D-Limonene: Orange Citrus Solvent

Directions for Use in Removal of Self-adhesive Stamps
by Ken Farnik

First, determine that a stamp is a self- adhesive and not water activated (stamps with gum), because this solvent will not work on water activated stamps. Once that is confirmed, check that the stamp is indeed stuck down on paper and not plastic. A different procedure is required for stamps stuck down on plastic (or cardboard). Use a Q tip to wet the paper (envelope) immediately behind the stamp. Wait approximately 30 seconds. Now, gently lift the stamp up with stamp tongs from one of its corners. It should come right off. It is not necessary to discard the paper or envelope on which the stamp was stuck to.

Using the Q tip, apply a little more solvent now to the back of the stamp. You will see the adhesive backing starting to dissolve. Work the Q tip around in a circular motion on the stamp until all the adhesive is dissolved. It will look like a sticky film on the stamp. You can feel it with your finger. Now use a paper towel to gently rub the sticky film off the stamp. Use a sideways motion until all of the film is removed. This may take a few minutes. Check the front of the stamp for any of the sticky film which may have been transferred by use of the paper towel. Using a clean portion of the paper towel, now remove any traces of sticky film from the front of the stamp. There may be a slightly sticky feel to the stamp, both front and back. Do not be concerned by this. Air dry the stamp for 3 days. You will notice an odor of oranges that will dissipate over time. The stamp needs to dry in the open for approximately one week.

Other information: This solvent does not weaken the paper fibers of the stamp as soaking in water will do. Hence, you will find that peeling and cleaning of the stamp is much easier than if the stamp were wet with water. If the stamp is on a plastic envelope (or cardboard), obviously the solvent will not readily soak through from the back, so the Q tip soaked in solvent must be applied from the front. More time must be allowed for this- several minutes. Be patient. Once the stamp is off the plastic, chances are that the adhesive is already dissolved, so just use a paper towel to remove as previously described.

Other stamp uses: Old fashioned “scotch” tape and magic mending tape will also come off. Actual soaking of the stamp might be required. If the tape has already stained the stamp, solvent will not help to remove the stain. In that case, you are on your own.

D-Limonene Food Grade, High Purity, Orange Citrus Solvent 100 % Organic, 100% non toxic

Limonene is a phytochemical which falls in the class of monoterpenes and cyclo terpene. The name Limonene is derived from the citrus fruit i.e., lemon and it is abundantly found in other plant sources like cherries, spearmint, dill, garlic, celery, maize, rosemary, ginger, basil, etc. This phytochemical generally occurs in two optically active forms, l-limonene and d-limonene. The d-limonene is the compound which is responsible for strong smell of oranges.

Are you interested in articles like these? Join our club and receive The Smoky Mountain Philatelist in your email box bi-monthly, six times a year. And if you would like to share your expertise with your fellow stamp collectors, we’re always looking for interesting submissions. Please email the editor here, and thanks!

The Variety Hunter: Case #599a

by Scott Martz

The 599A type II coil stamp is not an uncommon variety. It is highly publicized and illustrated in most catalogs, and with patience most people will find one with some patience and persistence. After seeing a few with your own eyes you will know exactly what to look for.

I have a great story to tell of when I really truly learned to hunt for these. A dealer friend in NY, John Kellas III, gave me an opportunity to search a box of these about 10 years ago. But, this was no ordinary box, it was HUGE. The box was the size of 3 large pillows piled on top of each other. Mostly off paper! We figured over 200,000 stamps. I spent 2 months searching it, and I actually found over 250 of the 599A and 634A Type II stamps in that box. I became very good at finding them at a glance. I was able to keep 20 of those stamps after searching it for John. The 599A and 634A are scarce as that box was 100% unsearched and only about 1 in a 1000 stamps were Type II. The pair of stamps below was not found in this box, but in a collection many years later. I have the many hours of hunting this box, to credit helping me find this in a collection at a Florida show.

But let us discuss what the 599A (and 634A) Type II is. In the photo above the type 1 #599 is on the left, and the 599A is on the right. The 599A has three very bold hairlines. They have significant width to those three hairlines. Many people will mistake a heavily struck or over inked stamp as the actual variety. The trick is to look for true width in those hairlines. Also a line in the right scrolling is bold, as it has distinct width, as compared to the normal, it is a secondary marker to confirm the variety. See illustrations, and compare to the photo of the pair of stamps pictured.

Scott #599 Type I
Normal width hairlines

Because this is a plate variety, all stamps on the same plate do have the variety, why is the stamps picture a pair with one stamp showing the variety and one without? The answer is, that this stamp was printed by the rotary press method, and more than one plate is placed on the drum that does the printing. Where the plates come together, that forms the line that you see. So when 2 different type plates were put on the rotary drum, this very rare variety was born. So this is a variety of a variety. Kind of corny I know, but what can I say, that is who I am.



Scott #599A Type II Strengthened hairlines

In terms of value, this is fun as prices multiply quickly from the plain #599 price. #599 used is a 5 cent stamp, the 599A used is $17. A nice premium for sure, but if you can find a line pair with one #599 and #599A the price jumps to $1000 for a used pair. If these were in MH condition, the #599 is 35 cents, the 599A is $100, and the line pair with one 599 and one 599A is $650. Never hinged jumps to $1250. But this is an excellent example of the normal mint stamp being worth less than the same stamp in used condition. My example has a few short perforations on one stamp, which hurts the value quite a bit, but it is still an extremely difficult piece to find.

Happy Hunting! Scott

Are you interested in articles like these? Join our club and receive The Smoky Mountain Philatelist in your email box bi-monthly, six times a year. And if you would like to share your expertise with your fellow stamp collectors, we’re always looking for interesting submissions. Please email the editor here, and thanks!

Our Next Meeting – July 16, 1:30 pm

Our next meeting will be Sunday at 1:30 pm, July 16, 2017 in the Blue Ridge Room at Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community Center, 1617 Hendersonville Rd. Asheville, NC. This is the regular meeting room.

Stamps start at 1:30, Business at 2;00, Program at 2:30, Still more stamps, ‘till 4:00 AND A lot of members come even earlier at about 1:00.


It’s our auction month!

Our other bi-monthly program is an auction and it is probably one of the best, and spirited, in the state. Here you bid and acquire anything from stamps, covers, sheets, albums and miscellaneous collections of stamps at very reasonable prices. As long as you are a current member, you can bring anything philatelic to the auction for bidding. If you are not sure how it works, please ask Jay, Larry, Stan or myself for guidance and recommendations.

See you there!