Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Rust on Stamps - New Testing of an Old Recipe!

Initial Results Are Staggering

All collectors face the challenge of dealing with rust (known as "rust" when a dealer buys a stamp, and "toning" when a dealer sells a stamp!) on stamps at some stage. 

The preferred, and usually recommended, method of dealing with rust is to throw the stamps away! Almost every blog, forum and dealer site has a discussion how to deal with this problem, and I don't intend to re-hash what has been said hundreds of times and can be found by Googling.

What I do want to do is to present a "teaser" of some current tests using a method described by a gentleman of very senior years. Preliminary tests conducted by a member of the Grumpy Old Men's Club forum (here), have shown remarkable results.

Further testing with modern and multicoloured stamps will be of interest to see if the process works on all issues. It is a wet process, so won't work on mint stamps unless Mint No Gum is an acceptable outcome.

This is Hyderabad SG 43, a very common stamp that is usually found in a poor state

This is the back of the stamp showing rust, and a marker pen addition, which was meant to prove, after testing, that this was the same stamp!

Here is the front of the stamp after testing

....and the back, minus the marker-pen arrow!

At this early stage, I'm wondering if a bleaching process is evident, but as I don't yet know the "recipe", I'm keeping an open mind.

I'll post updates as and when they come to hand


  1. I'd also be curious to know if the paper has been thinned in any way. Results seem quite good.

  2. I'm told that there is minor fibre disturbance, but no more than would be expected with the soaking of any stamp

  3. It is definitly bleeched. The postmark prooves it. You need to look at the dots around the circle of the postmark. what are the odds to have anexact strike with the same ink stains? The pictures are from the same stamp. hence bleeched... Sorry forr my poor english. And a great blog you have here congrads...
    Facebook and delcampe same name if you want to know about me...

  4. Hi Merphila, thanks for your comments, glad you like the blog. The point of the post is that an old method of cleaning rust and dirt off stamps has been rediscovered. It is the same stamp, before and after cleaning. Although I don't know the full story yet, I'm told that bleach isn't involved!

  5. curious now. without any chemical like a bleach how can a rust stain go away? hmmm very interesting.

  6. I'm told there are two chemicals involved and a two-step process. I have an open mind at this stage.

    I'm looking at your Delcampe listings now :)


  7. I still suspect an oxidizing agent. ;-) still, better than throwing them away.

  8. Hi Jim, still anxiously awaiting the results of more tests! I sent him a bunch of South Africa 1935 Silver Jubilees for testing, so I'll be very interested to see the results in the flesh