Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

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Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Kilowarekid »


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The above pictures show an example of the plastic pockets that I use for long term storage of stamps. I simply put the stamp in the plastic pocket as shown and then I place the pocket with the stamp into a lighthouse stockbook as I feel that use of the pockets gives extra protection against rusting.

These pockets were recommended to me by a local stamp dealer here in Ireland and I have seen them being used by many dealers for housing stamps.

These pockets have white plastic at the back and clear plastic in the front. They are thin and totally flexible. The dealer told me that they are free of the dangerous softener chemicals that harm stamps.

I am not even sure what the correct name is for these in the stamp world.

My BIG question to you all is, are these plastic pockets safe to use for long-term storage of stamps.

It would be great if Glen could also give his expertise on this question.

Thanking you all in advance.

KK
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Re: Plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Kilowarekid »

Also I should add that the above question is probably the most important one I will ask in my 40 year philatelic career so don't be slow to reply.

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Re: Plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by faro »

Manufacturer's packaging would help but if your dealer showed you this you could, of course, purchase from an upstream source...

At least you have climate generally on your side!
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Re: Plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Kilowarekid »

I remember buying them from the dealer and there were about a 1000 of them in clear plastic packaging so I have no information regarding manufacturing.

Thanks for your reply. Hopefully I will get more answers.

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Global Administrator »

Must the THE world's ugliest stamp collection housed like that. :idea:

Never in 45 years as a dealer have I even seen anything like it. Wildly inefficient use of expensive stockbook pages too.

Absurd choice, as they have fold over sealing joins and in a stockbook those join lines will press into stamp gum in time. CRAZY choice.

In Ireland you do NOT need ANYTHING extra at all in stockbooks for combating 'rust'.

f you MUST use something, why not join 99.99% of the rest of the world collectors and use Lighthouse or Hawid or similar mounts? Black or clear - your choice.

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by NikE »

I had seen something very similar with a number of dealers here at an exhibition about 2-3 years back.

They had these pockets for sale in bundles of 100 or the like. I think they called it BOPP pouches or something.

Whether it's good for long term storage will only depend on the material and if it is archival safe or not. Probably you can ask the dealer about this.

Also, as you mention you use lighthouse stockbooks. They are in itself quite safe. Collectors all over the world have been using them for ages now.
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Global Administrator »

.
The big seller stamp mounts name in recent decades is Lighthouse of Germany.

I sell 100 packs of these a year, in either black or clear, and collectors then have whatever size they want, on hand at all times. At WAY less cost than buying lots of little packs.

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by faro »

NikE wrote: 07 Jul 2022 15:25I had seen something very similar with a number of dealers here at an exhibition about 2-3 years back.

They had these pockets for sale in bundles of 100 or the like. I think they called it BOPP pouches or something.

Those polypropylene pouches are typically the ones seen with a seal strip - not as good as mylar (polyester) for archival storage but should be acid-free, unlike PVC. Used here for bulk postcards, etc.

Those of us outside India should weep to see how cheap they are when purchased in bulk, even after prices have increased 50-100% since the last google cache!
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I don't know for sure if those small white-backed bags are the same; received a few in the post for lower-value eBay purchases but transferred out the contents on arrival.
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by norvic »

Dealers in the UK have for many years used clear-fronted bags with paper backing for storing and displaying covers and stamps, and for posting them to collectors - the US uses glassines which are translucent, ours are transparent.

I use them every day. But a few years ago it became uneconomic for producers to manufacture the smaller - 90 x 60 mm - ones, and this is what the OP is showing (or something slightly larger).

They are perfectly fine for storing covers, cards, booklets, and even stamps while they are being sorted.

But as Glen says, there is no need to use them within stockbooks

- buy a quality stockbook
- keep it in the right environment
- don't store any rusty stamps in it
- keep airing your stamps

And they will survive.
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Kilowarekid »

Global Administrator wrote: 07 Jul 2022 15:22 Must the THE world's ugliest stamp collection housed like that. :idea:

Never in 45 years as a dealer have I even seen anything like it. Wildly inefficient use of expensive stockbook pages too.

