"Rust" and Foxing etc on stamps. How best to store them?

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Re: "Rust" and Foxing etc on stamps. How best to store them?

Post by Old Architect »

Global Administrator wrote:
30 Aug 2020 20:10
.
Paper physical dimensions size might alter by a tiny fraction of a mm after any soaking. Impossible to measure it. :mrgreen:

As outlined clearly above SIZING is an additive to the stamp paper.

Every amateur alchemist witch-doctor who bleaches and fiddles and otherwise degrades stamp paper loses or decreases that sizing, with each mad hatter experiment. Do it several times, and you have a limp and sad and faded blotting paper quality, sad mush. :evil:

Their stamps - they can cut them into pieces if they choose or dip them into tar etc. Seems a shame though.

Glen

Hot topic Sheriff!

In book binding we bathe very old papers with distilled water, sometimes chemicals are introduced, like ethanol, liquid Mylar, et al, in extreme cases, to rinse off debris.

Unless one is a paper restoration specialist the question is rudimentary to me. I.e. your comment that the patinas are preferred to a "cleaned" paper (or coin). I conserve old documents & I can tell you yes, foxing is a problem. One never tries to do anything other than CONSERVE.

This usually means removing dirt, grime, etc., & leaves the document as "original" as possible. That stated, conserved papers, that finish brighter, are not necessarily frowned upon, unless chemically induced. Papers ARE different, requiring different techniques for each, & sizing is a relatively new process.

Old papers often come out "brighter" after common (water) cleansing. Anything that takes away ANY of the original is generally a conservation "No-No" unless it is detrimental to the piece, such as acidic gums, etc.

If there is an element that IS a detriment & can't be removed, every effort is spent in SLOWING the process of degradation.

Having gum definitely throws a "don't touch" into the mix. I would caution anyone attempting any type of "conservation / cleaning." Any good paper conservationist will "ditto" the above.

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Re: "Rust" and Foxing etc on stamps. How best to store them?

Post by Catweazle »

Stapper wrote:
22 Jun 2021 01:37
Catweazle wrote:
22 Jun 2021 01:32


Thoughts on these?

Great covers, but far from the best condition. Note those browning hues around the stamps – perhaps a nice hot bath for a start?

Is this the same mess seen throughout these threads? Is it the gum that was effected, and now that's been spreading further afield?

I'm wondering if I should start being real picky about future material, and leave such things behind. These were from a box lot (typical!) – other covers were fine but these not so.



Image

IMHO, If those stamps are not rare, I would throw them away - too much foxing/rust
Is there a safe way to inhibit this rusting process, or will they only get worse over time?

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Re: "Rust" and Foxing etc on stamps. How best to store them?

Post by MJ's pet »


Catweazle wrote:Is there a safe way to inhibit this rusting process, or will they only get worse over time?


If on cover, generally no. Dabbing some rust remover on perf tips is about all you can do. If it is an expensive cover (and I mean expensive), then an archival restorer can remove and inhibit further rust. But the cover really has to be worth it $$$$$.

For an el-cheapo cover (like those shown), simply sell it and replace it.

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Re: "Rust" and Foxing etc on stamps. How best to store them?

Post by Stapper »

.
Catweazle wrote:
28 Jun 2021 16:19
Stapper wrote:
22 Jun 2021 01:37
Catweazle wrote:
22 Jun 2021 01:32



Thoughts on these?

Great covers, but far from the best condition. Note those browning hues around the stamps – perhaps a nice hot bath for a start?

Is this the same mess seen throughout these threads? Is it the gum that was effected, and now that's been spreading further afield?

I'm wondering if I should start being real picky about future material, and leave such things behind. These were from a box lot (typical!) – other covers were fine but these not so.



Image



IMHO, If those stamps are not rare, I would throw them away - too much foxing/rust
Is there a safe way to inhibit this rusting process, or will they only get worse over time?
Rust is a fungus and fungus is destroyed when freezing below -20°C. Put them in freezer for a week and the fungus is gone.

BTW, This is done when archives are flooded etc. The spots will still be there.

When washing them with luke warm water, they can be cleaned, but that will destroy the covers.

I did it with stockbooks I bought and where I was not sure if they where not contaminated. After the freezing, let them air for a few weeks and if you smell fungus, throw them away.

Stamps not showing decolloration can be kept, but not with other stamps.

BUT, the fungus will be dead, the spores not. And although spores are everywhere, the concentration in the paper will be very high due to the living fungus inside. Those will germ as soon as humidity and temperature are ideal.

If you intend to keep them, keep them separated from the rest of your collection, in a different album and a different cupboard.

