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Cut Squares, General Identification Help

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Pillar Of The Community
United States
929 Posts
Posted 09/07/2012   01:26 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add spain_1850 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
My first official question here:

Ok, like a lot of general US collectors, I have accumulated a lot of oddball items that just get stuffed into envelopes and set aside, waiting for that right moment to pull them out and do something with them. Well, the time is now. I've got about 1000 or so cut squares that I would like to work on and a lot of empty spaces in my National album.

I've never really looked at these or gone through them or even looked at the catalog, so I had no idea how many different dies and papers are involved.

I tried just pulling a couple out of the envelope at random just to see if I could follow Scott's and i.d. them. No luck.

This is just going to be plain hard and that pile is NOT going to go down very fast.

I decided to try a different approach, a more systematic one.

Here is what I did:

1 - Separate, into piles, all with like designs, without regards to paper, die or denomination differences.
2 - Take each of those piles and separate them into their different denominations.

Now we're getting somewhere!

3 - From there I could pick out the obvious papers, like the blues and whites.

So that's where I stand. I can't tell "fawn" from "manilla" from "buff" from "cream". I can kind of seperate them into piles of paper that sort of look alike, but figuring out the identity of them will be tough for me.

Are there any sites on the web that show, in color, examples of the different paper colors?

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Pillar Of The Community
552 Posts
Posted 09/07/2012   06:54 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ThomasGalloway to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If you have done a good job of making your piles, most of the confusing color comparisons (buff v. cream, e.g.) won't exist, as each contract (this is where designs change, as well as specifications from the govt to the envelope contractor re papers to use) will typically only use one name for a paper color.

Also remember, manila is a paper quality, not a color. Manila varies widely in color.

As always, there are exceptions. But, this makes the hobby interesting, no?

If you have specific questions, you are encouraged to post examples here for others to weigh in on.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
929 Posts
Posted 09/08/2012   01:57 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add spain_1850 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
OK, before I get too deep into my piles o'squares I've decided to go through what I have in the album already. And as I suspected there are probably many mis-identified ones mounted already. So here we go:





Not sure if the colors will come across since I have a cheapo scanner. One thing I found is that I had several in my album that had very similar paper colors, but I mounted them in different spots, such as the first one in the scan. It appears to be a tad lighter than in real life, but I had this one in a spot designated for "amber" paper and another with similar paper in a spot for a "buff" example. It's almost a light yellow color.

the last one in the second row is almost a pinkish tint.

So, any thoughts on these examples?

If I can determine these I can take care of a lot of the others using these as comparison examples.
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Pillar Of The Community
552 Posts
Posted 09/08/2012   08:41 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ThomasGalloway to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
As you say, a lot depends on the scanner and attending color management software. Here's my guess: top row: amber, manila, white; second row: orange, fawn, oriental buff.

I collect U311 and its siblings, so I can provide a sample of each color for that issue:

From left to right: white, amber, oriental buff, blue, manila, amber manila (2)

I don't believe you can reliably identify any of these, except or. buff and blue, without physically holding them in your hands. It all depends on the quality of the paper. White and amber are high quality, therefore smooth and stiff to the feel. The manilas are rough and usually have lighter weight paper. I included two amber manilas to give an example of the range of color.

And then there is the wrapper, always in manila:

If you have the entire, its easy. With a cut square you can look at the laid lines. Wrappers will be horizontal laid, envelopes diagonal. You can almost make the call with that. One variety of amber manila is known with examples in HL.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
929 Posts
Posted 09/09/2012   7:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add spain_1850 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you for the fine example scan, it will be of tremendous help! I thin I'll be able to sit down tonight and whittle down some of them piles.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1512 Posts
Posted 09/09/2012   7:40 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bfranton to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If you look at the recent post for "is this a U84 cover" you'll see some more paper examples.

Fawn is exactly that... the tan color of a baby deer without the spots.

Amber can be "gold" to quite dark / bright "gold".

Use the search feature at the top and look for cut squares and postal stationary. I too have a lot and knew nothing. The guys here are very generous at sharing info. :)

And to the forum.

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Pillar Of The Community
552 Posts
Posted 09/09/2012   8:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ThomasGalloway to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A few more. . . .

Top row: buff, fawn, orange (2)
Bottom row: white, white (war paper), manila, brown

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Pillar Of The Community
United States
929 Posts
Posted 09/09/2012   9:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add spain_1850 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
bfranton - Than you, I'll check it out.

Thomas - Those are great! This is actually getting fun. Amazingly, some of the ones I posted a scan to I actually had right in my album. I must have guessed right on a particular day.

Now, another question. But this time about types.
The one in my scan that is identified as manila (with the Louisville, KY postmark) I believe is a type U72 (high catalog). I probably wouldn't even ask, but I am having trouble telling the difference between U71 and 72. Ok, now someone can school me on identifying these.
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Bedrock Of The Community
United States
12128 Posts
Posted 09/09/2012   9:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wt1 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I am having trouble telling the difference between U71 and 72


You'd need a much more detailed scan of the indicia to identify the subtle differences between a U71 and U72 type of stamped envelope. The catalog defines the differences as follows:



(I suspect there is a specialty catalog on postal stationery issues that will define these differences in even more detail.)
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Bedrock Of The Community
United States
12128 Posts
Posted 09/09/2012   10:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wt1 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I took ThomasGalloway's first scan on U311's and labeled each color. Makes for a nice simple graphic that can be used as a basic reference:

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Pillar Of The Community
552 Posts
Posted 09/10/2012   06:39 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ThomasGalloway to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with wt1, we need a scan wih the knob turned up to 11.

