Opinion on removing hinges

Like most of you I have thousands of older stamps that I have acquired over the years. Many of them are used and were recovered from old albums. What are your thoughts on re-soaking them to remove old hinges before selling? I do remove them from the old pages by using a sharp knife to cut the hinge at the fold so there is only the part of the hinge on the stamp. I don't intend to try to make a H look like a NH, but would like to make them as presentable as possible. What about those which were removed in a way that left the original gum intact? It seems a shame to remove OG, but they are used.



  • 30 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Oh yeah, one more thing. What is your opinoin about pencil writing on the back? Some collectors had written perfs, watermark, catalog number in pencil on the back. Drives me to a bit of distraction seeing that, but I'm also very hesitant to take an eraser to them. Most of them are W-Fs, but none are high dollar varieties.
  • Its time-consuming (big time) but you could always use an artist's brush to apply water just to the top of the hinge remnant (which may take repeated applications) to lift the hinge off after the water has soaked through.

    I would leave the pencil on the backs of the stamps and just mention them in your description. Erasing risks damage, thins, or black smudge marks. Pencil on back of stamps, especially older issues, is not that uncommon.
  • I'm a buyer - if you leave hinge on I probably won't buy/bid because once stamp I bought was dble hinged as it was masking a tear- did rtn stamp but....
  • Ok I just have to ask where in the world did you learn this technique for removing stamps from a page. Never in all my years have I heard of a more ridiculous thing. Why don't you peal the stamp from the page & then peal the hinge from the stamp like most other people do? In doing that you won't have nearly as many hinge remnants. You will still get a few because the hinge tears. Also you'll save a ton of time.
  • I have been breaking down a lot of old collections lately. Just pulling a stamp from a page and then the hinge from the stamp is the "quick" way, but it is also the way to do it if you want to guarantee that you produce huge quantities of thins. If you are removing hinged stamps from a page where someone has used hinges that actually peal (or separate) from both the album page and from the back of the stamp easily without damage, then you are exceedingly lucky.

    Most hinges will not peal, but instead appear to have super-glue on them. They will tenaciously cling to the album page and can only be removed with some vigorous tugging. That can result in the stamp unintentionally separating from the hinge with an inevitable thin. Then trying to remove the hinge from the back of the stamp will almost certainly result in a thin if one hasn't already been created.

    And this doesn't even get into the discussion of the extremely poor method most use in attaching hinges to their stamps and then the stamp to the album page - namely their tongue. Many times excess slobber gets on the hinge (or even the stamp directly) and when attached to the album page, some of the adhesive on the back of the stamp is then firmly attached to the album page. One usually sees the results from this as small thins in the middle of the back top margin or small thins around the hinge remnant.

    So going slow and very carefully removing the stamp from the album page is a must. If the stamp does not lift from the album page easily with just the hinge remaining as the only contact between the stamp and the album page, then excess slobber has probably glued the stamp directly to the album page. The way I would handle this is to cut the paper around the stamp and then soak both the album page remnant and hinge from the back of the stamp. This will also remove the stamp's adhesive, but would you rather have a stamp without adhesive or a stamp with a thin. I personally will take the "Mint-No-Gum" version .

    On used or CTO stamps, I will soak to remove any hinge remnants and residual adhesive. Those hinge remnants can be used to hide thins or other possible faults.

    When using hinges or even Showgard-style mounts to attach stamps to album pages, I would advise to get a small artist's brush and use the damp (not wet) brush to carefully wet the area on whatever mount you are using to attach it to the stamp (in the case of hinges) and to the album page (in all cases). You can't see what you are doing when using your tongue unless your tongue is much longer than mine. When using a brush you will be in absolute control. I have been breaking down a collection of recent German stamps all contained in Showgard mounts and that was advertised as a collection containing nothing but mint-never-hinged stamps. The problem is that the person who placed all those stamps in those mounts used his tongue when applying the mounts to the album pages. The mount wasn't carefully moistened just near the top margin, but instead a nice big wet slobber was applied to the middle of the back over the slit in the back of the mount. Enough saliva entered the mount to wet the adhesive on the back of the stamps. The result was that the stamps were glued to the inside of the mounts. The stamps could still be removed by carefully pealing the mount from the stamps, but there were then unsightly glazed gum spots across the back of the stamps. The result were stamps with much less appeal to other collectors and a much lower resale value.