Personally, if the stamps are common, I would throw them away.

Hans
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Re: "Rust" and Foxing etc on stamps. How best to store them?

Post by MJ's pet »

Stapper wrote:Personally, if the stamps are common, I would throw them away.


Agree. I wouldn't bother playing amateur chemist. If you have a really valuable stamp or cover that you can't replace, then look at spending some $$ on professional restoration or conservation treatment.

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Re: "Rust" and Foxing etc on stamps. How best to store them?

Post by Malaya »

I was curious about the fungus so I put a foxed stamp under the microscope. These images show a foxed perforation with reflected light and transmitted light.

Fungal hyphae straddling a foxed perforation on a postage stamp
Fungal hyphae straddling a foxed perforation on a postage stamp

Transmitted light photomicrograph of fungal hyphae with possible fruiting bodies straddling the perforation hole. This is probably a dead/dormant fungus as the stamp has now been in dry conditions for a long time.
Transmitted light photomicrograph of fungal hyphae with possible fruiting bodies straddling the perforation hole. This is probably a dead/dormant fungus as the stamp has now been in dry conditions for a long time.

Possible secretion or metabolites from fungal decomposition of postage stamp paper coating and/or fibres
Possible secretion or metabolites from fungal decomposition of postage stamp paper coating and/or fibres

And here's the stamp. I am still waiting for my proper reflected-light illuminator to arrive so I had to shine a light from the side.
Malaya Straits Settlements KGVI 1937 40c with Japanese occupation single-frame overprint used in Netherlands East Indies under improvised oblique illumination on Olympus BHSP microscope and 10x MSPlan achromatic metallurgical objective
Malaya Straits Settlements KGVI 1937 40c with Japanese occupation single-frame overprint used in Netherlands East Indies under improvised oblique illumination on Olympus BHSP microscope and 10x MSPlan achromatic metallurgical objective

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Re: "Rust" and Foxing etc on stamps. How best to store them?

Post by Stapper »

Malaya wrote:
10 Aug 2021 23:40
I was curious about the fungus so I put a foxed stamp under the microscope. These images show a foxed perforation with reflected light and transmitted light.
Impressive ! Thanks for sharing

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Re: "Rust" and Foxing etc on stamps. How best to store them?

Post by dunelm »

Hello folks! I've seen many German covers in an impeccable condition but with toned gum accumulated on perforation tips or around them.

Is it foxing (fungus) or just an excess of the gum darkened over the years?

I've attached a few examples below.

Shall I worry about it?

Cheers!


Screenshot 2021-10-13 at 20.01.52.png
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Re: "Rust" and Foxing etc on stamps. How best to store them?

Post by Global Administrator »

.
A stamp on a normal envelope has gum and the envelope paper does not.

Moisture/humidity is attracted to stamp gum clearly, and that is why perf tips tone or fox.

It WILL get worse of course in time. Think of it as rotting floorboards or timber decking etc. Does ignoring the issue somehow restore them to new condition? :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: "Rust" and Foxing etc on stamps. How best to store them?

Post by dunelm »

Thanks The Sheriff!

I used to limit the scope of my collection only to stamps but recently decided to expand it to include ordinary mail covers and so far it has been an arduous journey! :)

Postal stationary seems to be more prone to foxing/rust/stains than the actual stamps (I guess in part due to more negligent storage conditions), making it much harder to find a nice addition to my collection.

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Re: "Rust" and Foxing etc on stamps. How best to store them?

Post by Catweazle »

Wow – that's incredible, Malaya.

Certainly gives us an idea of what is out there!

Sure beats the LH watermark detector! :lol:

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Re: "Rust" and Foxing etc on stamps. How best to store them?

Post by AdmiralCollector »

dunelm wrote:
14 Oct 2021 12:42
Postal stationary seems to be more prone to foxing/rust/stains than the actual stamps (I guess in part due to more negligent storage conditions), making it much harder to find a nice addition to my collection.
I suspect poor quality paper is more prone to foxing & rust stains than high quality paper.

The following quote is from the article at this website:

https://www.conservation-wiki.com/wiki/BPG_Foxing

"The extent of foxing appears to be in direct proportion to methods used in the manufacture of paper. It is possible that the potential for foxing is created when the sheet is first made - the foxing only becomes visible later when storage conditions encourage it. Factors include the poor preparation of fibers, impurities in the pulp and the water added to it, and poor bleaching with chlorine. On the other hand, papers manufactured with a high magnesium or calcium carbonate content are less likely to be foxed. "

Postal stationary -- especially that from the 1950s and before -- is not usually printed on high quality paper.

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