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Monday 30 September 2013

"Archive Fresh" for a Cover is the Equivalent of a Fresh Unmounted Mint ** Stamp

From the very beginning, dealers and collectors have tried hard to damage the objects they sell and collect.

Remember that once upon a time, collectors did not use hinges - they licked their mint stamps and stuck them to the album page. Then they discovered hinges - but as new hinges were added, the stamps quickly became stamps with a hump.

Finally, dealers and collectors discovered hingeless mounts and the worst damage to mint stamps came to an end. Tweezers also stopped much of the damage done by sticky fingers, though use tweezers carelessly when taking stamps from a stockbook and you can very quickly damage perforations.

What about covers? From the Archive to the Album page, here are some of the things which dealers and collectors still do to covers:

- They write on them. Dealers pencil their prices and collectors pencil their random thoughts. Arrows are popular. Occasionally, to make the point clear, they use Biro. I have even seen typed descriptions added to covers, saying things like Rare!!  underlined twice
- They take scissors or a knife to them to trim them or cut them to fit the album page
- They carefully pencil in bits of the cancellation which are not clear to the naked eye
- They use hinges to mount their cards and covers
- They have a handstamp made with their name and stamp their name onto the cover, preferably in smudgy violet ink
- They send their covers off to "Experts". They have their own ways of damaging the Object. Italian graffiti artists autograph the cover, as close to the stamp as they can get. Sometimes the whole Italian Team signs.

German Experts traditionally handstamp the cover on the back but sometimes the front - a position also favoured by Italian Experts who use handstamps.

And so on. Thus do items which were once "Archive Fresh" turn into the much-abused covers you find in Dealers' Boxes or optimistic Auctions.

If you insist on Unmounted Mint **  for your stamps then you should also insist on Archive Fresh for your covers.

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