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Best Way To Remove Selvage?

 
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Valued Member
United States
13 Posts
Posted 12/02/2022   09:53 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Callon to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi all, I'm new here and have been reading some recent topics with interest as I get back into an old hobby of mine.

I'm having trouble finding an answer to my question about selvage. I like the US yearbooks and recently added a few from the late '90s to my collection (1968-2000). As I mounted the stamps with the provided mounts, I was reminded of the problem of selvage and fitting the stamps in the mounts.

In my much younger years when I'd get the latest yearbook for Xmas, I just carefully cut/tore away the selvage. But this kind of drives me crazy, especially when its on a block of stamps. I do my best to keep the cut perfectly straight, but is there a best/preferred method? Those who remove selvage, how do you handle it to keep stamps mint?

Scissors? Seems iffy, especially on blocks. A T-square and an exacto knife? Bend and tear?

I googled it and found lots of discussions about whether or not to keep selvage, but nothing on removal methods. Some people fold it under, and others warned that that can result in the selvage and stamp sticking together.
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Pillar Of The Community
4762 Posts
Posted 12/02/2022   10:16 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Bend and tear, if you must. It is the natural separation method.

Scissor-cut perforations just don't look right, are often short or irregular, and are generally avoided by collectors.
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Pillar Of The Community
United Kingdom
7033 Posts
Posted 12/02/2022   10:38 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Definitely don't fold the stamp-edging under the stamp. Just a little moisture, and the two gummed pieces will adhere. Make sure the fold is a good one to avoid accidental removal of corner perfs during tearing.
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Valued Member
United States
58 Posts
Posted 12/02/2022   11:33 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add YbT to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
As noted above fold away from stamp and gently tear. I get rid of selvage on common stamps, but on valuable ones it adds to the collectibility.
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United States
8239 Posts
Posted 12/02/2022   11:38 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The selvage adds value and collectability to any stamp, but the normal way to separate is shown by John Becker above


Peter
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Valued Member
United States
13 Posts
Posted 12/02/2022   12:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Callon to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you for the responses. I wondered if there was a clever method of which I was ignorant, but it sounds like bend/tear is the way.

It can be frustrating though. I recently damaged a stamp in a block of six in one of my new sets. I tried to be as careful as possible tearing off the selvage after folding it back and forth, but in one spot it somehow didn't come loose quite right and tore the top layer of paper off a bit of the stamp border instead. Arrrgghhh! Now if I want a mint set I have to replace a block of six. I guess if one is concerned about mint condition, leave the selvage alone.

It remains very frustrating that the USPS includes so many stamps in the yearbooks that won't fit in the mounts unless selvage is torn off.


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Edited by Callon - 12/02/2022 12:11 pm
Pillar Of The Community
United Kingdom
7033 Posts
Posted 12/02/2022   12:11 pm  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Printed albums aren't designed to accommodate extraneous material - better to add an additional blank page to mount stamps with edging, larger postmarks etc.
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Posted 12/02/2022   12:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am hard-pressed to think of any stamps in the 1968-2000 era which have a value increase by retaining the narrow selvage which might come with the stamps in a mint set.
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Valued Member
United States
13 Posts
Posted 12/02/2022   1:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Callon to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Oh, I'm not worried about losing value simply from removing the selvage. I know most of these yearbook sets aren't worth a lot anyway. I got the most recent ones I bought for less than their original retail price in the late '90s, and this included the shipping charge. But like I said, I damaged a stamp while tearing off the selvage, so I wondered if there was a better way. Despite the low collector value of the sets, I don't want the stamps to be damaged. Fortunately I just found a replacement block on e-bay selling at face value, so my current block may end up on a few Xmas card envelopes.

On a related note, I didn't even try with the selvage on a block of self-adhesives in the 1999 set. The backing isn't perforated and runs unbroken through the selvage. I don't have a good way to remove that and it doesn't fit the mount. I assume this becomes a frequent problem in later yearbook sets as self-adhesive blocks become more common.
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Edited by Callon - 12/02/2022 1:34 pm
Bedrock Of The Community
Australia
37483 Posts
Posted 12/02/2022   7:04 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Printed albums aren't designed to accommodate extraneous material - better to add an additional blank page to mount stamps with edging, larger postmarks etc.


Agree wholeheartedly.
Bite the bullet and collect as is.
(or remain a slave to the album page)


Quote:
I damaged a stamp while tearing off the selvage,

see !

Retaining selvedge protects the stamp.

But, in the end, do what you have to, they are under your stewardship.
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Edited by rod222 - 12/02/2022 7:06 pm
Pillar Of The Community
Israel
901 Posts
Posted 12/03/2022   05:08 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Rob Roy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Seems to me more reasonable to adjust the album to the stamp and not the other way around.
As said here, selvage can only add to the stamp value.
The most known example (IMHO) of how letting the album dictate the condition of the stamps, is the hinged album, which irreversibly lowered the value of the mint stamps placed in those albums.
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Learn More...
9482 Posts
Posted 12/03/2022   07:55 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
IMHO this is way, way overthought. Millions of people used WAG stamps as postage every day (and I still do) and give zero thought as to how they were going to approach separating a single in order to lick/wet it and slap it on an envelope. 99.9999999 % of the time stamps separate as designed because, well, they were designed to do such a thing. Sometimes the best approach to something is to follow the KISS philosophy.
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United Kingdom
7033 Posts
Posted 12/03/2022   08:10 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
That philosophy would be "Lick It Up", I suppose.
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