American Philatelic Society

Soaking Stamps

Why would you soak a stamp? Soaking a stamp removes the stamp from envelope. Soaking stamps is fast and easy. Here’s how:

  1. Cut the envelope
    Trim the paper from around the stamp, but be careful not to cut the stamps.
  2. Sort them
    Pull out any brightly covered envelopes (such as red or blue). Lay these aside to soak separately — the color may run and spoil the other stamps.
  3. Soak them
    Place the stamps, face side up, in a few inches of lukewarm water. If you are soaking alot of stamps, change the water after two or three batches.
  4. Separate from backing
    After a few minutes, the stamps begin to float free from the paper. Be patient and do not try to pull the stamp free from the paper before it is ready, as you may end up tearing it.
  5. Rinse them
    Rinse the back of the stamp gently in fresh water to make sure all the glue is off. Place the stamps between two paper towels and put a book on top of them to prevent curling. Leave the stamps to dry overnight.

Now, you are ready to sort your stamps!

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