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Soaking Psa Stamps & Linn's

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Posted 06/18/2021   5:24 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Anecdotal.
I am an engineer and I also work as part of a research team in the medical field. As such, I tend to be evidence/data/science based. For example, we have all seen Crystal Mounts which have ruined stamps and covers. Yet we also have seen some Crystal Mounts which have kept the stamps/covers in good condition. It could be that in certain environmental situations Crystal Mounts are fine. If someone makes a post which states, "I have no had no problems with Crystal Mounts in the last 20 years" I could certainly believe it. But it is anecdotal and is not something that we should then think to ourselves, "Crystal Mounts are safe to use'.

Frankly, people can do whatever they want to with their stamps; it is a hobby and it is their personal property. We are talking about modern stamps which are printed in the millions so good stewardship and conservation is probably not a priority for many hobbyists. I also support sharing information and 'home experimenting'; it is one small way to help expand the hobby knowledgebase. My only intent was to point out that these kinds of threads are 'personal experiments' and there is little accelerated testing or actual data on what will happen in the future using these homemade 'solutions'.
Don
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Posted 06/18/2021   8:41 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"Accelerated aging testing needs to be done on just the stamps with and without adhesive and also on stamps which have been 'treated' by amateur chemists."

I believe they have already done accelerated aging testing on the stamps with the adhesive. I doubt they did it w/o and they certainly did not do it on stamps soaked in Pure Citrus or lighter fluid.

"In my opinion leave them alone (on paper). At least this approach only leaves a single variable; whether or not the adhesives, paper, and paper coatings (as issued) stand up to the passage of time. Adding in other potential factors, like exposing the stamp to various solvents, only increases the risks of the unknown."

I beg to disagree. Removing the adhesive with some chemical does not add another factor, it trades factors. Unsoaked we have the adhesive. Soaked we have the affect of the soaking chemical, not both the adhesive and the chemical (unless you are arguing that a relevant amount of adhesive is still left behind).

Switching to mint examples, as a modern specialist I look at a lot of US self-adhesive stamps. Other than one test stamp (and we don't know what year it was produced), the only one since the original 10c Dove failure that shows any soak-thru of the adhesive to the face of the stamp is the 25c eagle of 1989 and it it far less than the Dove. If I read the article right, they made a change since then to either the adhesive or to one of the other layers in the stack of layers in the paper. The only other problem I have observed is they sometimes die cut too deep and the cuts penetrated the backing (liner) paper and this allowed the adhesive to soak into the backing and the stamps thus became partly stuck to the backing paper (this seems to have happened more often on ATM panes).

I have a Tonga self-adhesive stamp from the mid 1970s that shows no soak thru. GB have put die cuts in the middle of their Machins to make it difficult (or impossible?) to remove them from an envelope intact.

"The self adhesive stamps of Japan, for example, face all the same obstacles that US printers face, yet all of them are soakable, most of them coming off paper just as easily as stamps using water activated gum. Many other countries' PSA stamps are the same way. My guess is that it comes down to two things: 1) cost - the USPS doesn't want to pay a premium for soakable PSA stamps and 2) they simply don't want people collecting used stamps, since they don't gain any revenue from that."

<sarcasm font> or 3) they don't want people to be able to soak off the stamps because they don't bother cancelling so many of them. <end font>
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Posted 06/18/2021   8:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I don't see how *any* postal administration has an obligation to make their stamps soakable for collector convenience or otherwise.
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Posted 06/18/2021   9:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
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Posted 06/18/2021   10:28 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add baker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
That "PSA in the recycling stream" article looks good. That never occurred to me.

"I don't see how *any* postal administration has an obligation to
make their stamps soakable for collector convenience or otherwise."


Perhaps not an obligation. But I think it would be nice to take collectors' concerns into account. No, the used stamps represent no added value to the USPS were they to make them soakable. They have already been bought and used. But this topic has annoyed some collectors. Indirectly, it makes little sense for the USPS or any administration to antagonize collectors. Because on the other hand, most mint stamps purchased by collectors never see postal use. The USPS should be happy about that. They sold a stamp meant to pay for a service, which service they never had to provide. I have no knowledge of the financial impact of developing a soakable PSA. But since it apparently can be done (Japan), and many people collect both mint and used modern, to not invest in soakable PSA is penny wise and pound foolish.

(Off topic): I may in the minority, but I'd jump for joy to have engraving and WAG back. As long as I'm up here on my soapbox, I'm also not a huge fan of Forever denominated stamps. I do admit though, there are some fantastic looking modern stamps which take advantage of newer printing technologies.
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Posted 06/18/2021   10:49 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"No, the used stamps represent no added value to the USPS were they to make them soakable. They have already been bought and used"

Except for the fact that many collectors start out collecting used and then later add mint.
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Posted 06/19/2021   06:59 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I doubt USPS sees a connection between used stamps and collectors of modern used as evidenced by their actions.
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Posted 06/19/2021   10:53 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bookbndrbob to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Yet, stamp collecting persists in the USA despite a philatelically unfriendly USPS.
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Posted 06/19/2021   11:04 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add baker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"Except for the fact that many collectors start out collecting
used and then later add mint."


