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Self-Adhesive Stamps. How Long Will They Live For?

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United States
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Posted 09/25/2018   1:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add vovan to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
While traditional stamps or more specifically glue applied to the back of traditional stamps proved to be not harmful to the stamps for many centuries now, the new self-adhesive stamps are rather new to philatelic world. In fact, I recall the first issues of self-adhesive stamps had some serious issues with the adhesive used and ruined those issues.
Is there any info on the longevity of the modern day self-adhesive stamps (U.S.) or some study showing that it should last as long as traditional stamps?
I would really hate if all of my self-adhesive issues separate or yellow out in 20-30-40-50... years from now.
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Posted 09/25/2018   2:06 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am not sure anyone knows. The postal service could well have a shorter term perspective; they may feel that not having millions of dollars sold, unused stamps sitting in the public domain is a good thing. So a type of 'built-in obsolescence' with stamps may be considered a positive attribute. They also certain have taken a short-term perspective with kiosk printed stamps, those thermally printed will only last 6-7 years before the printing disappears.
Don
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Posted 09/25/2018   2:22 pm  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Gum is harmful to stamps if the environmental conditions are not right - look at the average lot from France's African colonies. Hence the practice of those living in certain climates to soak gum from stamps to preserve them from damage.
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Posted 09/25/2018   2:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jkelley01938 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Right Geoff.

There was a USA Christmas stamp issued back in 1974 that became seriously discolored over time. Those who removed the glue from the get-go are the lucky ones. It was the first USA self-adhesive and it was a disaster.


Jack Kelley
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Edited by jkelley01938 - 09/25/2018 2:46 pm
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United States
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Posted 09/25/2018   3:51 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add vovan to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, Jack. I thought it happened much later, in the 80s or 90s...

Either way, USPS changed the glue recipe for the later issues and it seems that the current self-adhesive stamps hold up to time - well at least for the time being...
It will be interesting to see if they start changing in the decades to come.
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Posted 09/25/2018   10:10 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Apart from #1552 and to a much lesser extent #2431 (issued in 1989, I have not seen any problems with US self-adhesives getting ruined, and I have seen Tongan self-adhesives going back to the 1970's still ok.

As for regular gum, some had an acidic gum, and then there is the problem of gum creasing, so no adhesive is perfect.
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Posted 09/25/2018   10:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add erilaz to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
There was a USA Christmas stamp issued back in 1974 that became seriously discolored over time. Those who removed the glue from the get-go are the lucky ones. It was the first USA self-adhesive and it was a disaster.

There was an interesting exhibit on that stamp at WESTPEX several years ago. The one in my collection (mint, on backing paper) developed brownish spots at first (if memory serves) but now has a brownish tint over nearly the entire stamp.
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Posted 09/26/2018   02:58 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Ringo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A second question is simply 'Stamps - how long with they live for'. I think it's conceivable that one day, stick-on stamps will be no more.
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Posted 09/26/2018   08:34 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Swscfdc87 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Unfortunately, I agree with Ringo. I think it's entirely possible that someday it will be all metered stamps. Hopefully, if that day comes, it's far, far, far in the future!
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Australia
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Posted 09/26/2018   09:08 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add StevieG to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I like collecting used stamps and many self-adhesives are difficult to remove from the envelope. (A lot of new Australian stamps now have slits cut into them to prevent re-usage). Many collectors (myself included) now trim the stamp and leave the envelope backing intact. I wonder what this will do to the stamp after a period of years. Envelope paper varies a lot in "quality" one would imagine.
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Posted 09/26/2018   10:24 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add vovan to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
StevieG, does soaking such stamps help with detaching them from the paper?
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Posted 09/26/2018   4:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Ringo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I've gone for an idea I saw on Youtube and so far the results are great.

I use lighter fuel, but there are other solvents people will use which similarly evaporate off without any after-effects. Whichever solvent one opts for, saturate the stamp and peel it off the paper. Let it dry (takes a minute) and the back reverts to its tackiness, because, of course, the gum is still there.

This is the clever bit - take something like a stock card and stick the stamp directly onto the clear plastic cover. Because it's collector-safe material, it should bo OK in the long term. Cut around it and you have your self-adhesive stamp on a virtually invisible backing which seals the gum in.

These aren't good for hinges in my experience, as the hinges don't stick well to the plastic. But for slotting in mounts, it's perfect. I have numerous self-adhesive Machins in mounts via this method, and they look like regular soaked stamps.
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Australia
133 Posts
Posted 09/27/2018   08:11 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add StevieG to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"StevieG, does soaking such stamps help with detaching them from the paper?"

The newer Australian stamps can be separated using orange oil/citrus oil. They vary in how easy they are to remove. This presumably is due to different glues/paper.
Many of the more recent stamps have security micro cuts (slits) in them. This makes them easily damaged when they are initially used to post a letter and when they are being "processed" by a stamp collector. The link below gives some information about these security micro cuts.

https://australiapostcollectables.c...esive-stamps
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Posted 09/27/2018   12:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Ringo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I've never found the slits to be problematic. Slowly does it, and as the small bit inside the cut area starts to come away from the paper, you just hold it securely with thumb and finger while continuing to peel the whole stamp off. Never had one go wrong yet.
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Edited by Ringo - 09/27/2018 12:03 pm
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Posted 09/28/2018   02:16 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"I am not sure anyone knows. The postal service could well have a shorter term perspective; they may feel that not having millions of dollars sold, unused stamps sitting in the public domain is a good thing. So a type of 'built-in obsolescence' with stamps may be considered a positive attribute."

Akkk! Keep this under your hat, please. I can imagine it getting out there as an idea someone at the USPS adopts, and then where will we be? Imagine your collection just melting away after a few years from some delayed-action chemical reaction. Akkkk!
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Edited by DrewM - 09/28/2018 02:16 am
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Posted 09/28/2018   07:34 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Well not Forever stamps then.
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Al
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