Care of Stamp Collections

Image result for lighthouse stamp albumMost collectors take good care of their stamps, at least while they are actively collecting. Albums that are in your office or library are usually kept on the living floors of your house, and they are subject to the same temperatures and humidity that people are comfortable with. This is generally acceptable for most stamps though stamps are a bit more finicky than people and generally do best in 70-75 degree temperature with lower humidity than most people feel is required for comfort. It is when collectors lose interest in their stamps and move them to their basements and attics that the trouble can begin. If your stamps are not very valuable this may not be a problem, but if they have real value you will come to regret improper storage.

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The saddest story in this regard just happened recently. A collector died in 1990, and his familycalled us to look at his twenty carton cover and stamp hoard. I don’t remember the exact value but we offered them somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000 for the collection. They thought it was worth more and put it into storage at one of these storage facilities where it was under lock and key but not temperature or humidity protected. Just this year, 22 years later, they asked us to look at it again. The cartons had become infested with paper mites and these mites had eaten a great deal of the stamps and covers and had rendered worthless what they hadn’t destroyed outright. The lot had to be trashed. That’s right-$50,000 to zero in only 22 years. We have seen many fine collections that had lost much of their value through faulty storage, but this was the first that had become worthless because the owners had not used common sense in maintaining a valuable family asset.
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