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Stamp Collection Stamp Collecting Tips Stamp Album Caring for Stamps Postage Stamps

Taking Proper Care of Your Stamp Collection

There are a number of different ways that you can use to store or display your stamps. These methods include:

• Stamp albums
• Stock books or stock pages
• Envelopes
• Boxes (the famous shoebox, not recommended!)

We recommend that you use either stamp albums or stock books/pages. If you use a stamp album, make sure that the pages are made of acid-free paper.

Loose stamps are very fragile and they are too easily damaged in envelopes or boxes. If you do choose to use envelopes, you should use paper envelopes of archival quality to avoid problems. Glassine envelopes are ok for very short-term storage, but they are not intended for long-term use and will eventually damage stamps.

But no matter how you keep your stamps, they should always be stored in a way that protects them from excessive heat and humidity. This means keeping your stamps in an air conditioned environment during hot weather. You may also want to consider de-humidifying the air if humidity is high.

Stamps also should always be protected from direct sunlight – strong sunlight can cause colors to fade.

Excessive heat – whether it originates from strong sunlight or the room is just too hot – can cause softening of the gum on stamps. This sometimes results in a stamp “licking itself” to whatever is beneath it. Heat can also cause other damage to the gum.

Albums, stock books and stock pages should always be stored upright (not flat and horizontal) as the weight of the pages can also cause stamps to stick down. Leaf through the pages of your stamp albums and stock books every once in a while – this “airs out” the stamps and is very healthy for them.

Generally, you should use album pages that are designed for stamps to be mounted or hinged on only one side, not both sides. When stamps are mounted on both sides of an album page, they sometimes “grab” each other and can tear or become dislodged when pages are turned.

Don’t drink any kind of liquid – water, coffee, soft drinks, etc – when near your stamps. Liquids are the enemies of stamps, especially mint stamps. Any sort of liquid will either damage or entirely remove the gum from a mint stamp. The safest thing to do is not have any type of liquid, in any type of container, anywhere near your stamps.

In general, treat your stamp collection carefully, as a cherished possession. It will pay you back with years of enjoyment.

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