Adhering Gumless Stamps

Hi Friends!

I’ve recently invested in older stamps. Some of the stamps are so old that the gum on them is either non-existent or insufficient in sticking the stamp.

How do you adhere stamps when the gum is gone/messed up?

I’ve been using crafters tape. It works great to stick the stamp, but it is a sticky process. I’m looking for other methods to try.


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Glue stick.

Other brands are available. :grinning:

I use glue stick for sticking on long Asian/non-English addresses.


I also use a glue stick. It seems to work well. Once I just used clear tape on top and I think Canada Post sent it back to me… Turns out you can’t do that!?!

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Another vote for glue sticks. Almost all of the stamps I use are self-stick, so it’s more of an issue on cards I receive. I’ll often glue down stamps when the corners get loose through the trip.

Particular love for Muji’s glue sticks:


Glue tape! Scrapbooker’s glue tape.

Glue stick in China

I guess with the tape on top it wasn’t possible to cancel the stamps?


I’m not adding much value here, but yes I do use a glue stick too. It’s the simplest way for me I guess.

I think that’s why… I learned my lesson and started using a glue stick!

I went to a hardware shop this afternoon and got a gluestick for some stamps I’m ordering next week

Anyone here use Waterbrushes or Waterpens for curing stamps?

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Most of the gumless stamps I have seen for sale here are used stamps that for some reason don’t have cancellation marks and have been steamed off. It is not legal to use them for postage, although I am sure some people do. To be honest, I am surprised that postal-fresh gumless stamps are even available in other countries!

When I lived in the U.S. I could get postal-fresh stamps from decades ago at really good prices, and the gum was always intact and they stuck well, I never needed a glue stick.


I have some older stamps from Germany that need some additional glue to keep in place (depending on the surface of the card). They don’t hold fine on those glossy surfaces any longer, but there is still gum. (And I even have some surfaces where the brand new stamps won’t hold… I got back several envelopes as the postage fell off :roll_eyes:).

I use Maxi Power Tape Roller byTombow.

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And they don’t stick to washi or masking tape very well. I had that not too long ago. The stamps simply fell of as I bent the cards just a little. In this case I had to secure them with a little glue aswell.

That’s interesting, how to differentiate between unused and used without cancellation then? I wouldn’t want to get scammed when buying stamps advertised as unused.

There’s infact a high risk to get scammed when buying those stamps e. g. at eBay.

I don’t remember exactly but I think there was a similar discussion about that just a few weeks ago somewhere in the forum. :thinking:

Maybe I find it later…

I still have some old stamps from the years before Euro - they aren’t valid anymore (because of the missing €-print) and you see clearly that they are … old … but all of them still have the gum though some (really few) do not stick very good on paper (I use them for decoration now).

And like @_Hawkwind_ and @Cassiopheia mentioned before, some brand new valid stamps do not stick very good on some surfaces. Then I have to use a Tape Roller every now and then (and for the next card I stick the tape in another corner). But this has nothing to do with the gum.

As long as it’s not official that a certain country has also valid postal-fresh gumless stamps (maybe there are countries though I’m really not sure if it’s true…) I would never ever use them.

Edit: you can feel the difference if you touch a brand new stamp and a used stamp which was steamed off from the paper. It’s hard to explain, but you will definitely feel the difference.


The easiest way to not get scammed: Don’t buy stamps from eBay! Only buy them at the post office or from the post’s online shop.

It is difficult to tell from a photo if an uncancelled stamp was previously used and later soaked or steamed off. Usually previously used stamps are a bit wavy, crinkled and dull. Hard to explain.


When I have looked on eBay since moving to Germany I have often seen gumless stamps advertised as “gumless” and also “uncancelled.” Not “weak gum” or “postally fresh (uncirculated)” or anything like that. The sellers often also say things like “for collectors” I think so they will not be liable to prosecution, but it seems like an open secret that they are selling them for re-use.

In the U.S. it is easy to get loads of postally fresh low-value vintage stamps really cheap but here…forget it. I have bought collections marked “postally fresh” (which means that yes, they have gum and are uncirculated), and have not been disappointed, but I pay very close to face value for them, if not face value itself.

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Many legitimate stamp dealers in the USA dispose of excess inventory by selling them off as “postage” for less than the postal value. If you buy from a legit dealer, the stamps should be perfectly valid. No guarantee, but check if the dealer is a member of a professional organization like APS or ASDA. Shady dealers rarely are. There are a lot of bogus stamps out there and I would never buy anything that is gumless. You just never know…

Best bet: buy direct from your postal service or authorized third party. Especially current issue stamps. Many of the ones sold outside of authorized channels are counterfeit.