While for some collecting stamps’ is a hobby, for some, it is an investment. As an asset, they treasure their stamp collection with the advice and guidance they receive through their local Stamp Club and affiliations. Out of such guidance, how to care for a stamp collection is an important one.
In this article, we are going to cover everything you need to know for protecting your stamp collection for the distant future.
Let’s start with how to handle your stamps’.
How To Handle Stamps?
Either you are a stamp collector or inherited a stamp collection, you must know how to handle and store those stamps’ to keep them safe. Here we discuss some tips that you can adopt when handling the stamps’ in your stamp collection:
Firstly, Always make sure that you keep your stamp collection in an album, book or any container that is particularly designed to protect your stamps’.
Below, we have mentioned a few stamps’ collecting equipment that can help you, while you examine or handle stamps’ so it will protect stamps’ from any bent or torn.
- First equipment is, Tongs that anyone can use.
These are basically tweezers that protect your stamps’ from smudge, fingerprints and bends.
Note: Make sure that tong is clean and completely dry before you use it to handle stamps’. You can even wash tongs with a dishwasher before picking any stamp.
- Second equipment is a magnifying glass, that can help you to read written details and designs easily.
You may be thinking from what to protect the stamps’ from?
From What To Protect Your Stamps – The Factors Affecting Stamp Quality
One of the major issues of stamp collecting is to keep stamps’ protected in their best possible condition because after all, a stamp is a small piece that can easily get affected by many environmental and human factors.
Now we will tell you what those environmental, human and other factors are that can damage the quality of stamp collection. And, most importantly, how to protect your collection from those conditions.
Follow these steps to protect your stamps’ from environmental conditions.
❖ Firstly, do not keep your collection on the floor instead find a high place for your collection.
For example, a top-shelf, especially if you live in an area where floods are highly common. Additionally, keeping them high will also save your collection from getting easily damaged by water flow that can ruin your stamp collection within an instant.
❖ Secondly, humidity present in the air can also ruin your postage collection, over time, so make sure that a room that you choose for keeping your collection is a dry room.
❖ Altogether avoid keeping your postage collection exposed to direct sunlight because UV rays present in the sun and the heat, can dramatically damage the ink of stamps’.
Follow these steps to protect your stamps’ from human interference.
❖ There are natural oils present in human hands so if you try to touch or handle these stamps’ with your hands then there is a high possibility that you will end up by degrading the quality of hand-handled stamps’.
These natural oils of your hands make it possible that stamp stick to your hand or fingers and cause crease or damage, so always use tweezers to handle stamps’ (as noted earlier)
❖ Avoid cleaning your stamps’ with such chemical products that are not designed to clean stamps’ because these chemicals can cause a change in the colour of the stamps’.
That’s not all. Here are some more tips on protecting your stamps’.
❖ Insects, pests and micro-organism get easily attracted towards organic material such as paper. So the damage they can cause is irreversible, therefore avoid storing your collection in easily targeted areas of these living things is advisable, e.g. cardboard or paper container.
❖ If your collection is highly valuable and precious for you, then take an extra measure of installing fire and smoke alarm near your stamp collection because the damage caused by fire/smoke is permanent.
How to Soak and Separate Stamps?
This video explains it all.
Tip: We maintain a large stamp collection (offline) too. Here are some of our Swedish stamps’.
How To Clean Stamps? Dry vs. Wet Cleaning
If you belong to the community of stamp collectors who are in a situation where they don’t know what dry or wet cleaning is, then this section for you.
For the longevity of the stamps’, cleaning is important and if you are confused about what cleaning method is better to choose between these two then don’t worry because we are going to cover such cleaning methods.
Contrary to what the name reflects, dry cleaning is not at all a dry process but a method in which water is not used to clean stamps’.
❖ Use talcum powder to clean stamps’ and brush off talcum powder particles with a paintbrush.
❖ Use a specially designed stamp cleaner which can be purchased from stores. Always use instructions written on stamp cleaner to avoid facing any problem while cleaning your precious stamp collection.
Now let’s turn into wet cleaning.
There are a couple of wet cleaning methods that you can use to clean or wash your stamps’ wooden, plastic or rubber stamps’. Wet cleaning is basically a method of washing your stamp with water, detergent of any such thing.
❖ Use Alcohol-free wet baby wipes to clean plastic, acrylic, wooden, foam, rubber and self-inking stamps’. We do not recommend wet cleaning for postal stamps’.
Note: Do not use alcohol wipes because it will crack your stamps’.
❖ Use a clean wet toothbrush to remove stains of stamps’. You can also use a fingernail toothbrush but make sure that any toothbrush that you use should123 not be hard enough so that it can further damage the stamps’.
Note: We do not recommend wet cleaning for postal stamps’.
❖ You can use a sponge to clean stamps’. You can also put some liquid or soap on the sponge to better clean it. Such sponge cleaning methods work best for hard stamps’ such as plastic and rubber stamps’.
Again, as noted earlier, these wet cleaning methods are not applicable for postal stamps’.
How To Preserve a Stamp Collection?