    If all you work with is Scott-minimum-value stamps, then go ahead and rip away. There will always be many other copies available to replace a damaged stamp. But for any stamp above minimum value, I would go the slow careful route.
  • Richard Pauls are you completely insane? You actually took the time to refute this ? I've been in the business for almost 60 years now and I have never even heard of your outrageous ideas .Where on God's green earth do you conjure up ideas like this? I sort thousands of stamps every week with really not too many problems Usually the problems were pre-existing to start with. I guess you just need to learn how to remove the hinges correctly , You don't just rip them out you peel them. It's really quite simple.
  • Richard Pauls: Well stated, and as you prescribe, caution is the way to go. I agree with your methodology and even the OP's method of using a knife to excise the hinge. You portray someone who's love for the hobby drives his actions (not someone who views stamps as nothing more than a commodity). You're not the one that's "insane"...
  • "Unhinged" taking on a new meaning here!
  • Dekornfeld , once again you open your mouth before your brain engages. If these guys want to engage in this that's fine however this is not the way it has been done over the course of a very long time & you know it. As to the original post you are advocating creating mint hinge remnants & then using an artists brush to remove them when all you are doing is removing more gum to remove the hinge. OUTRAGEOUS !!!!
  • Rod Simmons,

    You have now received several different opinions on your hinge removal question. I am sure that you can determine the best way to move forward based upon your circumstances. A big consideration will be the value of the stamp. The more valuable the stamp, the more careful you should be to prevent any additional damage.

    For used stamps and also CTO stamps, I would soak to remove the hinge remainder and any residual gum. Removal of hinge remainders can uncover damage that may have been intentionally covered up with a hinge remnant.

    Leave the pencil marks as is and don't attempt to remove. Erasing will most likely damage the paper surface on the back. Since many stamps issued before 1950 have had pencil marks placed on the back by previous owners, they won't stand out in the crowd and are somewhat expected.

    Just do what works for you. Since you will be attempting to sell these stamps, take into account what will cause the least potential damage. But also take into account how much time you are willing to spend on this process. In my case, I am a retired accumulator (not so much a collector) who is now starting to liquidate what I have accumulated. For me it is still a hobby, so I am not worried about time consumption and dollar generation. For others dollar generation might be much more crucial.

    My initial comments were geared more towards mint hinged stamps, not used stamps. I have just seen so many improperly mounted and also improperly removed stamps that were then remounted with hinges, again sometimes improperly, that this whole topic just set me off. Just all the unnecessary damage to stamps that I have seen over the years is frustrating.

    Steve Culp's comments are the most valuable because he is a potential customer. To bad we don' have more buyers comment as their opinions on such topics are the most important.
  • Mathis, what an arrogant nincompoop you are. Clearly you have no clue what you are talking about. Using an artist's brush to remove a hinge remnant from a mint stamp done carefully applying moisture only to the remnant (hence, the artist's brush) is a process that's been around for years. Its nothing new and accepted practice, if someone wants to bother with it. If done carefully, no extra gum is lost.
    As far as any hinge removal is concerned, there's more than one way to skin that cat. Just because people have different methods than yours, doesn't make them wrong...or you right...or 'insane' as you label them (hence, the arrogant nincompoop).
    Done with you. Rant and rave all you want, I'll only laugh while your blood pressure goes up. Maybe a swift kick to your cat will help?
  • Dekornfeld you will never have the knowledge or experience I have. You can cry & whine all you like but the next intelligent thing you say will be your first. You are one of these idiots that actually believe the drivel you spout. I am not just a seller but a collector with collections that would make you drool. Not that you aren't already!!!! Now I'm done with you!!
  • edited February 7 3 LikesVote Down
    A PHILATELIC DUMPSTER FIRE has evolved here...a first, over unhinging stamps, of all things. Next it will be about "how to peel an apple". download
  • Wow...I didn't realize this question would warrant such passionate responses. As far as "never heard a more ridiculous thing"...I guess you don't watch the news, or maybe you just haven't been around very long, as every day I am inundated with the stories of people who really do much more ridiculous things. Sure, some hinges just pop right off and pulling them from the page and stamp is pretty easy. If only all were like that, most of the ones I have dealt with lately are very stubborn. Some of the albums I am pulling from are 40-50 years old and lord only knows what kind of super glue some of them were using back then because it seems like the hinge has become one with the stamp and no amount of pulling or prying can even get an edge up without creating a thin or tearing the stamp. Lots of those stamps are pretty common and I generally don't worry too much about them. But sometimes you just don't know what the value of the stamp is until you have removed it to do the necessary checks. It would be a tragedy to just rip a hinge from a 1c W-F Franklin thinking it was just a common when in fact it might be something much more uncommon.

