Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"Wide-Tongue" Syndrome

I bought a collection last week that had, among other things, a rather complete set of George VI Gold Coast issues. I was severely disappointed when I got it home and found that about a dozen of the stamps were "stuck down". After soaking them off (they were mint copies, and nothing else worked, not even a sweat-box), I found that most of them were also extremely faulty. One came apart in several pieces. I managed to salvage about 3/4 of the collection, but the loss of the high values was extremely disappointing.

There were two culprits at work here. The first was that the stamps were hinged to an old self-stick photo album. I've seen collections like this before, and expected to lose a few stamps in trying to get them loose. I do know a few 'tricks', so the loss was minimal. There was also sufficient duplication for most of the stamps to make the loss of a couple of stamps unimportant. The second problem, however, was much worse - it's what I call "Wide Tongue" Syndrome.

I've learned from sad experience that an over-wet hinge will stick on both sides when put onto a gummed stamp. This includes CTO copies as well as mint, and even a few used copies that retain some of their gum. I've also learned that to properly moisten a hinge, I slide my thumbnail beneath the hinge, lifting it from the stamp. Failing to lift the hinge before moistening it leads to the kind of damage inherent with "wide-tongue" syndrome. Some people lick more than the hinge, especially at the top, and essentially glue the stamp to the album page. It's difficult to remove stamps stuck down in this manner without causing a thin, or without losing at least some of the gum.

I 'lost' four stamps. I managed to remove and mount the 1928 Christiansborg Castle set to the 2-shilling, the complete Silver Jubilee issue, the higher values of the first George VI definitive set, the Silver Wedding anniversary set, and a few others. I lost the 5-shilling Christiansborg stamp (that's the one that came apart), one of the 1937 Coronation issues, one of the UPU lower values, and the mint 10-shilling from the second George VI issue. The latter is the only one there wasn't duplication of.


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