cut excess paper away. Put the stamps in a glass bowl inside the microwave, use the same program I use to heat my coffee water for 2 minutes. After that I take stamp by stamp out of the bowl then slowly peel the backing paper away.

I never put my stamps to dry on paper, they either curl too much or some perforations or even complete stamps stick to the paper due to some glue remnants.
I put the stamps upside down on a bath towel and just let dry in the air for maybe 2 hours. After that some stamps are slightly curled. I take a magazine with glossy paper and put stamps close to the spine, then every few pages I put maybe some 10 stamps. Let it flatten for a week by putting some weight on the magazine

After that my stamps look flat, are not discolored and look in general cleaner than before I started to soak.

I guess that old stamps use ink more stable against high temperatures than modern stamps. Also in the old days many stamps were stuck on the documents using so called bone glue, which will never soften or dissolve in room temperature water.

I live in Bangkok Thailand, using hot water you can call me a stamp barbarian, but its the only way to get stamps in 1 piece off the documents.

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New Member
United States
1 Posts
Posted 01/23/2022   5:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Butchie to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I noticed the comments regarding orange for self adhesive stamps. I found that the orange I purchased in stores/hobby shops didn't work well for me. I kept seeing comments about it so I purchased some food grade quality D-Limonene from a chemical supply site. It works sometimes within seconds depending on the cover material without worry about getting it on the face destroying it. But after some accidental memory lapses and forgetting to peel them I discovered in many countries that if I let the stamps sit for a given amount of time the stamp will not only peel off but will have zero amount of adhesive remaining. Zero. Some have been up to 30-50 minutes but it was worth it not having to deal with the glue. For those that do leave adhesive I rub corn starch into it and have never had the glue return. I used to use talc but it always left a static cling on the face dulling the design. I have also had excellent results peeling stamps with those security punched tabs. Self adhesive stuck on self adhesive works most of the time. Even scotch tape if it hasn't been long enough to stain.
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Valued Member
United Kingdom
161 Posts
Posted 01/24/2022   09:18 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add crispinhj to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

but its the only way to get stamps in 1 piece off the documents.

I am quite keen on cleaning stamps - even very common ones. I don't think leaving dirt, lumps of hinge and gunky adhesive on stamps does anything for preserving them for the future. So most stamps I want to study or put in my albums get a bit of a bath.

I don't suppose "bone adhesive" would do much for the longevity of the stamps either, so cleaning them off would be a good idea. I imagine the glue used would have been like Seccotine that conveniently came in a tube
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