Experienced stamps need a home too. I'd rather have an example that is imperfect than no example. I collect for enjoyment, not investment. APS Member #223433 Postmark Collectors Club Member #6333 Meter Stamp Society Member #1409
Being a postal history collector, I have a strong bias. To tell the most "story", philatelic items should be saved in their original condition - mint stamps, entire covers, etc. The value also correlates. Entire covers and cards are worth more than 2x4 clippings, which are worth more than the same soaked stamp. The 2x4 clippings have largely fallen out of favor. Yes, this becomes a storage challenge for many collectors. I would urge you to leave the covers intact and find stamps already soaked to fill your collecting needs. It is quite likely you can sell/trade the covers for more than enough to buy the same soaked stamps and more. They would find a good home here.
Add: oldguy, as an aside, what do you consider to be "old"?
I would keep them on the cover. I would love to have some of them. I really don't need any from 1990-2000 but any other years would be great. I will send you 3 or 4 off paper stamps of similar age for each cover. I am sending you a PM.
I would absolutely agree that the best way to keep these covers is to keep them intact as opposed soaking them off. Many times the full cover with postmark is the best way to identify a particular usage, destination, or rate. And of course once the stamp is off the cover there's no going back. Incidentally this also hold true for things like slogan meter cancels. In the past collectors would either save a 2 x 4 cut as mentioned deadlier or cut off the top strip of the envelope. But in both cases it sometimes makes identifying a sender difficult or impossible. Lastly is basic first day covers which were used for commercial or advertising purposes. I have heard of many collectors throwing out the original letters or cards that came in these first day covers. But this often makes identifying a commercial use impossible. Closing note, whenever possible items should be keptt in the original condition. Just my thoughts for what they're worth... Ron