American Philatelic Society

Preservation and Care of Philatelic Material

While postage stamps are small and relatively easy to store, like any other paper product, proper care is necessary for long term preservation. The files here address major issues and identify sources for additional information and a list of archival suppliers. All files are in .pdf format.

A Brief History of Paper Manufacturing
Composition of the Postage Stamp and Factors Involved in the Removal of Stamp from Paper
The Mechanism of Paper Deterioration
Environmental Factors Affecting Stamps and Covers
A Short List of Items to Avoid
Proper Handling of Stamps and Covers
Books: Binding, Inks, and Storage
Dry Cleaning of Stamps and Covers
Wet Cleaning of Stamps and Covers
Dealing with Scotch Tape
Chemically Altered Stamps
Sizing, Toning paper, and Determination of Paper Grain
Glue Sticks
Stick Notes ("Post It" Notes)
Taggants and Chemical Additives
Tagging Colors Varieties, and Tagging Changes Over Time
Stamp Hinges
Stock Sheets
Corner Mounts and Stamp Mounts
Dry Mounting
Watermark Detectors
Photographic Materials and Albums
Paper and Wax Seals
Archival Suppliers
Available Publications and Bibliography


This material was originally designed and written by the late Russell V. Skavaril, past Chairman of this committee. Russ held a PhD. Degree and was Professor Emeritus at the Ohio State University

Much of the referenced films and philatelic materials testing was performed and published in the American Philatelist by Dr. William Souder, a former member of this committee. We are very grateful for his work that refutes many previously held opinions.

We also wish to express our thanks to the following individuals for the assistance and/or information provided in connection with this project: Wesley L. Boomgaarden, Brian Nelson Burford, Richard A. Colberg, James N. Francis, Thomas J. Homa, Gini Horn, John M. Hotchner, Azeezaly S. Jaffer, John Jonus, Janet R. Klug, Robert E. Lamb, Michael Rogers, Thomas O. Taylor, Ann M. Triggle, Lois Evans-de Violini, and Kathleen Wunderly.

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