Absurd choice, as they have fold over sealing joins and in a stockbook those join lines will press into stamp gum in time. CRAZY choice.






Now I am worried as regards what Glen said about them having fold over sealing joins...... I cannot see any fold over, the pockets are uniform from top to bottom.

There is no gum or seal in these pockets.

Please help.

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Global Administrator »

Kilowarekid wrote: 07 Jul 2022 21:14
Now I am worried as regards what Glen said about them having fold over sealing joins...... I cannot see any fold over, the pockets are uniform from top to bottom.


OMG.

No Irish Jokes, I promise. HOW do you imagine the CLEAR PLASTIC bonds to the CLOUDY WHITE PAPER to form an envelope, if not glued?

Voodoo Magic perhaps?

You asked the question, and have been given all sorts o logical responses and want to ignore them all, and go into denial - your call. Your collection --- store them as foolishly as you choose. :idea:

If you cannot see the fold over at base on these clearface bags, you need to find a better optician. :idea: :idea: :idea:

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Kilowarekid »

Again there is no fold over at the base of my plastic pockets. It is a clear plastic face joined to a white plastic face, but perhaps what you are saying is that the 3 sides that are joined must be glued together and that this is dangerous for the stamp?

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by norvic »

Global Administrator wrote: 07 Jul 2022 21:42 OMG.

No Irish Jokes, I promise. HOW do you imagine the CLEAR PLASTIC bonds to the CLOUDY WHITE PAPER to form an envelope, if not glued?
Read my post - there is no paper, there is no glue, there is no foldover. I have one on my desk as I write this, they are all plastic, front and back.
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by norvic »

Kilowarekid wrote: 07 Jul 2022 22:04 Again there is no fold over at the base of my plastic pockets. It is a clear plastic face joined to a white plastic face, but perhaps what you are saying is that the 3 sides that are joined must be glued together and that this is dangerous for the stamp?

KK
No, they are heat-sealed, like Hagner sheets. Perfectly safe, but I still don't see the need to use them within stockbooks on a permanent basis.
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Kilowarekid »

So Glen, what do you think of Norvics comment, who is correct?? Now I am more confused, two opposing posts from two reliable contributors. Help!

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by norvic »

Kilowarekid wrote: 07 Jul 2022 08:43
Image Image Image

The above pictures show an example of the plastic pockets that I use for long term storage of stamps.
----8<----
These pockets have white plastic at the back and clear plastic in the front. They are thin and totally flexible. The dealer told me that they are free of the dangerous softener chemicals that harm stamps.
This is quite clear. (Pardon the pun!)
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Kilowarekid »

Thank for your help norvic, I really appreciate it but can Glen comment on this?

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Global Administrator »

My comment is, that your out of focus original images does not make it clear WHAT you have.

Seeing clearface envelopes are used heavily in the UK trade, it looked like those which of course DO have a bent over sealed lower edge, as I show.

You will be the only person on the planet who stores a collection in them inside a stockbook, so take a bow - a ridiculous way to collect in a stockbook, but you know best. :roll:
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by ViccyVFU »



People always ask "what's the best"?, and in many ways "its an impossible question to answer" as that can change by batch, manufacturer, country, availability, price etc ..... so many dimensions, not all of which are constant, by any means.

... and that's only the options half of the story .... What are YOUR needs? ....

How many years is "long term" to you?
How many stamps to store? (Overall, and in each sleeve?)
Are they in batches the same, or different?
Are you aware of any infection "exposure" in your source?
etc ...

What you seem to have decided on already is that you want to store stamps in a stock book, but add an extra layer of "infection control", to stop any cross contamination of stamps that already may have the spores present.

Its a common problem for cover collectors, where rust may already affect the cover, but not the stamp .... and you'll hear a constant rumble on the boards that "you should keep these separately, if you have to retain them at all".

