Damn unsoakable stamps (or if you can’t soak them… )

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I felt somewhat sad after reading the latest “Editors Forum” column at Scotts Stamp Monthly. The topic of post was non-soakable stamps, or more precisely what do to with them. I acknowledge the column was written mainly US stamp collectors in mind, but the suggested solution (collect non-soakable issues on covers) is IMHO the “wrong” one.

The situation itself is nothing new. Stamp collectors want it one way, postal officers the other way. This battle of titans has clashed several times (with quality of cancels/postmarks, number of new issues etc). And every time the collectors have lost the battle … IMO the more important question is if general stamp collecting should once again adapt to match the new situation as suggested by editor of Scott?

A superb quality example of recent non-soakable US postage stamps

A superb quality example of recent non-soakable US postage stamps


As a stamp collector I admit that non-soakable items don’t fit in at all… Saving them on cut piece is IMHO not a reasonable option as stamp albums, stockbooks etc. were never designed to include large amounts of items that are 2-5 thicker than normal stamps. The thought of ending up with a pile of blown up stamp albums or stockbooks is more than unpleasing… And then there’s always the question of aesthetics and visual looks. Personally I have no objections mixing soaked and cut items, but I admit there is a risk of very messy looking output.

The other route is saving non-soakable items on complete covers. If I was interested of postal history, then I would have no objections with this. But as a stamp collector I simply want to have a collection of different stamps – nothing more, nothing less. I don’t even want to start thinking how I would store or organize thousands of worldwide covers for non-soakable issues.

My solution to problem is something You will never find in printed (commercial) stamp magazines… Don’t collect the non-soakable ones if they make you feel bad. Your collection may end up being non-complete, but which is more important – a complete collection you don’t like looking at, or a non-complete one you love and cherish with every sight?

But that’s just my 2 cents… What’s your opinion?

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