Yes, a great point.

I doubt USPS sees a connection between used stamps and collectors
of modern used as evidenced by their actions.


Yes, it sure seems that way. As far as I tell, the move to PSA was first and foremost a cost-saving measure. Next, and not far behind, was a need to have widespread consumer acceptance, and preference over water-activated gum (WAG.) I suppose that if users really hated PSA, the USPS would not use it. Although I wonder whether users also like them because they're the only game in town. The adhesives industry article rogdcam linked is very specific to the industry, and although highly technical, showed me a behind-the-scenes look at recycling issues.

These studies must have cost money. That's further evidence that the PSA approach's main objective is to save money, while trying to solve problems of impurities introduced into the repulping process. In the Linn's article, Brockert in his subtitle says that "the solution to the problem was never entirely satisfactory." Whatever other countries have managed to do, for the US, that remark holds true: there are ways to remove modern PSAs from paper, but apparently little in official science-based studies to address the issue for collectors, which I believe was Don's point about personal experimentation. It only goes so far.

I, like many others, am someone who used to collect long ago, long hiatus, and now back. But it has seemed to me that there are lingering disagreements over whether the USPS should cater to collectors, or whether collectors should just take what they're served. Right now, I believe that the answer falls somewhere in the middle. Collectors should be recognized as important enough to respond to their needs, in this case, to be able to obtain a used stamp off paper, with a clean adhesive-free back. I think the USPS has addressed collectors' needs to some extent. Some other countries' entire programs seem to have almost exclusive focus on selling stamps to collectors. This makes for some nice designs and series, but might be going a bit too far. Or maybe not?

The Pure Citrus approach is about the best way I've seen, save that of simply leaving the stamp on paper. I know I've said this a couple of times in this topic, but I remember when I started seeing PSAs, and from a collector's perspective, I just did not like them. For modern stamps, I would probably try to remove them from paper. But if there was something about the used stamp that was unusual (like, say, an error,) that is where I'd stop short and leave it on paper at least until I could get expert advice.

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Posted 06/19/2021   11:57 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I view the issue in the context of postal history. In my opinion the point of a postage stamp is to account for the cost of putting something into the mail stream and having it delivered. The point of of a PSA stamp is that this is what the majority of postal customers want (simple and you do not have lick anything). The point of bar coded labels is to provide not simply accounting but tracking and a lot of other information. And the point of electronic mail (email) and other digital communications (like this community) is that it is virtually free and real-time. Stamps came, made a significant impact, and are now on the way out. But stamps are just a single piece of postal history; the same for stampless covers, cancellations, auxiliary markings, PO forms, postal cards, postal stationery, etc. These things all facilitated communications between humans via the mail stream.
Don
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Posted 06/20/2021   07:02 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
From what I read, PSA stamps are more expensive to produce than water activated gum but it is strongly preferred by stamp mailers (not collectors). I am sure PSA offers efficiency for the USPS to handle as well so overall cost may be less.
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Al
Edited by angore - 06/21/2021 06:20 am
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Posted 06/20/2021   10:50 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add baker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
From what I read, PSA stamps are more expensive to product than water activated gum but it is strongly preferred by stamp mailers (not collectors). I am sure PSA offers efficiency for the USPS to handle as well so overall cost may be less.


For stamp mailers, there's a lot to like about PSA. I'd like to think also that the USPS had some financial reason as well - because I view them as being short, crinkle-wise. Even if it's in efficiency savings. But I've seen this sort of thing play out: "Hey, the old way is working well. Let's scrap that and get a new, more costly system."
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Posted 06/20/2021   11:02 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add zagraham to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It occurs to me that one argument for returning to the old, water-activated-gum stamps is an environmental one: the PSAs, with their backing paper, generate significant waste.

However, I don't know that the waste argument trumps the end-user convenience argument.
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Posted 06/20/2021   11:03 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The self-adhesive stamps have a sanitary advantage over licking the water-activated gum. This feature alone would justify them in the minds of many consumers.
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Posted 06/20/2021   11:06 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
"Hey, the old way is working well. Let's scrap that and get a new, more costly system."


I have never seen a for-profit company do this... They certainly will introduce a new product/system to be competitive, if the technology advances and they have to keep up, to fix existing quality issues, or if their customer feedback (marketing) drives them to make changes. But no experienced company makes changes simply for the sake of change; it is too risky, too costly, and too stupid.

But I do agree that the US postal system, being controlled by Congress, can do stupid things. They do not control their own destiny; their costs are controlled by Congress and their profits are controlled by Congress. This is a perfect setup for 'diffusion of responsibility' since it provides excuses for the USPS management.
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