Postcard collectors use regular albums, but also use a second barrier, to stop any infections spreading ...

img211stamp.jpg
Parcel label, with toning / rust

img211small.jpg
How they get stored, with a secondary layer
(Polyprotec sleeve, in this case)

Your sleeves, if acid free, would be superior to polyprotec in this case, as they are sealed (by weld) on three sides.

What I would say, top of list, for any long term solution is that your best safeguard is :

To regularly inspect your assets "at least every couple of years"

Whatever anyone says (and there's no reason to doubt your stamp dealer, but he wont have been using the product he sold you "for the last 20 years, non stop"), inspection is key, to long term preservation.

Glens paper backed envelopes (Lovingly known as Sandwich bags over here!!) are much inferior in terms of infection control, as they contain paper, plus foldovers, plus glue. They are fine for storage for one or two years, but again, inspection is key. (Any barrier between infected items is good, but welded three (or four!) sides theoretically "should be better").

Your proposed set up does seem overkill, though......
I would have thought EITHER stockbooks, appropriately filled (not rammed), OR these envelopes would form adequate long term storage, and see no benefit in the combination of both (unless stamps are already infected), but a huge downside in "increased storage costs" (and "fugliness" :D ).

If you decide solely to go with the welded envelopes, then I'd find suitable storage boxes to keep them in (A business card plastic box, by country, works for some people) with added benefit that you can have "fingerprint free handling, at a pace".

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Kilowarekid »

Yes Glen It may be an unusual way of storing the stamps but again I ask you, now that we have established that there is no fold over or paper, is the plastic safe in your opinion? because your opinion matters to me on this topic.

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Rigs »

Kilowarekid wrote: 07 Jul 2022 23:43 Yes Glen It may be an unusual way of storing the stamps but again I ask you, now that we have established that there is no fold over or paper, is the plastic safe in your opinion? because your opinion matters to me on this topic.

KK
It’s not safe mate, I’d be panicking if I were you.

Your stamps could be accumulating rust as I type.

Put them in a lead box?
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Kilowarekid »

Thanks viccy for your very helpful comments and yes it is all down to providing an extra layer of protection, I will later post about why I go to this extreme.

I am a biochemist by trade so I have a huge interest in rusting/fungi and the damage they can do to stamps.

As regards longterm storage I mean a lifetime. I want my stamps to be perfect when I am 90 years old.

Not sure about your post, rigs, maybe you are trying to be funny?

Hopefully Glen will come back and answer the question regarding, are these plastic pockets safe for stamps??
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Kilowarekid »

So Glen are the plastic pockets safe for longterm stamp storage??

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by norvic »

Global Administrator wrote: 07 Jul 2022 23:29 My comment is, that your out of focus original images does not make it clear WHAT you have.

Seeing clearface envelopes are used heavily in the UK trade, it looked like those which of course DO have a bent over sealed lower edge, as I show.
It was blatantly clear to me from the photographs in the opening post, as I am in the UK trade and I use them as does most of the rest of the UK trade.

Why does the UK trade use these? Because there is no paper-backed alternative (in the UK).

And how long have they been in use? Well most of the trade got their supplies from Vera Trinder or Barrington Smith. The latter had a nice warehouse in Leicester which I visited a couple of times.

I got my last supplies from them some time in 2013 - yes this style of bag have been in use for 9 years or more.

How do I know it was that long ago? Because I never deleted my copy of their catalogue for 2013-14 in which they announced that they would cease trading in September 2013.

But this is the extract from their catalogue for clear front bags - MOST of which have paper backs, but the smallest do not.
Extract from Barrington Smith 2013 catalogue.
Extract from Barrington Smith 2013 catalogue.
Screenshot 2022-07-07 at 15.31.42.png
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Global Administrator »

norvic wrote: 08 Jul 2022 01:36
Why does the UK trade use these? Because there is no paper-backed alternative (in the UK).

Utter nonsense Ian. You really do need to get out more. :)

First today you were unaware of new 'high tech' (coff) bar coded Mchins being openly sold by the truckload on ebay uncancelled, after being through the mail, that I needed to point out to you.

