Merry Christmas and Happy New Year..almost! I have several large albums filled with what were mint stamps. They are all put in the albums using some sort of clear, but strong packing tape. They folded it to act like a hinge. I can slice through the tape to remove to stamps, but the stamps still have the tape stuck to their backs. What can I do with those stamps? Are they worth keeping? Suggestions? Thanks, Marj
Whether they are worth keeping is your own choice. If you like the stamps and do not object to the tape, why not? It is your collection.
Otherwise, my first suggestion would be 'cry!'
Unless the stamp is rare, philatelists are unlikely to buy them in that state. In that sense, their worth is very low. You might prevent further damage if you can soak off the tape. But that might prove difficult. What you will be left with is neither a used stamp with a nice cancellation, nor a hinged unused.
If you cut the tape, you, almost certainly, will have an edge of the sticky tape and the stamp may adhere to all and everything. You might be better off leaving them as they are.
Of course, it will depend on the type of tape whether it can be removed without damaging the stamp. But most sticky tapes are not meant to be removed.
An electric eraser and the thin metal erasing shield were essential tools for any engineer or draftsperson in the 1970s and early 1980s (most likely earlier) until CAD became the standard way of doing drafting. Reminds me to look for mine.
Electric erasers were essential equipment in public and college/university libraries from the 1920s through to the 80s.
They were used by to erase minor errors on typed or computer generated catalog cards, or to allow updating of critical information such as a revision in the subject heading(s) or call number in conformity with national changes to the cataloging and classification standards.
As libraries moved their catalogs online, they usually tossed the electric eraser, but in those few libraries which were slow to move the catalog online, they were still in use through the 90s even to the present I suppose.
About 1982 I had a clerk who actually wept when I told her she should throw her's out. It was mostly for fear of her job as corrections could more and more be propagated automatically in the online catalog and the old card catalog was frozen.
I would recommend you try some petrol-style lighter fuel which often softens gum - the Ronsonol-type stuff in the squared tins. Lay the stamps face-down, saturate in lighter fuel and see if the tape can be pushed away from the stamp with the edge of your tweezers.
The fuel will evaporate away and shouldn't leave any residue. Worth testing with one stamp first, as a trial?
It is extremely difficult to provide meaningful advice without more background information or sample photos from you.
Specifically, 1. How long ago was the mounting done? Recently or decades ago? It matters because.... 2. How much of the tape's adhesive has soaked into the stamp paper? Is there staining to the stamps?
Depending on the factors above, there may be consideration whether the stamps common or not? In other words, is the treatment time/effort worth it? Is it just as efficient to trash the albums and buy fresh? Or salvage the most important 5-10%?
Again, more description and pictures are needed for meaningful responses.
There are a number of suggestions on the internet about which solvents might allow you to remove the scotch tape from the stamp, but as noted by John Becket the tape adhesive has a propensity for staining the stamp
NOTE: Playing amateur chemist is not recommended for good philatelic stewardship. Chances of making the stamp look good are not in your favor AND you end up with 'restored' or 'cleaned' stamps. This negatively impacts the value and makes reselling them, unless they are documented as such, dicey. Would you want to buy stamps which have had tape stains removed without knowing?
My recommendation is to use them 'as is' (saving you time, money and health) until you can replace them with better copies. Don
Hi! I registered here to share my experience of removing sellotape stains from stamps. When I came to visit my family for christmas my sister gave me my old stamp collection, which she had found in the attic. I had not seen it since I was a teenager, and turning the pages brought back a lot of memories - including how I'd been given some old Swedish stamps by a neighbour who had used bits of sellotape to attach them to the pages of his album. Over the intervening 30-odd years the adhesive had soaked through those stamps, forming a translucent yellow-brown stain on the face...
I did some reading online and was surprised to learn that not only was heptane safe to use on stamps, but that it was routinely used in order to reveal any watermarks without damaging valuable stamps. Since the stamps I have are of little value even in mint condition I figured I'd give it a shot, and if that didn't work I'd go nuclear on them with acetone. I bought a small bottle of "chemically pure petrol" - a mix of pentane, hexane and heptane similar to lighter fluid, which is commonly used for removing stains without damage on a wide variety of substrates - as well as a small glass container with lid (since I knew how rapidly this stuff evaporates).
I treated the stamps one by one, in a generous quantity of "petrol", first leaving them to soak for five minutes and then very gently rubbing the back with a cotton bud (while holding the stamp in place with another one), keeping it submerged the whole time. I was able to remove the bits of sellotape quite easily, and after cleaning as much as I could I sloshed them around in the liquid a few more minutes before removing and wiping them off on a sheet of paper. I then discarded the "petrol" and repeated the procedure with a fresh squirt, before washing them in hot water with a single drop of washing up liquid and some salt (to help remove any residual gum), then washed them in clean water before neutralising & bleaching them in a hot saturated solution of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). A final rinse in pure water, and drying and pressing them overnight, and ta-da! Not only are the tape marks completely gone, but the paper is slightly whiter, and the colours look clearer. Very pleased with the result - and to think I was going to throw these stamps away!
I don't have before/after photos of all the stamps I treated, but here are a few examples: