Apfelbaum’s Corner – Volume 41

On several occasions, I have written about the effects of weather on stamps, particularly if they are stamps with gum on the back. In order to be properly preserved, these stamps should be stored in areas of low humidity and moderate temperature. So, too, must they be free of much weight or pressure.

Unfortunately, many collectors ignore these almost absolute rules. They believe that the use of “mounts” will free them of all other cares for their stamps. Or they believe that turning on an electric fan in the stamp closet on humid days will eliminate the possibility of sticking and staining stamps. As much as we would hope so, all too often these well intentioned actions just don’t furnish the needed protection. The bacteria that stain the stamps by ingesting the gum and excreting brown waste— thrive on moist warmth, in or out of mounts. Gum becomes tacky at temperatures that are normal in summer, particularly near the sea coast or in the south.

Continual air conditioning, placing albums vertically on shelves, and keeping them free of tightness are the best methods of avoiding trouble. There are others, depending on your location that will serve you well. If you live on an island in the Gulf of Mexico or some similar place, collect only used stamps because they are easier cared for than the unused original gum variety. If you have any love for your collection, the least you can do is preserve it in the best possible condition.