''I am in the UK trade.'' Whoopee Dooo for you, but clearly you are not on top of all things there. I am 10,000 miles away, and know this stuff.

Who cares what Barrington Smith sold 10 years back? Current UK suppliers are still alive and well - and sell them -

https://britishstamps.co.uk/


Clearface envelopes were - and are - PAPER BACKED.

''Crystal Clear film front and 40 gsm white kraft paper back.''

I bought a carton of A4 size of these direct off Gibbons a year or two back.

Apart from the ones I showed above, (on sale now on ebay) you can buy as many EU made clearface bags as you want off a reputable UK dealer, in many sizes - I repeat again, I'd not add 1c retail Communist Bloc topicals in them, into stock books - but Hey Ho ...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/303506276593

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Kilowarekid »

Thank you norvic for all your Crystal clear help with this. However it appears that Glen will still not give his opinion on the safety of using these plastic pockets (plastic both sides) for storing these stamps.

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Global Administrator »

Kilowarekid wrote: 08 Jul 2022 02:52
Glen will still not give his opinion on the safety of using these plastic pockets (plastic both sides) for storing these stamps.

Reedin must be another of your problems. I simply said it was a stupid and ugly and ridiculous way to store your Communist topical stamps - but your choice.

You have ZERO clue what they are made of, despite allegedly being in the field. You bought a pack of no name mounts from some unnamed guy in Ireland, and do not have the first clue what they are made of, it seems clear. So how would ANYONE here know what they are made of? Or if they are safe for stamp storage long term.

As you are too clueless to show us decent images of WHAT you are asking about, and you have NO idea what they are made of, how would anyone here know if they are safe - or not?

Dopey is as dopey does - use them as much as you want - you will be UNIQUE.

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by norvic »

Global Administrator wrote: 08 Jul 2022 02:04
norvic wrote: 08 Jul 2022 01:36
Why does the UK trade use these? Because there is no paper-backed alternative (in the UK).
Utter nonsense Ian. You really do need to get out more. :)


So Reedin is one of your strong points?

If you really did take the time to read what members write you could save yourself sooo much time.

Image
The specific size that the OP showed in the OP and therefore the product he was asking about has not been produced and made available in the UK for nearly 10 years.

3½" x 2¼" and 4½" x 3" have a clear polypropylene film front but with a white polypropylene film (rather than paper) back.

These are not even made from the same material as the clear front of the bags that you showed.

He doesn't give a toss about your views on paper-backed bags because that is not what he is asking about.

But I agree that the use of these in a stockbook is unnecessary as I have made clear.
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Kilowarekid »

An example of plastic pocket use in stockbook
An example of plastic pocket use in stockbook
.

So here is a photo of the stamps in the stock book with the extra protection of plastic pockets.

Glen, the reason I posted in the first place was to find out what they were. Norvic had no problem in identifying them.

This is an extra layer of protection provided by these pockets against rusting which a reputable stamp dealer in Ireland gave me, it was then my idea to use them as I do. I just wanted your opinion on them if you had any in terms of safety but you seem as unsure of them as I was. That's hardly dopey.

Anyway thankfully Norvic has cleared up the issue.

Finally, and I hate to burst everyone's bubble on this but, good quality stockbooks alone will not prevent rusting. Having a good quality stockbook is a minimum. Every stamp collector I know, including myself, who uses top quality stockbooks has at some stage had the odd stamp that suffered from rust spots.

I'm 52, I want to keep this problem of rusting away so that when I'm 92 the stamps will still be unblemished so I'm determined to use the best possible method of protection. Someone here on this board once said that when it comes to rusting one cannot be careful enough.

Finally, there seems to be much made of the climate in Ireland /UK, that it somehow isn't as bad in terms of conditions for rusting. Yes the tropics may be terrible but we suffer as well from paper attack by fungi and rusting, it is everywhere.

KK
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by norvic »

Kilowarekid wrote: 08 Jul 2022 02:52 Thank you norvic for all your Crystal clear help with this. However it appears that Glen will still not give his opinion on the safety of using these plastic pockets (plastic both sides) for storing these stamps.

