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Portugal & Colonies Chalk Surfaced Stamps

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Valued Member

United States
40 Posts
Posted 06/02/2015   1:41 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Antman to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Many of the Ceres Type stamps are available as Chalk Surfaced and Unsurfaced varieties. Does anyone know of a non-destructive way to tell the Chalk surfaced stamps from the unsurfaced varieties? I know about the silver wire dot method, but do not want to use it as it leaves a permanent black dot on the stamp.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1534 Posts
Posted 06/02/2015   3:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add shermae to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Antman, most times if you have known copies of plain- vs. chalk-surfaced paper you can learn how the stamps differ in properties. This can often be done with KGVI Commonwealth stamps, although frankly I no longer recall how.

Typically, one type of paper is spongy looking under magnification, with little pits in the paper resembling lava rock. The other kind of paper has a smooth surface. Since the printers may have been different than the ones well-known for Commonwealth stamps (Harrison, Waterlow, De La Rue, Bradbury Wilkinson) the paper used for the Ceres issues may have different properties. You also must be working with Mint stamps, as soaking removes the chalk surfacing. Hope this helps a little.
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United States
1331 Posts
Posted 06/02/2015   3:10 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Trainwreck to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There was a thread on chalky paper last year that may help.
http://goscf.com/t/37343

Robert
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Valued Member
United States
40 Posts
Posted 06/02/2015   9:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Antman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks to all that have responded, especially Trainwreck. That link was quite helpful.

There are a number of Ceres stamps were printed on ONLY one of the two types of paper. I will dig out examples of each to compare them for shininess and pitting of the surface. Hopefully this will allow me to gain some experience by knowing for sure which paper was used for a particular value.
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Valued Member
United States
476 Posts
Posted 06/02/2015   11:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add billsey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The Ceres stamps are actually a lot more complex than Scott leads you to believe. They didn't actually have chalk surfaced stamps, the paper was coated with various substances to give the polished look that chalk surfaced stamps have. Porcelana paper has a porcelan finish, very smooth and glossy. Esmalte paper has more of an enameled surface, not as smooth as the porcelan, but still would fall under chalk surfaced in Scott. Pontinhado paper shows a distinct diagonal grid when held to the light, but the front surface doesn't show a coating (BTW, the diagonals form little diamonds called lozenges and they can be vertically or horizontally aligned). Liso paper is similar to the pontinhado, except with an indistinct grid to no grid, also unsurfaced. Pontinhado was made out of the country and liso was made in country. Acetinado paper has a satin finish, very smooth but it doesn't look like there is a surface coating. Cartolina paper is what it sounds like, carton paper. Very thick and only somewhat smooth. Bear in mind that many of the paper types are available in thin, medium and thick varieties. My Portugal collection could help to figure out which were issued in what denominations and perf at what time, if you don't have a specialized catalog.
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Edited by billsey - 06/02/2015 11:04 pm
Valued Member
United States
40 Posts
Posted 06/03/2015   12:06 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Antman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Billsey--Thanks for the rundown on the various papers and how to tell them apart. I agree that Scott does a horrible job on this group of stamps. Not only does Scott group paper types together, but also the 15x14 perf. and the 12x11 1/2 perf. One just CAN NOT collect the Ceres stamps using the Scott catalogs. I have not seen the Scott Classic Catalog, but I have been told that Scott does sort some of this out in that catalog.

I use two different catalogs. I use the 2-volumn 2011 Afinsa catalogs. These are VERY detailed, but since they are in Portuguese and I do not not read Portuguese, they are difficult to use. The main catalog I use is the Stanley Gibbons Part 9. Portugal and Spain. I have decided that this catalog is adequately detailed for my needs. At least S.G. breaks down the main paper types and separates the Perf. varieties..

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Valued Member
United States
40 Posts
Posted 06/03/2015   12:24 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Antman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Billsey--I just looked at your album pages. They look GREAT. What album do you use. I have resorted to making my own pages for the Ceres stamps of Portugal and all the Colonies based on the Stanley Gibbons listings.

Do you know of any knowledgeable dealers for this series. I can't seem to find one that breaks down their stock to other than Scott's listing. It does no good to order from them as you never know which paper or perforation you are going to get. I would like to find a U.S. dealer that uses the S.G. numbers, but if not a U.S. dealer, than some European or English dealer.
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United States
1389 Posts
Posted 06/03/2015   7:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Climber Steve to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Antman: D & P Stamps in Chula Vista, California may be the premier Portuguese colonial dealer in the USA and they have been re-organizing their Ceres stock to reflect the changes in the Scott Classic catalogue. It was a several year project for Scott, but Scott should be done by now (I buy the Classic only every other year due to cost). You can reach D & P at: www.DPStamps.com .

