Notes from the Past

Original Gum vs. Mint Never Hinged

The description, "o.g.," in stamp collecting means original gum as added to the stamp before its sale in the post office.  Some new collectors are alarmed at the use of hinges to mount stamps in albums as has been done for over woo years by collectors everywhere.  They mistakenly believe that this best of all ways to mount stamps is injurious to the stamp.

Well, if the backs of stamps are the side to be displayed, it must be admitted that hinges generally do make a mark on gum.  But the gum is still original even thought shows that it has been hinged.

Gum may be (and frequently is) replaced or altered by those who seek to freshen up their stamps.  If the job is well done, even experts cannot tell the difference.  So, I'd rather have a lightly hinged stamp, if it's over thirty years old, than a "never hinged" one, because there is a chance that the never hinged stamp is the possessor of gum that never saw the inside of a post office.

Paying through the nose for "mint" -- and that is what the gum fanatics are doing in their mania for never hinged -- and then getting gum that was in a bottle a short while before, strikes me as an even wilder way to squander money than going to the races.

This piece isn't likely to convert the "gum collectors," but at least it reiterates the basic rule that o.g. must not be construed as meaning never hinged.  It's a more honest statement of condition than many "never hinged" stamps could ever claim.

- Earl P. L. Apfelbaum
The Best of Apfelbaum's Corner
Dorrance and Co., 1983
Posted August 20, 2000

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