KK
I don't think Glen has ever seen these so he can't give an opinion. Be fair to the man, he's 20,000 miles away. Best stop floggin' a dead horse.

I think as you are a scientist you have all the means at your disposal to find out whether these are safe.

Ask your supplier for the name of the producer (via the wholesaler if necessary).
Contact the supplier's technical team and talk to them in technical language.

Let us know how you get on.
Ian Billings - Norvic Philatelics - clearing Machins stock before Royal Mail burn them all, singles, booklets, booklet panes, regionals - lists here: or email/DM your general needs and I'll let you know whether it's worth sending a wants list.
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Kilowarekid »

Good idea norvic, I will take your advice.
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Global Administrator »

norvic wrote: 08 Jul 2022 03:48
I don't think Glen has ever seen these so he can't give an opinion. Be fair to the man, he's 20,000 miles away. Best stop floggin' a dead horse.

Give me a break Ian .. you really are clutching at straws - you first tell us paper backed Clearface are not buyable in the UK, are proved totally wrong, and then invent this nonsense to dig your hole ever deeper. (And even your Geography is a major FAIL if you think I am 20,000 miles away. What laziness.)

We have ZERO idea what our Irish genius has - neither does he. You have no idea if they match up to your 10 year old price list you keep trotting out.

But storing 5c Eastern bloc packet material stamps in them makes them worth more than the contents. :lol:
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Kilowarekid »

Clear face with paperback are available in the UK but NOT in the size I am talking about. The ones that are available are much bigger in size and of no interest to me.

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Global Administrator »

Well use Hawid mounts like the rest of the world, if you really want to protect them.

You've been told this and still stick to your ugly plastic baggies of unknown end result.

Perhaps wrap them all in cling wrap? Now THERE is a novel idea. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by GB1840 »

Global Administrator wrote: 08 Jul 2022 05:39 Well use Hawid mounts like the rest of the world, if you really want to protect them.

You've been told this and still stick to your ugly plastic baggies of unknown end result.

Perhaps wrap them all in cling wrap? Now THERE is a novel idea. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Having read the thread and viewed the ugly bags and stockbook arrangement, I have to agree, surely a large part of putting a collection together is to show and arrange it at its best (even just to yourself!), the packets also allow individual stamps to move about (some stamps are not straight and even overlap each other!) and take away what could be an attractive arrangement using mounts like everyone else would use.
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Kilowarekid »

The Irish genius will bow out.
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Global Administrator »

Capture.JPG
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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by ViccyVFU »



Don't be disheartened.

a) Those pouches will be fine, but still inspect every couple of years.

b) If the layout works for you (Its your collection, your rules), then go for it.

c) 30 years is very long term storage.
I'd say "expect to change the stockbooks maybe halfway along that path".

Even quality stockbooks do de-glue and stain, if stored in adverse conditions (especially in smokers houses).

For your info, here's a lighthouse stock page (A tier 1 brand, in my books), showing "signs of age" ....

img213small.jpg
Uniform yellow staining on a lighthouse page

Your "double isolation" won't stop all rust (some spores may already be present, before housing), but it should greatly reduce any spread.

The big question for you, seeing some of the comments here, is "will this set of arrangements bring you joy over the next 30 years?", because if you are going to stress on a daily basis about "possible infections", I'd say pyrotechnics was a better hobby for the next 30 years!!.

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Kilowarekid »

No I will not stress about it, I love stamp collecting so much and I am quite happy with my storage method as to me it doesn't look unattractive.
Thank you viccy for your helpful comments here. I am actually on holidays and with being off work I have being posting like mad here.
I love stamp boards, great community for learning.

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Re: Advice on best plastic pockets for long-term storage of stamps

Post by Snap73 »

I have been collecting 25+ years. I have never had an issue with rust. The stockbooks are quite safe. I think the use of plastic pockets or stamp mounts is unnecessary.
Collects Postal History: Interim Israel (1948), Jordan (occ. of the West Bank 1949-67) and the Palestinian Authority (1994 - Present).
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