General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

How does stamp collecting work these days? Since stamps are printed on pressure-sensitive adhesive paper, how do stamps get put into a stamp collection?

Asked by elbanditoroso (14551 points ) December 23rd, 2012

Way back, 100 years ago, I collected stamps – in fact I still have my stamp collection from the 1960s and 1970s, which is probably worth something, but who knows?

Anyway, in those days I bought single stamps and mounted them with those stamp hinges. But I could mount them one at a time and for a kid of 10–12 years, that’s all I could afford.

For the last 15 years, the USPS has distributed stamps that are pressure sensitive and don’t need to be licked. Sure you can buy a sheet of stamps (12, 16,18,20 stamps to a sheet), but as far as I can tell, they don’t sell single stamps at all.

How would a kid collect stamps these days?

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8 Answers

dabbler's avatar

The kid would have a bigger allowance and collect whole sheets and books.
The same detail-oriented kid may deserve a bigger allowance because he/she might be the only one in the household who knows how the TIVO works.

Kardamom's avatar

My brother collects certain first day issue stamps. Sometimes they’ll have an event on the day that a particular stamp is going into circulation. They have folks from the post office at the event and you can either buy a page of the stamps, or you can buy an envelope onto which one of the stamps (removed from the pressure sensitive paper) is stuck onto the envelope and then cancelled with the date (proof that it was acquired and cancelled on the date that it was first issued)

I think people still collect stamps that have been mailed too, with a post office cancellation on them.

laureth's avatar

From the FAQ of the American Philatelic Society

“Q: How do I collect a single of a self-adhesive? A: Some U.S. self-adhesives have backing which allows for the separation of a single, however, many do not. For those that do not, the suggested method is to use the stamps surrounding the one you want to save and then cut the backing paper along the edges of the stamp to get your single. Leave your stamp on its original backing paper.”

elbanditoroso's avatar

Laureth, thanks – live and learn

RandomGirl's avatar

When I was little, my brother and I were into stamp collecting. We didn’t really know the “right” way to do things, of course. Our parents and grandparents had correspondences with people all over the world, though, and interesting stamps came in all the time. We would just soak them off the paper and put them in envelopes, sorted by country and categories.
I bet I could find that collection of stamps somewhere around here…

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poisonedantidote's avatar

Some people use a method called soaking, to get the stamps off of the paper. Very time consuming, and quite risky.

RandomGirl's avatar

@poisonedantidote: That was the only method I was aware of (in my ignorance). What do you risk when you soak the stamps off?

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