Here are tips for the amateur postage stamp collector on soaking the stamps:
- Before soaking your stamp, separate stamps that are on any colored paper, stamps having colored cancellations, particularly those with purple or red ink, stamps of very dark in color, stamps that are on poor paper quality, or those with unidentified inks that could liquefy in the basin of water and can stain other stamps. Any "unuasual" stamps should be separated and handled one by one.
- Trim the paper of the envelope that surrounds stamp, being extra careful as not to scratch or slice the edges of the stamp.
- When soaking the stamp, take a shallow container with lukewarm water and float in the stamps having the pictures side facing you. Make certain that there is enough room for the stamps to float not to stick to each other. Avoid soaking too many stamps all at one time.
- Leave the stamps to float until such time that the adhesive dissolves so that the stamps easily slides off the piece of paper. Paper can rip easily so handle the stamp carefully and just allow the water to work on it.
- Rinse off gently the stamps back in fresh clean water to so that all the adhesive is taken off.
- Position the stamps in a manner that they are not touching each other on top of paper towels to dry, or old newspapers.
- Leave the stamps to dry. When they should curl afterwards, place them in another dry piece of paper and place a heavy book on them.
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