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Stamp Hinges?? Are There Any Decent Ones Made Anymore??

 
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Pillar Of The Community
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Posted 09/17/2019   05:45 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Perhaps I should have been more precise. Any hinge, applied badly, can be difficult to remove - it's a matter of degree. Prinz hinges don't, under normal standards of use, ruin stamps.
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Posted 09/17/2019   08:07 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add philatelia7 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The most valuable item I usually find in folk's childhood collections are a bag of Dennison hinges.
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Edited by philatelia7 - 09/17/2019 08:08 am
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Posted 09/17/2019   11:05 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Climber Steve to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Lots of opinions which is good. It could be much worse. How many of us have bought old collections where paper "hinges" of some sort were used to attach stamps (not the good Dennison hinges)? Good luck getting those off except by soaking. And years ago, I was fortunate to accelerate the Latin America part of my then world wide collection by getting an auction lot of single country folders full of album pages. The downside? The prior owner had attached many of the stamps with those adhesive dots found in stationary stores.

I've used Prinz hinges and the key is to go real easy on the moisture. Fortunately, I've been able to acquire a number of the classic Dennison and Fold-O hinge packages which will be used to mount, and re-mount, much of my good stuff.
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Posted 09/19/2019   01:04 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
But it's not just a "matter of degree" as if all hinges were equal to all other hinges. Using less moisture on common hinges available today is only a coping method. It's to make these fairly bad hinges less bad, to make them stick less aggressively to album pages and, more importantly, to stamps. Less moisture helps, but I'm not sure it helps all that much. And that's because of the glue on the hinges. It's aggressive and will not give way easily when the hinge is removed, certainly not in the old way Dennison hinges gave way. Because of its glue, the old Dennison hinges held relatively well, but also gave way when the stamp was removed -- a little miracle of modern glue science, in a way. Modern hinges, even with less moisture, do not do that. Less moisture makes the damage you are likely to get less damaging, but that's all it does.

And what is "less," anyway? My "less" may seem too slobbery to you. Or maybe it seems like not nearly enough moisture. "Less" is not a very scientific term, but just advice from one collector to another. I've seen "hinge moistening" pens with foam tips on them for sale, a new product. Maybe they're more accurate in the "measuring moisture" department. Who knows, but I doubt it.

As for recommending a particular brand of modern hinges (DennisEn or other), that's never going to work because all modern hinges, to the best of my knowledge, are made by the same manufacturer. They're the same hinges. That manufacturer of hinges is, or so I have been told many times, Prinz. If there are other manufacturers, I've never heard of them. I'd be happy to be corrected if there are. If it's true, however, that means all those "different" brands of hinges are the same hinges.

Not content to just "believe" something I'd heard (a common problem in an age where science is often rejected by those positive they know the truth), I ran some tests. Over a period of months, I purchased every brand of hinge commonly sold by modern stamp dealers, on Amazon, eBay, and at stamp shows. Or I tried to, anyway, as I'm sure I missed a few. And I tested them. I just attached them to old album pages, lining up a dozen or twenty hinges of each brand and then labeling them. I let them sit for a few days to dry well. And then I gently removed each hinge, and I noted its degree of paper removal as well as how hard it was to remove. You want to know the result? 

Well, stay tuned for the next episode of Hinges of Death brought to you by Crystal Mounts, the Stamp Mounts of Death!

Okay, just joking. Here's what I found. Every single hinge was awful. Simple. They all -- every brand -- performed in exactly the same way. Every single brand of hinge tore off paper badly, so badly that they would likely damage the back of stamps. And, yes, I moistened the hinges very lightly. No slobber was involved. The only exceptions were old Dennison (with an "o") and old Fold-O hinges. Both worked much better. Note that new Dennisen (with an "e") performed just as badly as the other hinges. So did new "Fold-O" hinges now sold in Canada by Unitrade. These are not the old Fold-O hinges of yesteryear. They are a completely different, modern hinge, no doubt sourced from the one hinge manufacturer Prinz. Both new Fold-O and new Dennisen (with an "e") removed from the album pages just as badly as all the others, so that's my proof. It's their modern, aggressive glue that makes this happen. And I am convinced all hinges have the same glue.

[How in the world anyone trust a hinge manufacturer that obviously steals the name of another hinge maker is beyond me. "Dennisen" is an outrageous attempt to appear to be the old "Dennison" hinges that are no longer made. If you're not bothered by this sort of thing, I have a beautiful "Ferraree" I'd be happy to sell you, as well as a nice "Rollex" watch. It's cheating, and nothing less. That collectors buy this stuff just floors me. Come on, people!]

As for comparing aging tests on paper products with saccharin tolerance tests on living mice, this makes no sense. No offense intended, but accelerated paper aging is entirely scientific and noting that sometimes medical science (which has nothing to do with paper aging) has over-reacted to the results of their tests on living creatures is just way out of the ball park as a way to raise doubts about paper aging testing.
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Edited by DrewM - 09/19/2019 01:14 am
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Posted 09/19/2019   02:30 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add redwoodrandy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
All modern day stamp hinges are manufactured by Prinz in Germany. My source for this information is Prinz in Germany.
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Posted 09/19/2019   03:20 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Drew, still too much moisture.
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Posted 09/19/2019   1:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Climber Steve to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm with Hy-Brasil. I haven't had near the issues removing Prinz made hinges as those described by Drew.

I will note one other issue from early versions of the Prinz hinges. Thickness of paper creates a noticeable "bulge" that is visible on the front of the stamp. Not so bad with packages bought more recently.
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Posted 09/19/2019   8:18 pm  Show Profile Check TheArtfulHinger's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add TheArtfulHinger to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
And what is "less," anyway?

Barely enough to make them adhere to the stamp and not a picoliter more. I apply as little as possible then dab the hinge on the back of my hand to remove any excess. When done right, they will detach cleanly, although there is very little margin for error. The difference between the "right" amount and overdoing it is vanishingly small.

There are also other crutches one can use to make modern hinges less damaging, such as cutting them in half or crinkling them up so not all of the hinge surface attaches to the stamp.

My own theory about the old Dennison hinges (and it's just a theory supported by zero empirical research) is that their effectiveness was at least partly due to the texture of the gum and the fact that there seems to be less of it on the hinge itself. If you look closely at Dennison hinges the gum seems to be somewhat pebbly in texture and there seems to be less gum than on modern hinges. Modern hinges are smooth as glass and the gum is uniformly thick. I think a better hinge could be made simply by doing something similar to the "economy gum" (pictured below) used on German issues in the Soviet Zone in the immediate aftermath of WWII (when everything was in short supply, including stamp gum).
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Edited by TheArtfulHinger - 09/19/2019 8:25 pm
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Posted 09/22/2019   02:42 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Artful HInger, that image of Soviet Zone stamp gum (as well as your comment about Dennison's use of gum on their hinges) is very interesting. If any company today cared about stamp hinges, I suppose they might experiment with different methods of applying gum to see which worked best and allowed the stamp to be removed most easily. I doubt that will happen, though. Prinz? Prinz?

I've started cutting my hinges in half. They work just as well that way, it seems, and doing so extends the number of hinges in each package by an extra 100% so they last a very long time. At first I cut them vertically into two longish hinge strips. That worked fine, but it seems easier to do and maybe even better in use to cut them horizontally into two smaller squares than two long strips. So that's what I do now. The stamps stay on the pages just fine. And when I've had to remove a stamp attached with a half-hinge, it does seem easier and less damaging. But I should really do another "study" and see if that's true by mounting a few dozen and then removing them. I predict less paper removal.
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Edited by DrewM - 09/22/2019 02:43 am
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