As stamp collections consist of many tiny materials, so every stamp collector needs a few basic skills for proper care and long-lasting preservation.
Here we will tell you those moves that help you to preserve your stamp collection.
❖ First of all, according to your choice, arrange your stamp collection in order. I would suggest you arrange them in one of the following three ways.
- It could be, country wise
- It could be, by its topic.
- It could be also, according to the service it provides such as postal stamps’, revenue stamps’ etc.
❖ While sorting your stamps’, you may discard badly damaged stamps’ until or unless it is very valuable or hard to be replaced.
Remember, sometimes pests or microorganisms can cause such damages by sticking on stamps’ and if we keep those stamps’ with other stamps’ (i.e. good ones), then pests can also attack and damage the good stamps’.
❖ In case, you contain copies of particular stamps’ then you can preserve one stamp in your collection while other copies can be further used for trading purposes.
❖ While you preserve your collection in whatever way or order, always remember that neither it’s a never-ending process to keep them sorted nor there is any hard or fast rule to collect or preserve them.
❖ Always preserve your stamp in a glassine envelope until or unless you want to make that stamp, part of any stock book or album.
Now let’s briefly discuss two major topics that have great significance in the preservation process of stamp collection:
- Firstly, about what are those storing options that can help you to preserve your stamp collection.
- Secondly, why there is a need to focus on stamp insurance and its policy to ensure the lifetime of a preservation philately collection.
For those of you, who make use of albums to store stamps’, we are sure that you will sometimes be annoyed due to the reason that you have a beautiful and precious postage collection; however, there is no designated space for them to be stored in albums.
It will be an even more foolish thing if somebody gives you an idea to store your collection into a shoe box because it is necessary to always keep them in good condition. Even if you have only one stamp item or you have a huge collection, it is not at all an easy to find suitable storage for your collection.
Similarly, you may also face another challenge when you stamp collecting albums are capturing an enormous amount of space along with constantly asking to increase page capacity so you can add new stamps’.
Therefore, I encourage you to follow other ways that you can use to store your collection if your album capacity is running short for you.
❖ Many websites are working for collectors to find pages, albums, stock books and any other suitable storage media for their collections.
❖ You can also add additional pages and binders with your own album because it will increase space for adding more stamps’.
❖ There are also websites that help and guide postage collectors and investors to create their own pages of templates which are very easy to use.
❖ Collectors can also avail the option of stock books to store their collection. Once that stock book is completed then you can buy another one. This process keeps on going, and your collection also keeps on growing.
We have guided you to store your collection and at the end, which option you find appropriate to store your collection is totally up to you.
Now let’s explore insurance options for stamps’.
Tip: We maintain a large stamp collection (offline) too. Here are some of our Mongolian stamps’.
As you collect, your stamp collection will grow over a period of time and come-out as valuable items, which we call ‘gems’. Different circumstances increase its susceptibility to loss, as the value increases.
- Rarity in age
- High utility value
- High appreciating value
- Small in size but high in value
- High market value
As philatelic property, some stamps’ have a high value, so there are high chances that this collection is a theft target.
So, as a stamps’ collector and investor, you should always think about insurance policies for your prestigious items such as stamps’. There are many working, stamp collection societies and clubs that offer insurance plans for their loyal members.
As insurance policy is written to benefit collectors so there are following major factors that you should consider before agreeing on any insurance policy.
❖ Risk Insurance
Make sure that you know what kind of physical loss or damage that society or club insurance is responsible for such as :
- ink fading
- Damage due to individual mishandling
- Colour transfer
- Change due to temperature etc.
❖ Insurance for an item and collection
You should also know that either chosen insurance policy is providing insurance to even a single item or to a complete collection only. And, if they are offering insurance to a collection, then how many items should be there in that collection for the insurance to be valid.
❖ Specified Items
For your peace of mind, you should have a record of specified items that are being insured and that one copy should be saved in society/club record and the other copy should be saved with you.
❖ Member/non-Member benefit
Ask from the club/society that insurance policies they offer for their members and non-members are same or not. And in case if the policies are not the same, then choose appropriately and according to your choice and priority.
Please do your homework by visiting different societies and clubs as well as talk with them about their policies and compare those policies then finally decide which insurance plan you find most suitable and trustworthy for your collection.
Some various well-known societies and clubs are offering insurance policies for their members, for example:
- American Philatelic society
- Assetsure Insurance
- Towne Insurance, and
- Many more.
So we can say stamp collection is something that is liked by young and old equally. It can increase your knowledge, either you are interested in specific country stamps’ or popular historical stamps’.
Being a stamp collector/investor, the most important thing that we should know is to value our collection. Just collecting various stamps’ is not a big task but also we must know the answer of few questions such as:
❏ How to handle your stamps’?
❏ What are those precautions that you have to take that will protect your stamps’ from various damaging factors present around you in many forms?
❏ How to do proper cleaning of our stamps’?
❏ Lastly, which stamp insurance policy will work best for your collection?
We are sure, if you know the answer of all these questions as discussed in detail above, then you can prosper and make your mark in this field of philately and can do true justice with your stamp collection.