A Salute to Patriotic Stamps

Collections of U.S. postage stamps reveal a lot about our country's history.

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Stamps are a prolific document of America's history and traditions.

From the first official U.S. government postage stamp of 1847 to those purchased and used today, stamps reflect the heritage, leaders, triumphs, passions, and philosophies of the country.

When using vintage stamps for crafts and decorating, check the value of the stamp before using. Set aside rare, valuable stamps.

Post offices and some crafts supply stores sell a variety of stamps. Or collect used stamps by removing them from envelopes.

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Instructions:

1. To remove stamps, tear or cut off the upper right-hand corner of the envelope. Soak it, stamp side down, in warm water.

2. Once the stamp falls away from the paper, let it soak for a few minutes more to remove any remaining glue on the stamp.

3. Pick up the stamp with tongs and dry it between paper towels.

4. Place it under a heavy book for several hours.

5. If the stamp will not peel away from the paper backing, trim around the stamp using decorative-edge scissors.

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