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Watermarks & Lighter Fluid ???

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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1125 Posts
Posted 03/07/2013   6:10 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add mobilman44 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi,
I have 4 stamps - identical - and two are supposed to have watermarks. I don't have "watermark detecting" fluid per se, but I recalled from my youth that lighter fluid works just fine.

Sooo, I put a couple drops on the stamps, both side, and other than having 4 wet and stinky stamps, nothing happened.

Which leads me to believe there are three possibilities:
- All 4 of the stamps are without watermarks
- The Ronsonol fluid isn't a valid detector
- I screwed up the process

Your comments are greatly appreciated. Ohhh, I will be ordering legitimate detector fluid shortly.....

Thanks,
Mobilman44
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
630 Posts
Posted 03/07/2013   6:40 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add centerstage98 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I just used Ronsonol this morning (based on recommendations from an international forgery detector who gave a seminar a couple years ago) and it works fine. You should just wet the back of the stamps, preferably in a black tray, with just a few drops and the marks should be visible. I stuck mine on a paper towel to dry.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
527 Posts
Posted 03/07/2013   7:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add fredcdobbs to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Don't waste your money on SuperSafe or any other superior watermark fluid. Ronsonol has been around forever and is the go to fluid for watermarks. Most dealers sell Supersafe, but they use Ronsonol, I laugh every time I visit the largest dealer in my area and see the Supersafe on the counter for sale and a can of Ronsonol on the desk behind the counter.... guess they need to keep them Zippo's filled.
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Valued Member
India
186 Posts
Posted 03/07/2013   7:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Mindpsyche to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hmm, I have never used Ronsonol but I have read everywhere that it does the job and at about 25 % of the cost.

In fact just today I picked up my first tray and Wmk Fluid. Yes, I decided to buy the Wmk fluid instead as I am living with my sister and my Niece (Only 2 years old) and it still being the end of winter we can't really keep the windows open for extra ventilation. I'm pretty sure Ronsonol is safe, but just didn't want to chance it with my niece running around (fumes and all you know - I know I'm being paranoid but can't help it)
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Australia
3983 Posts
Posted 03/07/2013   7:24 pm  Show Profile Check KGV Collector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add KGV Collector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Back up of the stamp on a non porous black background and wet with lighter fluid should make the watermark as clear as day.

If your stamps cost more with a watermark and you have purchased them recently I would start asking the seller a lot of questions if you can not find a watermark.

In mass with bulk used dusty old gum buys of Australia KGV's with all 1d reds taken out I soak them for a short period to get the dust and aged gum off them. Then I lie them upside down to dry out and in the drying out process I can clearly see 99.5% of all watermarks.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
527 Posts
Posted 03/07/2013   7:27 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add fredcdobbs to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
CD or DVD lower black section of the case is a great tray, you don't need to float them, just a little dab will do ya.
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Valued Member
United States
100 Posts
Posted 03/07/2013   8:06 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GrandpaJohn to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
When the price of a can of Ronsonol went way up (here anyway) I looked at the ingredients and snagged a quart can of VM&P Naphtha from Lowes for $7.50. Same main ingredient, doesn't hardly smell & works just like Ronsonol, in fact I've reused the Ronsonol can so I get just a tad out at a time. Still, as has been said, I wouldn't use it on expensive stamps and regardless of smell, use it in a well ventilated area. I've had no adverse affects. A quart can will last a really long time.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
700 Posts
Posted 03/07/2013   8:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add new12collector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I just tested "legitimate" watermark detector (G&K) fluid against lighter fluid (Kingsford Charcoal fluid, as I couldn't find anyplace selling Rosonal.)

Aside from a nasty smell I couldn't tell the difference between the two.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1125 Posts
Posted 03/08/2013   06:45 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mobilman44 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you folks!

Well, I got it half right, and now I see (pun intended) the error in my ways.

I had the stamps on a white background, brightly lit. Using the black makes all the difference in the world, and of course the two stamps with the watermark show up.

Thanks again. You guys are great, and this Forum is definitely a one stop fount of knowledge for all things "stamps" !
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Pillar Of The Community
Canada
2277 Posts
Posted 03/08/2013   09:08 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add nitrolures to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm working with a mog large queen that I don't believe is right paper for watermark but has nasty hinge remenants. I hate soaking the gum away so will try ronsonol and see if maybe I can remove hinges without major disturbance. I've checked many MNH with this and gum has ben eft completely fine . I also found that a black backed stamp mount works well as you can leave the clear flap over the top which reduces air bubles and usually shows up things great. All that said I have never used regular fluid and always wondered if it would be better. Going through some ddr issues that are really hard to see and varieties actually call for wmk measurements so its a challenge. I won't say the stuff is good for you but evaporates so fast it would take alot to worry about but safety first and I agree avoid the kids in the area for a bit.
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Valued Member
United States
406 Posts
Posted 03/08/2013   1:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add vacuum man to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
new12collector,

I probably wouldn't use the charcoal starter. Definitely a more aromatic and heavier oil substance and possibly could ruin a stamp.
I like the VM&P and have used it to remove gum off of self adhesive stamps as well. Since I am a camper I have used Coleman stove fuel for watermarking. There seems to me to be no side effects. At least to the stamp. Me thats a different story.
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Valued Member
United States
37 Posts
Posted 03/15/2013   5:16 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Joseph Harris to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I just bought a bottle of Zippo fluid for $1.50 at Giant Eagle for getting unsoakable stamps off paper (which it's also excellent for). I've been having a hell of a time seeing any watermarks on any stamps. I'm looking forward to trying this later.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
515 Posts
Posted 09/29/2013   6:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Newby Stamper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Lighter fluid really works well!! I just tried it to tell the difference an E4 and E5.
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United States
1143 Posts
Posted 09/29/2013   7:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Al E. Gator to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I was at a major stamp show a few months back and showed a stamp to a representative for a major stamp expertizing service. He used lighter fluid to check for a watermark on the stamp. I've used lighter fluid for all the years I've been collecting and its always done its job. That being said, there are some colors, such as orange and yellow that are quite hard to detect watermarks on because of the nature of those colors and how they react in any kind of detecting fluid. Also, single-line watermarks on early U.S. stamps can sometimes be difficult to detect when only a fraction of the watermark is on a particuliar stamp. Its best to use a black tray or black plastic surface with enough fluid to soak the stamp well enough to bring out the watermark. At times, it make take a bit longer on some stamps for the watermark to become visible--a few seconds where some watermarks will become visible immediately. Stamps can be dried quickly by gently blowing on them and the odor dissipates quick enough.
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Valued Member
United States
238 Posts
Posted 09/29/2013   9:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Buck49 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Since I am a camper I have used Coleman stove fuel for watermarking.

I have been using it for years (and for the same reason too!). I've never seen that it leaves any thing on the stamps or does anything bad in any way. I got Coleman's Material Data Safety Sheet (which the government requires them to supply) and there is nothing in it but plain old naphtha.
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Valued Member
United States
74 Posts
Posted 10/01/2013   4:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Darkoath to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Can anyone suggest a couple of inexpensive US stamps that I could purchase to practice looking for watermarks?

David
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