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Removing Photo Album Adhesive From Valuable Stamps

 
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Posted 02/27/2020   08:43 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add MillsapBaker to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I found much in the forum on removing "self-adhesive" stamps, but not old photo album "magnetic" adhesive.
I recently acquired an old '80s style magnetic photo album with a very nice collection of WW stamps. There are many early, higher denomination British Commonwealth stamps, ranging in value from $10 to several hundred dollars.
Unlike most such albums, I am able to easily remove most of the stamps with my stamp tongs. The stamps are undamaged except that many of them have a very light adhesive "film" on their backs. The stamps are not discolored or damaged in any way.
But I'm concerned that if I don't remove this adhesive it may cause future damage to the stamps.
Any advice on how to safely remove this type of adhesive from used stamps would be greatly appreciated. (There were some cheap stamps there that I can practice on.)
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Posted 02/27/2020   08:47 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There is no way that I can see of removing that type of material without also removing the stamp "gum". You will likely be better off leaving things be. A scan or two would help a great deal.
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Edited by rogdcam - 02/27/2020 08:48 am
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Posted 02/27/2020   09:00 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add MillsapBaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'll try to get a photo up.
The stamps are almost all used, so original gum is not an issue.
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Posted 02/27/2020   09:03 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add MillsapBaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
By the way, and I never, ever thought that I would ever say this to a living sole, let alone fellow stamp collectors, but thank goodness for crystal mounts! The former "collector" had placed some of the most valuable stamps in crystal mounts before putting them in the album -- so they are completely undamaged by their experience.
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Posted 02/27/2020   09:13 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I thought that they were mint. My bad. if they are used have you tried a good soak yet?
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Posted 02/27/2020   09:15 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add MillsapBaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
No, not yet. I hoped to do the right thing first, rather than last ... this time.
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Posted 02/27/2020   1:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add jleb1979 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Magnetic photo albums are terrible for paper. The cardboard or page was cheap acidic paper, in most of them the gum, too, was acidic. And the plastic leaves that covered the pages trapped the object in the acid bath... Photo-conservators have been grappling with them for years.

Three pieces of good news here:
1) the most valuable stamps were protected in crystal mounts from the goop
2) the stamps that are stuck are coming up easily
3) you can experiment with some of the stamps.

As Rogdcam suggests, try soaking in water and see if you luck out and it was a water soluble gum in the album. That is pretty benign as long as your stamp is used, no gum.
If that doesn't remove the goop ---

A conservator working in one of my libraries years ago would first use a special eraser to roll up the gum if he could. -- clearly not going to work on something as small and delicate as a stamp.
He also used heptane on these glue residues from such albums. He'd go under a fume hood with a q-tip and take care of business. I am not sure if it is used anymore for this purpose. There were consumer heptanes like un-du but we bought lab grade stuff on university contracts. Be careful about ventilation.

further info here may be helpful.
https://www.conservation-wiki.com/w...t_Techniques


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Posted 02/28/2020   07:38 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add MillsapBaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A little more background on the album. The album was actually a friend's of mine that came with a box full of supplies, stacks of used US, etc. I invited my local stamp club president to drop by and assess the lot with me, and he estimated the photo album "might be worth $5 if someone just wanted to give it to a nephew or something". I thought the same. So my friend said I could have it for my trouble.
Yesterday, after lightly glancing through the stamps themselves, I noticed that many of them were VF, high value specimens. So, I tried to actually remove some of them and found it quite easy to do with very little adhesive residue remaining. It was if the adhesive had dried rather than migrated -- guess it was a very cheap "magic" album. That is when I tried to find out how to remove the remaining residue and posted here.
After realizing that there might be some value in this old "scrapbook", I felt uncomfortable just keeping it on our word of it being near worthless. So I re-positioned the stamps that I had removed and took the album, along with the other supplies, etc., to my local stamp club -- the Holston Stamp Club, Johnson City, TN. We have a monthly meeting/auction that was last night. I figured that this way I could buy it "on the open market", thereby being both fair to my friend and assuring him that I didn't "scam him" in any way.
Well, bad news is that stamp clubs are full of people that know their stuff. After feverish bidding, I lost the album to another bidder for $250! He had spot checked the adhesion and realized they could be carefully removed with little ill effect, and saw some Ireland stamps with catalog over $400. There were also a number of early, high denomination Australian states, e.g., Tasmania 34 and AR12 or AR21, etc.
I am glad for my friend, but can help being a bit saddened for myself. I guess "Honesty is its own reward", or "Cheaters never win", or... At least those rare gems don't appear to have been lost to posterity.
(Sorry, I forgot to get a picture before it slipped from my hands. I really thought I would be coming home with that album for at most $5 -- who knew!)
If the winner hasn't already "torn into it", I'll ask him for a few pics.
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Posted 02/28/2020   07:52 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add MillsapBaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
jleb1979, thanks for the detailed advice. I'll pass this along to our club member who won the album. As club secretary, I track all such things, and I'll also recommend this forum at our next meeting -- again, thanks!
This information may not only prove invaluable to him, but perhaps even more so to fellow collectors going forward -- I searched high and low for such advice, and could find it no where...even with Google! I really appreciate your posting it in such a searchable location!
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Posted 02/28/2020   07:54 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add MillsapBaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I guess the moral of the story, with respect to "magic" photo albums, is:
"Never give up until you know their dead"!
There may well still be life in them there bones.
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Posted 03/01/2020   2:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Timm to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If there is gum-like residue on the stamps you might try a rubber cement solvent called "Bestine." It is found in most art supply stores and is less than $10.00 a quart. I've used it and have been quite successful. I also use it for watermarking stamps as it dries quickly with no residue.

Test it on a few cheap stamps first to see if it works for you.
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Posted 03/01/2020   9:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Coastwatcher to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I use a product called "Pure Citrus" to remove modern self adhesives from paper and find that it works extremely well at removing all the adhesive residue. You might wish to try it on one of your stamps to see if it will remove the adhesive residue left on the stamps by the photo album.
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Edited by Coastwatcher - 03/01/2020 9:09 pm
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Posted 03/03/2020   11:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Timm to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You would have to make sure there is absolutely NO citrus oils in their product.
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