Hold the Tape!


October 03, 2016 1 Comment

What is it with stamp dealers and tape?

You know what I’m talking about, right? You get a medium sized envelope in the mail that’s plastered with old USA stamps. But there’s also a stretch of elastic tape that seals every millimeter of the envelope flap. So much so that you can’t find any opening to slide in a letter opener. You then look at the bottom of the envelope to see if you can open the “factory sealed” side, only to realize that this, too, is covered with tape.

Now you need to figure out how to open this without damaging the contents. You use a Stanley knife, make a small cut (hoping you don’t cut what’s inside) and now you can use your letter opener. In the meantime, forget about using those old USA stamps - they’re now destroyed.

After removing the contents, you realized that there is another envelope inside that is also plastered with tape. You repeat the above steps, but now with a bit more irritation.

Inside that envelope is a glassine filled with stamps, but wait… it’s taped to a hard piece of cardboard. You meticulously cut away the tape with the Stanley knife and finally extract your stamps. Or if you have less patience, you rip open the glassine and in the process tear some of your stamps.

Has this ever happened to you? I’ve done this many times; more times than I’d like to admit.

So, what’s with the tape? Why can’t dealers either use less or think of a safer way to mail stamps? I’ve sold some stamps on eBay in the past and all I did was put stamps in a glassine and tape the top and bottom middle sections to a piece of cardboard that’s slightly smaller than the envelope. The glassine was easily removed simply by lifting one of the two loose ends. After putting the cardboard with the stamps in the envelope, all I did was close it and drop it in the mail. The envelope manufacturer had the foresight to provide a water activated sealing flap. This invention is really amazing; when you wet the flap and close it, the envelope is sealed! You can’t open it without a letter opener or ripping it apart. And you don’t need one bit of tape!

Stamp dealers of the world, listen up! I know you want to protect the contents, but let’s be a bit more reasonable. There’s an ancient Greek saying: “Pan metron ariston,” meaning, “all good things in moderation.”



1 Response

James E Capelle
James E Capelle

February 28, 2017

I use a removable resealable scotch type tape anywhere near glassines. I fold back onto itself a little 1/2" pull tab and write on it “Pull” with an arrow showing which direction to head to. If I am mailing stamps to a country where English is not spoken, I look up Google translator for the main language and use that on the tab.
Yes, I am guilty of using strong, clear packing tape on flaps. How many #10 envelopes come to you house half open? I also use a Tyvek 6″×9″ envelopes when I can and still use tape.

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