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H.e. Harris Crystal Mounts

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Posted 04/04/2020   5:47 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jkelley01938 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I switched over to Showgards years ago. Those stamps previously in Crystal Mounts did not suffer any damage.

Jack Kelley
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Posted 04/04/2020   6:31 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Crystal Mounts are awful. I have seen far too many damaged and ruined stamps in old collections because of them.
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Posted 04/05/2020   2:32 pm  Show Profile Check Stamps1962's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Stamps1962 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
While sheltering in place the past weeks, I've been catching up on mounting projects. I finally got to a large lot on album pages I bought some months ago; there was a nice collection of Greece on International pages, every last one of the stamps entombed in this horrid stuff. I'm having to extract them one by one, some appear OK, many are damaged. I think the dealer who sold it worked these pages in as part of a bulk lot because none of his other customers wanted to deal with it.
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Posted 04/10/2020   10:52 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
PMStamps, how sad that your Dad's stamp collection is now ruined. I imagine you'd almost wish someone (maybe your Dad) had realized how bad the damage was and simply thrown the collection away! I can't imagine how stamps with the glue from cellophane (Scotch) tape on them could be saved. But you never know.

If I were you, I'd experiment a little with glue removers, soaking in various liquids and chemicals that might remove the glue -- but I wouldn't be optimistic. Have you tried "Super Safe Stamp Lift Fluid"? It might be worth trying just so you know you tried everything you could think of.

And here are three long-shots which do remove glue that you might want to try. But they may also ruin your stamps to some degree.

GooGone - a fairly mild glue remover that is unlikely to work, but you never know. Soak a stamp or two in it and see how good or bad it is.

Goof Off - a much more aggressive glue remover that does not harm metal but will hurt album covers, vinyl or paper. You might try soaking a stamp with it to see if the glue residue magically disappears. Since it's a chemical, do this with the windows open! I use it only outside.

Pure Citrus air freshener - much safer and this one smells good! This spray product is often used to remove the very strong self-adhesive glues used on modern stamps. Spraying the back of the paper a stamp is attached to will allow it to soak through the paper so the stamp can be lifted off the paper. It probably won't do anything for your brown glue stains but you never know.

Crystal Mounts are another reason I've become sour in my old age about my favorite childhood stamp dealer, Henry E. Harris. It was H.E. Harris who pioneered Crystal Mounts back in the late 1950s or 1960s. I bought a few packages, myself, at the time (along with HE Harris approvals) and I still have a few dozen stamps mounted in Crystal Mounts in one or two of my albums. Fortunately, I was just lazy enough to never use Scotch tape to keep the stamps inside. So those stamps have survived. But even without Scotch tape to hold loose stamps in, the glue on the back of Crystal Mounts stains album pages brown very badly. Crystal Mounts were really poorly designed. Collectors were the group they were tested on which is why H.E. Harris and I aren't talking anymore. They're not made anymore, but I still see them for sale sometimes on eBay. Unbelievable.
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Edited by DrewM - 04/10/2020 11:04 pm
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Posted 04/15/2020   2:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add soccerfan to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
How popular were they back in the 1950s? They were probably the rave of the last millennium, but not this millennium!
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Posted 04/15/2020   3:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gmot to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I just broke up an old Harris US album - one of the back pages was a big ad for these new, wonderful Crystal Mounts... I had to throw out most of an Israel collection last year due to them, so I scowled at the page and crumpled it up - that'll show them!
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Posted 04/15/2020   4:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Hal to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Crystal Mounts + Mint Stamps = TRASH CAN!
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Posted 04/15/2020   8:41 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Crystal mounts were very popular in the 1950s through even the 1970s and were still being used later. Some stamps survived okay, but a lot were ruined. Even the 1970s, problems were noticed but it was chalked up to bad storage or sloppy collectors.
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Edited by hy-brasil - 04/15/2020 8:43 pm
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Posted 04/15/2020   10:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add BrentAbba to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Just found four packs of Crystal mounts in the back of an album I bought and stored some time back. I addded them to my collection this week -- my garbage collection! Hope the guys at the landfill enjoy them.
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Posted 04/16/2020   03:02 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
One more thing about Crystal Mounts, the mounts collectors have learned to hate: They were "designed" (if that's even the right word) to be almost universal sizes. I think they came in only a few sizes, like "small," "medium," and "large". Sure, that'll work just fine! You were supposed to put the stamp into the mount that was closest in size to what you wanted (so far so good). Then you used scissors (uh oh) to trim the mount to the best length for that stamp. Then, and get this, you were supposed to kind of fold over the excess mount at the top of the stamp somehow and crease it, I guess. That's not going to work. Then you licked the glue and put it on the album page.

