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Agents of Stamp Deterioration

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Since dedicated museums have such a diverse collection of stamps, they make use of various preservation techniques that are much needed to protect these historic artifacts. These museums use ‘agents’ to come up with a plan to detect and prevent any damage that can cause harm to the material, age and history of these artifacts. Knowing these standards and agents of deterioration is imperative for private collectors as well so that they can preserve these family treasures for the upcoming generations.

Read below some of the agents of stamp deterioration:

Physical Force

There are multiple ways through which physical force can deteriorate stamps. Some of them are rotation, deformation, stress, shock, vibration and pressure. While physical force is usually caused by day-to-day use, some of them are impacted by accident. Museums prevent stamps from physical force by displaying them in case, in the rear of a barrier and storing them in cabinets. Private collectors can preserve their stamps by placing them in cabinets and areas beyond general reach.


Theft refers to the intentional and willful damage that is caused to stamps as ‘crimes of opportunity’. Most of the museums protect their artifacts by placing them in cases that have high-tech security features. You can take equivalent precautions at home according to the value of stamps that rest in your collection. However, locking up your precious stamps is an easy and reliable means of protecting them against theft and vandalism.


Neglect results from overlooking the artifacts to an extent that the information associated with them gets lost. Some of the commonly misplaced information pertinent to stamps includes names, dates and locations. Another example of neglect is not properly preserving the collection, as a result of which, the collection deteriorates. Museums make it a point to maintain paper and electronic records of every stamp and other artifacts relevant to its history and origin. Likewise, private collectors must also deal with important information associated with stamps to preserve and track their family heirloom.


Fire can cause all sorts of damage to your artifacts. From smoke damage to partial and total loss of stamps, it is extremely important to ensure fire prevention at highest priority possible. Museums have a special fire suppression system that is used to control fire that can breakout at an unanticipated instance. At home, private collectors must have a fire extinguisher in place to prevent their stamp collection from burning down to ashes.


Water deterioration can result from various sources. From natural occurrences to technological hazards and mechanical failures, not keeping up with them can result in your stamp collection being washed out. Amongst the various types of water damages, water leaks and floods are the most common. Water damage can easily warp your stamps and cause tide lines in them. Generally, museums display stamps at least 6 inches off the floor and in cabinets where there are no chances of leak or flood. At home, keep your stamp collection away from all kinds of liquids such as preventing them from water spills and keeping them away from toilets and the kitchen.

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