The Arthur Salm Foundation
The Salm Foundation was formed by the Collectors Club of Chicago in March 1991 to conduct research on philatelic products. Funding was donated by the Salm family with the CCC providing a matching grant. Officers, who served without compensation, are Lester Winick, president; Bernard Hennig, Vice President; Jacob Bard, Secretary; and Raymond Vogel, Treasurer.
The Foundation purchased commercial philatelic products manufactured around the world that are sold in the United States. These materials were submitted to a professional commercial laboratory for testing. One problem has been that stamp collectors have found that their album pages show serious deterioration due to acidic conditions present in the paper. This acidic codnition has been found to “migrate” to the postage stamp or cover attached to the page. Paper with low acidity or manufactured under neutral or alkaline conditions, can be expected to contribute signifcantly to the life of the pages and mounted philatelic material.
The CCC published a series of six pamphlets on a variety of philatelic products using an independent laboratory to do the testing. Results included the name and publisher of each item as well as a description. Testing was quite extensive and included album pages, stamp hinges, stock books, corners, glassine envelopes, stamped envelopes, computer paper for printing pages, false stamps, pressure sensitive self-adhesive U.S. stamps, and more. 146 commercial products were tested, not including the various fakes stamps specified in the reports.
More than 4,000 of these reports were distributed throughout the world, and the CCC is proud to state that not a single product was challenged. We did have one challenge from a distributor who threatened to sue the CCC. We asked for a copy of his lab test but he had none. We sent him a copy of our lab test to show to his manufacturer. Very sheepishly, he called to apologize and said that the CCC report was correct.
The six reports are available for a legal or large size self-addressed envelope with $1.06 postage affixed. Send your requests to: Collectors Club of Chicago, 1029 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60610-2803. Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery.
Report Number 2
Paper Used for Philatelic Supplies;
Report No.2 includes a variety of philatelic paper products that are manufactured and sold in other nations. These are included as part of our cooperative program with the International Federation of Philately (FIP) whereby the Foundation will test materials for stamp federations throughout the world at the Foundation's expense. Since this program was first introduced at an international exhibition in November, 1991, we expect this aspect of our testing to grow within the next few years.
Non-Foundation reports have shown that the paper usually used in the manufacture of actual postage stamps by various worldwide postal administrations are highly acidic. If this acidic stamp is mounted on an alkaline album page (one that has a pH of 7.0 or more), the acid in the stamp may migrate to the page. This depends on a number of factors such as degree of acidity, humidity of storage conditions, type of mount, gum, ink, taggants and other materials put in the stamp paper. If the album page is acidic (a pH below 7.0) then the acid from the page may migrate to the stamp mounted on the page. Again, the degree and time span may vary. Auction firms have advised us of the great number of stamps and covers ruined by acidic materials used to mount these items.
Alkaline Reserve is the amount of alkaline buffer present in the paper. This is usually expressed as a percent of calcium carbonate. This maintains the alkalinity of the paper since the acidity causes degradation.
We are pleased that more paper mills are offering alkaline paper since the last report was published. Also many states are passing laws requiring that non-acidic paper be used on all government documents.
View results in table format
The Board of the Arthur Salm Foundation realizes that stamp hinges are one of the products most used by stamp collectors. When the results were first received, we had a second test done on popular hinges to verify the results and there was no difference. We could not find a stamp hinge manufactured in the United States that was non-acidic.
One hinge, the Novofold, manufactured in Sweden, was alkaline. In order to understand how one manufacturer could make a glassine hinge that was acid-free, we had the independent laboratory conduct further tests on the Swedish hinge and compare it to one of America's most popular hinges, Fold-O-Hinge. We requested separate tests on the paper and on the adhesive. Here is the lab test procedure:
Prior to testing, the samples were conditioned at standard TAPPI (Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry) temperature of 730F and 50% relative humidity and the requested tests were performed in accordance with standard TAPPI procedures. A cold extraction pH test was prepared from the two samples as normal, using one gram of sample and 70 ml. of distilled water. The mixture was allowed to stand for one hour at room temperature covered with a watch glass. The mixture was stirred three times at intervals to insure total wetting of stamp hinges and solution of the mucilage adhesive.
After one hour, the liquid portion was poured off (decanted) into a second 100 ml. beaker and saved for subsequent pH readings. The remaining stamp hinges were washed three times with 10 ml. portions of distilled water. The washings were discarded. Finally, 70 ml. of distilled water was poured into the beaker with the hinges and allowed to stand for one hour for a pH reading. The pH readings were made on the first wash water and the water extract of the washed hinges. The test results are as follows:
Sample 912-19 912-21
Glassine paper is a smooth, transparent paper manufactured from chemical pulps which have been heavily machined. This paper is grease proof and when waxed is practically impervious to air and vapors. Sample 912-21 (Novofold) is a transparent glassine type paper. Under normal manufacturing conditions, this paper should be slightly acidic but it appears that the paper is manufactured by some type of alkaline process.
On the other hand, Sample 912-19 (Fold-O-Hinge) is a semi-glassine, parchment type paper which has not been subjected to as much machining as a true glassine. Parchment type papers of this type are less transparent than glassine and have a white opaque color.
Both adhesives were tested in the laboratory and found to be starch-based adhesives.
There is no reason why an acid-free hinge cannot be manufactured in the U.S. The Arthur Salm Foundation is not a research group, but only tests products that are already on the market. We offer this data in the hope that some manufacturer will read it and produce an alkaline hinge for the benefit of everyone.
The following test procedure was used to determine the taste, peelability and adhesion of stamp hinges. Prior to testing, the samples were conditioned at standard TAPPI temperature of 730F and 50% relative humidity and the tests performed in accordance with standard TAPPI methods.
Thirty hinges were selected at random from each sealed packet of hinges. These were mounted on an alkaline grade stamp album page. The hinges were moistened individually with saliva and mounted manually on the album pages.
At the time of moistening, the taste of the hinges was observed; that is: sweet-satisfactory or bitter or sour-unsatisfactory.
After one week of storage at room temperature and humidity, the hinges were peeled off manually, and observed for ease of removal, completeness of removal and tearing. On the basis of observation, the hinges were rated as follows: Peelability: poor or good and Hinge Strength: Hinge tears or does not tear. If the report reads "10% tear", this indicates that ten percent of the hinges that were affixed to the page tore off without leaving a residue on the album page. Peelable indicates that all the hinges were able to be removed from the album page without a residue.
Due to the variability of adhesive gum on postage stamps, the test was performed on hinges affixed to album pages only and not to stamps.
If pH 7 is neutral, the lower numbers are acidic and the higher numbers are alkaline. It should be noted that pH 4 is ten times more acidic than pH 5 and one hundred more times acidic than pH 6. This is based on figures supplied by the National Bureau of Standards and the most widely used permanent paper standard in the world, ANSI Z39.48. The International Standards Organization is based on this standard, as are the national standards in other countries.