When storing stamps it is very important to use proper handling and care. If the condition of a stamp is altered or damaged, it can cause the value to decrease and the stamp to no longer be able to be traded. One should always wash their hands before handling stamps. Even the tiniest amount of skin oil can leave residue causing the stamp to deteriorate over time.
Stamps, along with their covers, should be handled with “stamp tongs” which come in many shapes and sizes. Some people choose to use rubber gloves, but it is hard to pick up individual stamps without bending the edges, so the tongs are your best option.
There are many options for storing stamps but the following rules should be applied for every type of storage. Make sure that your stamp covers or albums are always stored at constant humidity, as too many humidity changes can cause your stamps to become adhesive, and stick to the covers. Also, you want to make sure the temperature is generally between 55-75°F, if the temperatures are too high, it can cause your albums or covers to break or turn yellow. Avoid keeping your stamp collection in sunlight or direct light for more than 10 minutes, this can cause your collection to fade, and if stored in an album. Make sure to keep all food and drinks away from your stamp collection as any drop can cause damage to your goods.
The many different storage options to put your collection in include:
Plastic sleeves, Polybag sleeves, glassine envelopes, stock cards, stock books, albums, stamp mounts, and stamp hinges. Many of these supplies can be purchased through a professional stamp dealer or experienced collector. Some general rules to follow is when storing in stock books, is to make sure there is never too much pressure on the book, as this can cause the individual stamps to become adhesive. Albums and books should never be overcrowded with too many stamps, they should be stored in the upright position and not flat. When sorting through pages, always sort by flipping slowly and handling the pages at the edges. If storing in plastic sleeves, make sure the stamps are not jammed together.
Following these general rules should help your stamps keep their value, and be easier to trade without losing their value.