Washing very old stamps, how to do it, why to do it, and is it safe?

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Re: Washing very old stamps, how to do it, why to do it, and is it safe?

Post by steevh »

blue-within-blue wrote: 20 Jan 2024 22:36
Gently place the stamps face down in the water, making sure not to overcrowd them. Allow them to soak for a few minutes to loosen any gum or paper residue.
Face down? Last thing you'd want to do with fugitive ink.
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Re: Washing very old stamps, how to do it, why to do it, and is it safe?

Post by blue-within-blue »


The RPS certificate confirmed that the Waterlow stamp does not belong to the cover, but that the stamp and its postmark are genuine ; only the "tie" postmark on the envelope was faked. They also told me they could see no damage apart from the crease.

Armed with that expert reassurance, I went ahead with the planned separation. I made a "sweatbox" using a small latchable tupperware pot and a sponge washing-up pad cut in half, with a little hot water in the bottom but not deep enough to reach the stamp. Due to the fragile ink on this issue, I did not put the 2nd layer of foam on top of the stamp, as advised in the original "Phosbox" instructions. I think that was intended to stop the stamp or piece curling when damp.

The sweatbox components -
BG sweatbox.JPG
The point of no return -
BG cut piece.JPG
Face UP !
BG on pad.JPG
Sweating nicely -
BG sweating.JPG
24 hours later. Need to take a brave pill for this part -
BG lifting off.JPG
Successfully separated -
BG separated.JPG
A mostly "honest" stamp again -
BG finished 1.JPG
BG finished 2.JPG
The blue tone was visible from the back when the stamp was still damp, but invisible once it dried. The stamp also feels too thick, and the small holes on "RI" are not visible on the back. So it seems clear that the stamp had already been re-backed with a thin piece of paper before being added to the cover ; perhaps to conceal those holes.

There was no sign of that backing paper releasing after the soak, and in view of the fragility of the stamp, I'm not going to try to remove it. I think that would be a step too far, and might leave me with several pieces instead of a reasonably presentable stamp.

The top-left quadrant and the crease have visibly lightened, which I presume is due to later painting-in of abrasions lifting off during the soak (as predicted by Glen). But I don't mind that - I would rather see the stamp as it was originally, rather than after being adulterated. And 4-margined copies of the 1852 are scarce, so I'm happy (not to say relieved) with the final outcome.

As a bonus, the RPS certificate which confirms the stamp itself is genuine was priced as a refusal certificate, due to the cover being faked - so it only cost £48 instead of £360 (2.5% x £12000 + 20% VAT) if I had submitted the stamp after separation.

ROB
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Re: Washing very old stamps, how to do it, why to do it, and is it safe?

Post by bathurst stamper »

Very interesting Rob :)
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Re: Washing very old stamps, how to do it, why to do it, and is it safe?

Post by Global Admin »

Well it is your stamp Rob, and you of course are free to do with it what you choose. :lol: :lol: :lol:

As dealer, I can tell you that had it been offered as - ''Stamp genuine, with 2024 RPSL Photo Certificate stating the stamp and its postmark are genuine, but that the postmark lines at left on backing piece have been added later'

Image

It would have always fetched a lot more than what we have now - a badly defective and re-backed stamp, for reasons the RPS had no knowledge of -


https://www.stampboards.com/download/file.php?id=411941


'stamp genuine, with a heavy vertical crease and colour loss in many places. Stamp has been re-backed. Has RPSL Certificate stating is stamp is genuine when it was on piece, with a forged cancel added at side. From which it has subsequently been washed from, creating colour loss from the 'painted in' sections of the stamp - the rebacking was of course not visible to, or noted by RPSL when they examined it'

Image


If it had been trimmed square it would look ever better - :lol:

2.JPG
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Re: Washing very old stamps, how to do it, why to do it, and is it safe?

Post by blue-within-blue »


Hi Glen - you are of course entitled to your opinion. But I didn't buy the stamp with the aim of resale (unless it had been re-certified as a genuine cover), so its value now is not critical to me. More importantly, I bought it at a Feldman public auction open to every buyer in the world, with a BPA certificate saying essentially the same as the RPS one - so we must assume that the price I paid was its full market value as a faked item, even with a 2nd certificate saying the same as the 1st.

To clarify - "RPSL Certificate stating is stamp is genuine when it was on piece, with a forged cancel added at side" is not correct, nor is "the postmark lines at left on backing piece have been added later'. It was NOT genuine when on piece. The RPS didn't say that only the lines were added later : they said that the stamp did not originate on the wrapper - it was a "marriage". For that reason, I did not want to keep it as a known fake.

ROB
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Re: Washing very old stamps, how to do it, why to do it, and is it safe?

Post by Global Admin »

Yep each to his own. Owners can do as they wish. :D

In 45 years in this business, I cannot recall a single collector spending hours to deliberately heavily reduce the value of their super high catalogue value stamps. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Maybe someone out there assiduously adds hinges to their valuable MUH stamps too - I just have never came across them. I actually do not believe any such collector exists - but as always I could be totally wrong. 8-)

Glen
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Re: Washing very old stamps, how to do it, why to do it, and is it safe?

Post by gavin-h »

blue-within-blue wrote: 21 Apr 2024 22:21
The blue tone was visible from the back when the stamp was still damp, but invisible once it dried. The stamp also feels too thick, and the small holes on "RI" are not visible on the back. So it seems clear that the stamp had already been re-backed with a thin piece of paper before being added to the cover ; perhaps to conceal those holes.