    Thanks to all for your feedback and input, there were some great ideas and methods for hinge removal, some of which I am sure I will test.
  • Anyone tried a sweat box,it removes paper adherence on mint & at least leaves some of the gum behind & for used stamps perfect,I have had the odd good old stamp with 5 or 6 hinges attached,try removing those with a paint brush
  • Honestly Rod I don't know how you extrapulated what is in the news from a discussion of removing stamp hinges. I'm guessing you're not the sharpest tool in the shed. The ridiculous part of this in my opinion is how in the world you came up with this idea in the first place. Gee you think it could be possible for the knife to slip and cut the stamp accidentally???? As I said before you peel the hinge from the stamp you don't just rip it off. This should be done carefully. You are doing alot of extra work that you don't need to. I
    I sell mostly pre 1940 so I deal with many stamps that have been on a pages for many years & I really don't have too many problems. Occasionally but rarely. Hey do as you like I think it is irregular.
    Micheal , why would you not just soak these stamps off. A sweat box seems to be a bit much dosn't it??
  • Mathis, what I find remarquable is that to seem to be under the impression that only you way is the right way and anybody who says otherwise must be an idiot. Duly noted!
    I have been breaking down collections for exactly 61 years and I know I am taking a risk when I say that there are more than one way only.
  • Play nice, boys!
  • Lafrance , you must not have finished 8th grade with the spelling and use of words in your post. Dekornfeld is an idiot (ever read his posts?). I never called the originator of this post anything but did ask how he learned this technique. I believe your reading comprehension is extremely lacking. Also checked on you & you haven't been breaking down collections for 61 years.
  • edited February 8 4 LikesVote Down
    This has become so very childish. Some of you ought to be embarrassed but I think you are quite hopeless that way. Why not try to simply grow up and quit acting like squabbling little brats? It is really quite disgusting.
  • From Rod's original post: "It seems a shame to remove OG, but they are used."
    My question, not just to Rod, is: Does the presence of adhesive on a used stamp add or subtract any value or importance?
  • Francois - don't let the message board moron annoy you. He's too stupid to realize French is your first language. Besides, he's too stupid to spell a simple word like extrapolated (he writes 'extrapulated'). My dog has bowel movements with greater cognitive abilities than Mathis !
  • edited February 8 4 LikesVote Down
    That may be Wayne, but I don't see letting a message board troll / bully spew his venom without giving him what for. I see no reason to let him get away with insults, lies, and arrogance. And besides, taking a break from stamps....we need something fun to do LOL.
  • The only message board troll / bully is you Dekornfeld. You do it all the time and I won't tolerate it for 30 seconds. So back at you moron. You are awfully brave sitting behind your keyboard. I'd bet you were the kid that had his lunch money stolen in school and that is why you are what you are. You just can't understand normal thinking. So take your ball & GO HOME. Kitty
  • Living inside that empty head of yours is immensely gratifying HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
  • As I said before , the next intelligent thought you have DEFINATLEY will be your first. Everyone can now see what a jerk you really are. Take your artists brush and you can put it in that special place where only you know where it is. This whole thing shows how little brainpower if any you have.
  • Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we can now either take the word of an International Gold Medal level exhibitor and former APS President, or a feckless, miserable old hack who thinks he knows anything about stamp collecting and is nothing more than a Don Quixote wannabee.
    By the way, if I put the brush there, wouldn't it just poke you in the eye?
  • George,
    I fear you've read Don Quixote wrong. Despite the futility of his actions, his heart was always in the right place. He is truly an heroic, chivalrous figure in an unwinnable struggle. He was not a mere fool and blowhard.
This discussion has been closed.