Now that Scott has re-organized, I'll offer that a continuing use of Stanley Gibbons numbers, or British numbers, may only confuse things for you. A potential problem is if you decide to sell your collection in the US when it has been catalogued with British numbers. I do see S.G. numbers and catalog values for sales of some British items in various USA auction catalogs. I do not bid on anything using Gibbons as I've always felt that Gibbons tends to to inflate valuations (maybe good for sellers; not good for buyers).

As an aside, I don't speak Portuguese either, but have a phrase book. Not to be flippant, but I've never had problems navigating either Afinsa or the older Eladio de Santos catalogues. I think your problems of using a Portuguese catalogue will ease as you gain more experience.

I use the Scott blue International pages for my Portugal & Colonies collection, altho the Ceres sets, for obvious reasons, go onto blank International quadrille pages.

Regarding the papers used for the Ceres issues, here is an abridged version of an article on how to tell those papers apart, by John K. Cross, editor of the Portu-Info, in the current issue (Portu-Info is the quarterly journal for the International Society for Portuguese Philately (ISPP). I've been a member since 1991).

"Porcelain paper is paper that has been coated with gypsum. The only absolutely positive way to distinguish these stamps is to rub a silver coin across a corner of the face of the stamp. If a streak is left, it is porcelain paper. Of course, this also defaces the stamp. Other clues: since the gypsum makes the paper less porous, the image is "solid." (And for me, a solid white.) Most of the old porcelain stamps look yellowish on the back and have a faint "lozenge" pattern running in a horizontal direction. You can also check along the perforations; with a magnifying glass; for minute flaking of the gypsum.

Scott's "ordinary" paper has at least three varieties. Acetinado paper resembles porcelain a bit. But the paper looks almost silky and while "bright," doesn't quite have the "gleam" of the porcelain paper. Lozenge paper has a very even pattern of lozenges that can be seen by holding the face of the stamp up to a strong light. The lozenges almost always run in a vertical pattern. Exception is Portugal 496A-496R. Liso paper is truly ordinary as it has no coating or pattern in the paper. Liso is very porous, causing the image to often appear worn or blurred."

Hope this helps.
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Edited by Climber Steve - 06/03/2015 8:18 pm
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United States
1389 Posts
Posted 06/03/2015   7:10 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Climber Steve to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Billsey: thanks for sharing your Portuguese Ceres pages. I have a near complete collection of the Ceres that is now in need of re-organization due to the Scott changes. My earlier issues are on a combination of Scott specialized pages, blank pages and even a Schaubeck page or two. Seems that I need to now do a total re-organization of my Portugal prior to 1940.
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Valued Member
United States
40 Posts
Posted 06/05/2015   11:15 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Antman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Climber Steve--In what edition of the Scott Classic Catalog did they finish redoing the Ceres issues for all the Portuguese Colonies? While I can't afford the 2015 edition, I see the older editions for sale online for much less. Since I use the catalogs only for ID, not value, an older edition works fine.

Thanks for the dealer link. I'll check it out.

As for using the Afinsa Catalog, I said it was difficult to use since I don't read Portuguese, but I did not say it was impossible. I can manage with a LOT of referencing the glossary and a Portuguese-English Dictionary. And, yes, of course it becomes easier with more use.

On my homemade album pages for the Ceres issues I label each block with the Afinsa number (when I can figure it out). the S.G. # and the closest Scott number (from their Standard catalog), so when the time comes to sell the collection a dealer should be able to figure out what stamp it is. But, it will not be a problem for me since my collection is being passed on down to my son, It is about the only inheritance he will get that has any value. What he does with it is his business.
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United States
1389 Posts
Posted 06/05/2015   2:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Climber Steve to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Antman: as far as I know, the revision was supposed to be finished with the 2015 Classic. I have the 2012; nothing there; and 2014; about 2/3 done; editions. I'll buy the 2016, skipping the other years due to the cost, as I noted.

I did visit D & P's web site, after referencing them, and saw that the last entry is a year old. They, however, are still around and thriving. D & P was at the Rocky Mountain Stamp Show last month and I bought some good stuff from them.

Enjoy your Portuguese colonial adventures. I know I've enjoyed them since the 1970s.
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United Kingdom
5033 Posts
Posted 06/05/2015   3:12 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
May I just thank contributors for the posts on this thread? Absolutely invaluable. Also enjoyed billsey's web pages - thank you.

My two pennorth, but, if I have a national catalogue, I tend to use that for positioning stamps. If you have a specialist collection, it may well be that an auction house etc will have access to the national catalogue. Auctioneers here often refer to European catalogues, rather than SG, when selling European stamp lots. As an aside, those catalogues aren't always more complete than SG, in my limited experience, eg Yvert's French Colonies.