There was no sign of that backing paper releasing after the soak, and in view of the fragility of the stamp, I'm not going to try to remove it. I think that would be a step too far, and might leave me with several pieces instead of a reasonably presentable stamp.

The top-left quadrant and the crease have visibly lightened, which I presume is due to later painting-in of abrasions lifting off during the soak (as predicted by Glen). But I don't mind that - I would rather see the stamp as it was originally, rather than after being adulterated. And 4-margined copies of the 1852 are scarce, so I'm happy (not to say relieved) with the final outcome.
Rob,

Which of the two statements I have highlighted in red is correct? :?

Because they can't both be unless you live in a world of Orwellian Doublespeak. :idea:

Of course, as Glen has already said, it's your stamp and you can do what you want with it. But I'm intrigued by the thought process involved. :|
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Re: Washing very old stamps, how to do it, why to do it, and is it safe?

Post by worldstamps »

ebay wrote: 14 Jan 2024 06:52
If that was mine I think I'd leave it as is, that's going to take nerves of steel to soak off.

I don't know the colour might not run, but anything could happen, I maybe would cut around the stamp and leave it with the back on, if you don't want it on the cover.

Lookswise, it now looks great - will it look better or the same after a soak ?

Way too pricey for me - I'd be a bag of nerves watching that soak off.

Very wise words. :!:
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Re: Washing very old stamps, how to do it, why to do it, and is it safe?

Post by blue-within-blue »


"Which of the two statements I have highlighted in red is correct?"

Both! But I was careless with my words. By "as it was originally" I meant before the creation of the fake cover and repainting, NOT as it was made in 1852.

The alterations to the stamp were clearly a two-stage process, probably by different owners, because no forger who was planning to glue the stamp onto an unrelated wrapper to create a bogus cover would bother re-backing it beforehand. It would be pointless.

So I conclude that at some earlier stage in its life, an owner rebacked the singleton stamp, probably to preserve its fragile state (the original paper is VERY thin) and hide the holes. I don't regard that as being in the same league as the later fakery, when someone else created a completely bogus cover, almost certainly with the aim of increasing its apparent value and defrauding a buyer.

If the stamp had been sold as a singleton with the re-backing clearly observable, as it is now, I would happily have bought it and put it in my album as-is. That level of adulteration, probably done to preserve it, would not have bothered me.

But in "fakery stage 2", with the bogus cover identified by experts, I was not prepared to own it as-is ; for the same reason I would not wear a fake Rolex or drive a kit-car replica Ferrari. It was a pretence, a sham. Any time a fellow collector saw it, I would either have to explain that it was bogus, or tell a lie - just as the owner of a fake Rolex must do, whenever someone compliments him on his watch.

As a separate point, by removing it from the bogus cover I have also effectively prevented any future collectors being conned by a seller who threw away the certificates and once again fraudulently represented it as a genuine cover.

ROB
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Re: Washing very old stamps, how to do it, why to do it, and is it safe?

Post by CollectorColin »

'My understanding of this fake is that the samp was re-backed at some point in the past, possibly just for preservation purposes, but then it was later attached to a cover and the lines added on the cover to complete the fake.'

That being the case I think I would agree entirely with the approach taken by Rob, abeit a very brave move. A fake has been removed from the market and Rob can display the item without having to explain the fake element each time.

I also don't follow the logic given above that the stamp is worth more as a genuine stamp on a fake cover than it is as a genuine single stamp.

Is it just that it's rebacked status would not be known if it had remained on the cover? Isn't that just as decitful? Glen clearly knows what sells and at what price so maybe there is no logic just instinct.
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Re: Washing very old stamps, how to do it, why to do it, and is it safe?

Post by Global Admin »

CollectorColin wrote: 26 Apr 2024 00:13
Glen clearly knows what sells and at what price

Correct, and my clear view is outlined above. Near 50 years of experience gives one a good idea of the market of any given piece. Appearance is everything.

Collectors are free to do what they wish with their stamps. Agree 100%. Tear them in half, punch 10mm circles in them, spray them gold ink, snip off the corners etc. :lol:

Or like that clueless Weitzmann lunatic in the USA, with the 1856 British GUANO, recenttly adding his garish and ugly and crass signature in heavy pressure, silver ink pen, on a $6 million stamp, that vandalised it forever, for all future owners. (Next time it sells, it will get millions less of course, but hey what's a few million among collectors!)
March21-British Guiana reverse Weizman signature.jpg
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Re: Washing very old stamps, how to do it, why to do it, and is it safe?

Post by ThreeSquadron »

I saw some advice on this subject not on here, where he uses peroxide on a cotton bud to clean rusted stamps and another who soaks stamps in water peroxide mix.
Does not sound a very good idea to me. I thought peroxide removed stains so I'm guessing it would destroy the stamp.
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Re: Washing very old stamps, how to do it, why to do it, and is it safe?

Post by ebayer »

What on earth has using peroxide on sulpherated stamps got to do with this thread topic???

And the unsourced and unreferenced, totally anonymous alleged claim that using it to reduce stamp rust is just arrant nonsense.

Add a specific quote if you are going to post such fiction, so that the 'he' dope allegedly stating it, can be ID'd.

Some readers are gullible, and may even believe such unsourced and unproven rubbish, and try it themselves and cause damage. :roll:
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