Then when the stamp shifted and started to fall out of the badly-sized mount, you grabbed your Scotch tape and put a little piece on each end of the mount. That's what killed so many stamps -- the tape. And, as I said earlier, the glue used on Crystal Mounts was god-awful for albums. It stained the page brown. -

I shudder to think of this now. You'd be better off using Saran Wrap with a hinge on the back.
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Posted 04/26/2020   6:23 pm  Show Profile Check Stamps1962's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Stamps1962 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Drew I second the sentiments about H E Harris.I too got approvals from them as a kid, as an adult collector I reopened my childhood collection and as a more mature collector realized nearly all the stamps I got from them were defective. That cannot be a coincidence.

They once sent me a mailing with empty glassines. No stamps. I sent the glassines back telling them what happened, you can imagine how that went. My dad wound up sending a letter to the attorney they sent after me. Think about that; two bucks worth of junk and they sic a kid with a lawyer? I nearly was lost to collecting. Others weren't so lucky. I cannot blame Harris personally I suppose but he was not the philatelic saint he seems to have become.
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Posted 04/26/2020   7:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jkelley01938 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Gee Stamps, you were having problems even back then! I never got approvals from HE Harris. I used to go right into the store.

Jack Kelley
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Posted 04/27/2020   4:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Fortunately, I have good memories of H.E. Harris, meaning the company, of course, not the man who I have no opinions about. They were one of the main reasons I became a stamp collector. They advertised in Boy's Life (the Boy Scout magazine I received) and other publications, and it was easy to tape a couple of coins to a piece of cardboard to pay for the approvals I chose to keep. I never had any problems with them, but it sounds like they could be overly aggressive at times. I never noticed any defective stamps from them, myself, but then I didn't buy all that much from them, either, shifting pretty quickly to other sources of approvals and "big bags o' stamps" kind of purchases.

I still remember H.E. Harris fondly, so I don't want that memory ruined too easily, I guess. For me, it's the Crystal Mounts that make me wonder if he, the man, or his consultants in the company were making any effort at all. How could you sell a product as bad as those mounts?

On the other hand, Crystal Mounts may have been the very first stamp mounts widely available, and you had to start somewhere. And maybe finding out about the problems with them required some time -- for the glue to ruin the album pages and to migrate into the stamps! But that's what I think the H.E. Harris Company should have known about before they began selling the mounts. Not sure why they didn't.

But, after all, consumer product testing back then was pretty much non-existent as the unsafe cars and other products sold back then attest. So I don't suppose most sellers of stamp collecting items would have tested their products, either. It seems to me that a lot of older Scott Publishing products like albums pages and binders were not well designed either, although they weren't likely to ruin your stamps.

This is probably better in a separate thread, but the evaluation of older stamp products like Crystal Mounts and older albums and pages is a worthwhile topic, I think. Today's consumer rights focus sure didn't exist back then. I've seen a lot of older stamp albums that are badly aged due to cheap paper, and Scott's paper-hinged binders were certainly not well thought through any more than vinyl binders were which tear--or more recent bad stamp hinges that can't be removed. There's a lot of junk out there! So keep your eyes open.

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Edited by DrewM - 04/27/2020 4:12 pm
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Posted 04/27/2020   7:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jkelley01938 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Drew,

I daresay that the ill efforts of Crystal Mounts were not known back then. Like asbestos or DDT. I remember Harris fondly like you. I still have my 1958 catalog!

Jack Kelley
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Posted 04/28/2020   05:52 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add erilaz to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I remember H.E. Harris fondly, as well. Not only did I get approvals from them, I was also able to buy their Statesman worldwide album and their Canada album for affordable prices at local department stores. And I lived in a town of 50,000 people, not some big, booming metropolis. (Yes, I was able to buy their Canada album at a department store in a mid-sized California town. How times have changed!)
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