The following are my method for soaking
today’s self stick stamps from their paper. It is by no means the
only way to do it, if you have another method and have been successful
with it in the past, by all means use it
first step is to trim the paper off each stamp, leaving approximately one
half inch of paper. If you cut the paper too close to the stamp there
will be nothing to hold onto when you peel the stamps from the paper.
Watch it, this can cause you a lot of trouble; you could wind up discarding
a lot of damaged stamps. At this same time remove any stamps that
are on bright colored paper, red, green or yellow paper will fade and stain
all the others you are soaking in the pan with it. Any stained stamp
is a damaged one and you may as well discard it.
With this done we are now ready to
soak some stamps, you will need two pans, one large enough to hold one
gallon of water the other can be smaller about 1 quart. Fill the
first pan with about one half gallon of warm water with 1 tsp of mild hand
soap (I use liquid Dial). Most dishwashing liquid soap is designed
to cut grease and they could fade your stamps. Fill the second pan
with cold water from the tap.
Place two ounces (Approx. 300 stamps)
in the pan with the warm soapy water, with your hand force them to the
bottom of the pan face down. Now let them soak approximately 15 to
20 minutes. At this point some of the stamps should have separated
from the paper and floated away. Take these out first and place in
the pan with the cold water; the rest should peel away from the paper easily.
Have a wastebasket with a plastic bag liner near by; as you remove the
stamps from the first pan also remove the paper into the wastebasket.
When all stamps have been removed from the soapy water and the scrap paper
and damages stamps are in the trash, you can empty the first pan and set
Most newspapers are printed on one
sheet of paper folded in the center consisting of two pages printed front
and back. Take a sharp knife or scissors and separate the two pages.
The reason I tell you this is, if you try to use the two pages together
they will become soggy and take hours to dry. Of course you don't
have to use newspaper, paper towels or any other soft absorbent paper will
are now ready to dry the stamps. Take one page of newspaper; fold
it in the center of the page. Lay the stamps side-by-side face down
on the paper making sure they don't touch or overlap one another.
There could be enough gum remaining or them to stick together. Lay
the pages aside until they are almost dry or until the stamps start to
curl. At this point fold the other half of the paper down over the
stamps and place some kind of weight over them over night or for several
hours. Under no circumstances put these stamps-in a bag or envelope
until they are completely dry and flat. They will stick together
and have creases or folds. Stamps with creases and folds are considered
damaged and will be discarded.
As I said earlier, this is by no means
the only way to do this; but if one will follow this instruction to the
letter there will be little or no problems soaking stamps off paper.
Needless to say, after you have soaked
a few stamps off paper it will become much easier and fun to do, however,
I feel I should add a footnote here. All traces of the envelope paper
and gum must be removed without fading the stamps. If there is any
trace of paper on the back of the stamp you may as well, throw it in the
trash. It’s considered to be non-collectable and no one will buy it.
One other thing I might add, you are
going to find some stamps that cannot be soaked off paper no matter what
you try. In my experience I have only ran into two. The Pacific
Rain Forest and Great Planes Prairie.
Commemoratives come close, but they
can be done. I have found that if one leaves about 1 inch or more
paper around the stamp and soak for 30 minutes or more they will come off
Jim Robinson, Chairman