Geoff
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Valued Member
United States
476 Posts
Posted 06/05/2015   11:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add billsey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Sorry I've been slow in response, I've been out of town this week. I used Afinsa (and Google translate) to lay out my pages. They started their lives as Steiner Pagemaker files, I converted to inDesign and made a bunch more modifications to convert to chronological order and to add the perfs and papers that Scott didn't yet have in my 2012 Classic. If you notice the earlier issues are more complex than the typical as well. I tend to do that with most every country I work on, though sourcing and understanding a specialized catalog is often the biggest challenge short of finding some of the stamps. :)

I'm breaking with convention with my Norway collection, because when I bought the basis for it it was in a very nice Schaubek hingeless already, with decent detail (maybe more than I would have done). I also use a standard album for my US collection (Scott Platinum), though I've already tweaked it some to support the 10A & 11A issues.

I've got a lot more countries mounted than I have scanned... Web pages are boring work, and a bit too close to my real work. :(
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Valued Member
United States
40 Posts
Posted 06/08/2015   12:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Antman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Bilsey--My homemade album pages for the Ceres issues also began as pages from the Steiner Pagemaker files CD. I use CorelDraw to modify them by adding the various catalog numbers and rearranging the stamps to add the minor numbers and color varieties. I also remove Steiner's border so I can print the pages on Scott National blank pages.

I bought Steiner's CD back about 2000 and have modified over 1000 pages from it. Mostly I am replacing all the pre-1940 pages in my International's, which are quite incomplete. I can not imagine how many hours Steiner put into compiling these pages, but I am thankful I do not need to design my pages from scratch.

I am currently trying to find a company that sells 80# Acid-Free paper in B4 (9.8 x 13.9 inches)in a color similar the Scott pages. B4 seems to be the closest standard size to the 9.5 x 11.2 inches of the Scott pages. Of course I need to trim the B4 paper and 2-hole punch it. BTW, if anyone is going to buy a paper punch to do this, be sure it is adjustable because the Scott International binders do not use standard 2-hole spacing. Does anyone know of a source for this paper?
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Valued Member
United States
476 Posts
Posted 06/08/2015   12:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add billsey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
What I've always done is to approach a local print shop and have them cut and drill paper to my specifications. I use the Scott International binders and have the pages created to match those. IIRC paper starts out a bit larger than 22x34". With five cuts it will make 6 pages to either the International or the Specialty page size. For International it then takes two drills to match the hole size and spacing. For Specialty you pretty much have to use the three ring binders, not the two post. Die costs for making the two post rectangles just don't cut it unless you are going to make a *lot* of pages. Expect to pay $0.03 to $0.06 per page once you're done for 1500 pages.
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Netherlands
942 Posts
Posted 11/25/2018   11:03 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Galeoptix to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Bill,

"They didn't actually have chalk surfaced stamps, the paper was coated with various substances to give the polished look that chalk surfaced stamps have. Porcelana paper has a porcelan finish, very smooth and glossy. Esmalte paper has more of an enameled surface, not as smooth as the porcelan, but still would fall under chalk surfaced in Scott. Pontinhado paper shows a distinct diagonal grid when held to the light, but the front surface doesn't show a coating (BTW, the diagonals form little diamonds called lozenges and they can be vertically or horizontally aligned). Liso paper is similar to the pontinhado, except with an indistinct grid to no grid, also unsurfaced. Pontinhado was made out of the country and liso was made in country. Acetinado paper has a satin finish, very smooth but it doesn't look like there is a surface coating. Cartolina paper is what it sounds like, carton paper. Very thick and only somewhat smooth. Bear in mind that many of the paper types are available in thin, medium and thick varieties. "

At first sight, the main split is whether the surface [front of the stamp] is coated or NOT!

To split up the coated stamps in two - porcelana and esmalte - is most likely a Portuguese only illness...

Uncoated paper can be calandered [satinado, acetinado] which means the paper surface had been brushed not adding any [shoe] polish ;) . The satin appearance may be left in mint stamps after all these years but in used stamps it often disappeared. So do NOT take it too serious.

All stamps - at least before 1938 - have a wire symmetrical structure caused by the linen-binding of the paper wire. It can be very visible and it is then referred to as "pontinhado" or showing rhomboids or lozanges. These can be directed horizontally or vertically!

The lozanges quite often reflect in the printing on the front making it "mottled". The mottling has nothing to do with the printing nor does it reflect a particulr type of paper. It can occur in coated paper as well.

The back of the paper - get rid of the gumming! - can be brownish and straw-like, light brownish and flat [in all cases with the possible imprint of the wire structure!] OR it has a white, glossy second COATING but this time at the back. I have NOT NEVER seen this described in Portuguese publications and it goes back long before the Ceres!

The direction of paper can be horizontal or vertical which is easily established once you can sport the lozanges.

And of course indepently of all previously mentioned aspect, the paper can be thin, thick or extea thick or anything in between! :)

Rein
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