And even with that, a good strike is needed to see the four little parallel lines (hair and ear) that differentiate U318 (et al) from U311 (et al). I think a lot of type U72's get lumped in with U71's simply because they are too weak to see the minor detail.

Minor rant: I hate it that Scott uses the same numbering style for illustrations (U71, U72) as it does for the actual Scott number (U311, U318). If someone gives you a U-number out of the blue, you don't which they are referring to.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1512 Posts
Posted 09/10/2012   08:36 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bfranton to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The "Cataloge of the 20th Centry Stamped Envelopes and Wrappers of the United States" compiled and revised by Prescott Holden Thorp is still considered to be one of the best definatives on the subject. Unfortunately it is in black and white, with the last publication date I've got found, the 1st Edition published in 1968.

Almost everyone seems to agree this is a niche which had it's glory years sometime ago, and many of the original experts are gone.

If there is a better catalog with current pricing, I too, would like to know.

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Pillar Of The Community
552 Posts
Posted 09/10/2012   1:13 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ThomasGalloway to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
". . . considered to be one of the best . . ."

Yes, and especially it's predecessor, the Thorp Century Edition (1954).

The United Postal Stationery Society purchased the rights to the Thorp numbering system and has produced all the U.S. envelope catalogs since. The numbering system has since been changed to match the Scott catalog organization at the high level.

The latest issue of the 19th Century envelopes was issued this year, and the 20th/21st Century envelopes were published last year. Both are in color, much improved since Thorp's days and are available at:

http://www.upss.org/code/publications.php

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Pillar Of The Community
United States
929 Posts
Posted 09/10/2012   3:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add spain_1850 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm not sure how deep I'll get into cut squares, so buying specialist literature is probably not for me. Just looking at threads here and the examples people have shown has been a world of help. I've worked through all the general types shown in my original scan (I didn't have all that many of those).

Now I've moved on to those that resemble the one in ThomasGalloway's avatar. Got a few hundred of these, mostly just 1c, 1.5c, 2c and 3c. Most of these are on white paper, then blue and an occasional amber and 1 oriental buff. So, now it's on to die identification.

One thing I'm seeing from these topics is that Scott's specialized catalog is not that great for these, but that's what I have and it'll probably have to do for now.

So, with the 9 dies shown in Scott's, I'm trying to come up with a system to eliminate obvious ones and whittle down the piles. Die 9 seems to be the most obvious to me, so they are the first ones to separate out, then I just go from there, leaving a small pile of examples that MIGHT be 1 of 2 or 3 dies.

Is there a better way to do this? What's the best way to measure the bust? Some I notice seem to be either overinked or underinked making the bust measurement more of a challenge. Any tips?
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Pillar Of The Community
552 Posts
Posted 09/10/2012   7:41 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ThomasGalloway to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Wow, I never had to come at this from the cut square perspective. Having the entire can provide very useful clues. I don't know, you're just going to have to measure some things.

The die (1cent, 2cent, 3cent) that has the narrow oval "C" in CENT, as well as "U", "O", and "G", is indeed the easiest.

I have a 7x loupe with a lenticle that is marked out in .1mm. Very handy. Doesn't sound like you would be into something like that if you are not up to getting a UPSS catalog.

How about something free? There is a software package called Photofiltre (there is also a pay version, but I have used the free one for years - perfectly adequate for envelope collecting). This tool (essentially a primative - and free- version of Photoshop) has extensions you can add. One is a measurement tool. Scan the indicium and let Photofiltre tell you how large the head is. Works great. I use it all the time.

Photofiltre:
http://photofiltre.free.fr/frames_en.htm
Add-ons:
http://www.photofiltre-studio.com/p...ugins-en.htm

I see the version now offered is later then the one I use. Will have to upgrade.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
929 Posts
Posted 09/18/2012   11:17 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add spain_1850 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Alright, been working on my piles off and on over the last week or so referencing this thread here and there. I've actually been able to make some sense out of things. Funny how when you have a large pile of seemingly similar items, and you look at enough of them, you start to become more familiar with them.

Anyway, been working on 3c purples (like in the picture below). Now, before I even looked at my Scott catalog, I decided to just see if I could separate the papers without being influenced by Scott's.

I ended up with a LARGE pile of white, a pretty big pile of blue, a small pile of amber and about 1/2 dozen or so of some that just seemed odd.

I n the scan below I have an example of white, blue and amber (top row), and the 4 on the bottom....I don't know.




At first, my thought was manilla, because the quality of the paper is "different" than any of the others. It is a more soft paper and the back has very slight glaze to it.

Then I looked in the catalog and see that there is no manilla listed for the 3c purples, only white, blue, amber and oriental buff. One thing that strikes me is the shade of purple compared to the others, it's just weird.

Is it oriental buff?

Actually, looking at his thread again, maybe it's the white (war paper)?

On another note, I've noticed my vintage National album is woefully inadequate on cut square coverage. There is no provisions for the various paper/die combinations, so I will probably be making my own pages to allow spaces for all the varieties.
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