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Removing Stamps From The Paper

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New Member
Canada
4 Posts
Posted 08/23/2022   11:22 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add sidthestamper to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi. I have a question for you. And this is not the usual how-to question you get.

I am wondering how to remove or detach a stamp without damaging the paper. Most stamps use water-based gums on their backs and you can easily free them by soaking in cold water.

But for some stamps, that is NOT the case. There are some stamps which CANNOT be detached from the paper no matter how long they are soaked in cold water. (e.g. (attached and many) USA stamps and Ireland stamps) What method do you have to "set them free" :) I do not think spending a big sum of money for a solution is ideal. So I am looking for a affordable option too. Most important factor is not to damage the stamp.


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Pillar Of The Community
United States
8181 Posts
Posted 08/23/2022   11:38 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Petert4522 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Sid, and welcome to the forum. From your question I gather you have not searched this forum for an answer.
If you use the "search" function found on every page in the upper right corner you will find lots of answers to your inquiry


Peter
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Valued Member
21 Posts
Posted 08/23/2022   1:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Carl20 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Leave them on the paper and cut around the stamp with care.

Carl
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Pillar Of The Community
1104 Posts
Posted 08/23/2022   11:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This is one of the biggest complaints about modern stamps. On a few of the earliest self-adhesive stamps decades ago, the adhesive turned brown with age, perhaps damaging the stamps. This freaked out a lot of collectors, as you can imagine, starting the hunt for a way to remove the adhesive. More modern adhesives, as far as I know, don't do that. I think. But that still leaves the stamps stuck to the paper with no easy way to get them off.

A commonly-recommended method I've successfully used is citrus air freshener spray and the adhesive comes right off. Soak the back of the paper, let it stand for awhile, and the stamp will peel right off. I use a brand called "Pure Citrus Orange Air Freshener". Makes the house smell nice, too. If adhesive remains, some surgery with the sharp edge of an old credit card will scrap it off.

The air freshener spray evaporate pretty quickly, leaving only the fragrance. It is, after all, an air freshener. I've never seen any later damage to these stamps so It appears to be safe. If you're concerned about that, a quick bath in warm water should work.

Other collectors just leave the paper on the stamp and mount them that way which would be easier, of course. But that leaves you very quickly with a very thick album due to all the extra paper involved, and you might not find that appealing. There are also other methods to do this. There's a fairly expensive liquid you can buy called "Stamp Lift" which might work. But the citrus air freshener spray is much cheaper, is much easier, and works just fine.

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Edited by DrewM - 08/24/2022 12:07 am
New Member
Canada
4 Posts
Posted 08/24/2022   08:53 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add sidthestamper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you for the responses guys. I may have missed a post on the same topic. Sorry about that.

My research came up with another option, lighter fluid. Does anyone have any experience with that?
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Pillar Of The Community
United Kingdom
6874 Posts
Posted 08/24/2022   09:21 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Lighter fuel will remove those annoying remnants of stickers from CD cases etc, but I don't think it's used for removing self-adhesives from backing paper.
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Valued Member
United States
65 Posts
Posted 08/24/2022   4:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add l2y to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I saw a video on You Tube were they were using hot water of a certain temperature range to remove modern uncancelled stamps for reuse. I tried it. It worked for one or two stamps but overall was a failure. Besides, I wonder if hot water will damage the stamps.

Has anyone tried Goo B Gone? I know some crafters use it to remove labels from jars and bottles. I wonder if it would have the same effect on stamp adhesive.
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Valued Member
Canada
198 Posts
Posted 08/24/2022   8:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add PMStamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I use Bestine available at Michaels and it works quite well. There are several videos available showing how to use it for removing stamp paper from the SA stamps.

Personally I would not use Goo Gone, even though it has a nice orangey smell compared to Bestine, it also leaves a film whenever I use it to remove a label and then I need to wash off that film with soapy water. Not sure how it would work on stamps, but that film may damage the stamp.
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Bedrock Of The Community
Australia
36877 Posts
Posted 08/24/2022   10:21 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I also use BESTINE which releases alll sort of stickers
(Car Bumper) ( Product stickers my new Bathroom China)

It releases well, but comes with its own problems
One needs to scrape off the gunk from the back of the stamp.
With "anti removal slits" on modern Australia issues
it is basically a waste of time.

Also, each stamp has to be "talcum powdered" after each clean
The minutest amount of gum left, will stick to anything
often damaging many stamps if placed in a Glassine.

I just bit the bullet and cut around the stamp, as others do.

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Edited by rod222 - 08/24/2022 10:57 pm
Pillar Of The Community
Learn More...
Australia
3968 Posts
Posted 08/24/2022   11:06 pm  Show Profile Check KGV Collector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add KGV Collector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Yes there are very recent Australia stamp sellers, collectors are using lighter fluid to remove modern day self adhesives from paper. Modern day self adhesives stamp removal is a specialist area.

Lighter fluid has been used on KGV & others stamps to detect stamp watermarks forever.
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Bedrock Of The Community
Australia
36877 Posts
Posted 08/25/2022   06:23 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
collectors are using lighter fluid to remove modern day self adhesives from paper.


First time I have heard of this
I must try it myself.

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Valued Member
60 Posts
Posted 08/25/2022   3:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add philatelycanada to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Been using boiled water for years. Kettle on, half into my tea cup, half into the soaking container.

Gets stamps off of anything. Works like a charm every time
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Bedrock Of The Community
Australia
36877 Posts
Posted 08/25/2022   4:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Been using boiled water for years.


Eeeek!
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New Member
Canada
4 Posts
Posted 08/25/2022   5:40 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add sidthestamper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you for the thoughts everyone. Fortunately enough though, Canadian self-ads come off very easily in cold water.

Unfortunately in Canada, Bestine and Pure citrus air freshener are no longer available. So we're left with boiled water and lighter fluid. USA and Ireland stamps are the problem. Not sure about other countries though. Good stamp collectors being affected by 'stamp-thieves' :/ To worsen the case, I ran out of the few US self-ads I had while trying different methods.

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Valued Member
United States
44 Posts
Posted 08/25/2022   5:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Mainer to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
When I started back in collecting a few years ago this was one of the first questions I had which brought me to this forum. As others have pointed out there's a lot of good information about "how to" attack the problem here. I think every conceivable solution has been discussed except maybe magical incantations. I've been all over the map on this. I first started out leaving the stamps on paper but IMO that looks terrible on the album page, makes it thicker, etc. So then I started using Bestine. I've had pretty good results with that, but gosh what a pain. The terrible self-adhesive gum is another reason I think some folks don't collect recent US issues and I can certainly understand that.

Good luck!
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Bedrock Of The Community
Australia
36877 Posts
Posted 08/25/2022   6:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I first started out leaving the stamps on paper but IMO that looks terrible on the album page


Opinion.
It does, but you can conquer that in time.
An album page, with neatly cut borders can look OK
If you adopt the reasoning you are collecting Philatelic history, warts and all,
rather than attempting "prettiness" of a page.
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