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Stamps (Philately)/How to retain value of stamps/panes/sheets

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Question
Hi,
We love stamps, but we don't know much about keeping them. We've been given a large collection to add to our meager one, and are concerned about caring for them. Do we keep the complete sheets intact, or, since there are two of us, can we split them? If so, how do we not diminish the value. Someone said we need the numbers on the sides of the sheets.
We also have some that are just four of the same stamp together. Is it allright to fold these so that they are two and two and fit in a small plastic sleeve.

Is it allright to keep the stamps in plastic sleeves...like for baseball cards, 8x11 paper and photos.
Thank you!

Answer
Hello CJ,

Thanks for your question.

The great thing about this hobby is that there are no hard and fast rules.  Collect for enjoyment before you collect for profit, I always say.    If you have sheets of stamps, try to keep them in tact for the best value.  Check to see what they are worth in a Scotts catalogue.  If they are considered as commons, then I would say go ahead and separate and divide between the two of you.  

The numbers on the sides of the sheets are there for printing purposes. When you her the term "plate block", the stamps must have that number on the side.  Plate blocks can be a fun way to collect and organize stamps today.  Having just the four stamps together is nice but you definitely need that plate number.

As for folding sheets of stamps, I strongly suggest not doing that.  Humidity in the air may have the stamps stick to themselves and make them virtually worthless. Storing the stamps is easy. You can store them in glassine envelopes or acid free plastic sleeves--both are available at stamp supply companies on line.  

I suggest going to your local library and check out some boos that are geared towards teaching how to really collect stamps for fun and preserving what you have,  Will you make mistakes--sure--everyone (including me)--has lost a valuable stamp or two due to a poor decision or choice in storage.  But, you learn from that--that is another beauty of this hobby!

Good luck and have fun!

Thanks again for your question and let me know if I can be of any more help.

Terry
P.S.  Please remember to rate my reply to your inquiry.  Appreciate it.  

Stamps (Philately)

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Terry Tipton

Expertise

I have been involved in philately for most of my 56 years. I specialize in United States Issues and Postmarks. I have numerous reference sources to research if I do not know the answer. I am organized and promise swift courteous answers. I am a member of the American Philatelic Society. I also have my own philatelic mail order business.

Experience

As I mentioned, I have been collecting philatelic items for most of my 56 years. I have several albums of United States issues (most of them are pages I designed myself) and I also have numerous albums of postmarks sorted and researchhed by state.

Organizations
American Philatelic Society, All Nations Stamp Club and Harford County Stamp Club

Publications
Linn's, All Nations Stamp Club Website, and local Newspaper

Awards and Honors
Board of Directors for Christmas in April 1990-1996

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