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Need Information On The Development Of Experimental Silk Paper.

 
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Posted 11/04/2018   8:07 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add JoNo to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I have many questions about experimental silk paper on the private die revenue stamps that I cannot find any answers to, can you help? The first is why was it needed? What is the purpose of the small silk fibers and how were they added? I believe they are more likely to be a contaminate from a different product being made at the same time? Why are stamps on the thicker experimental silk type of paper without silk fibers considered to be on old paper in Scott's when they are not? Why would a strip of three stamps with a silk fiber on one stamp obtain a certificate stating it is on experimental silk paper while stating the other two are on old paper? Why are fibers found on both sides when they are only to be on one side? Are all the silk paper stamps of the first issue revenue on experimental silk paper? I know many collectors have questions on this type of paper as I do: basically all I can find is that it exists.
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Posted 11/04/2018   9:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The Boston Book goes into the paper in the First Issue section; Butler & Carpenter used the same paper for both the First Issue and M&M's. All silk paper on First Issues is the same as the experimental silk paper of the M&M's. Basically the paper was coming from various manufacturers and some paper from 1869 was "experimental silk"; unlike the later silks there does not appear to have been a request or any other reason. It just showed up. There were a lot of problems with the paper starting in 1869, which is why there are so many types for the M&M's later and why the Second Issue and others were on the Willcox Chameleon Paper.
Experimental silk paper MUST have silk threads to be considered experimental silk paper. Multiples with mixed examples are handled the way they are because if all get certs for being silk then when someone breaks up the multiple (and someone will)then there will be "silk paper" stamps without threads. This will lead to endless complaints from collectors and dealers about stamps without threads not getting a cert when the consistency, date and color happens to match. This is not a can of worms that should not be opened.
Experimental silk is a legitimate paper, it is not "contaminated" by anything. However there is a lot of dirty paper out there that is often mistaken for experimental silk.
Genuine experimental silk paper has the threads embedded within the paper, so they can show up on the front or the back or both.
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Posted 11/06/2018   02:52 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add JoNo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Dan, the information I have seen is basically the same you have provided, Butler Carpenter received paper from a producer that had small silk fibers that were not a requirement in the order. How can you say that the fibers were not contaminants? I cannot determine any advantage these small fibers would give the paper since some stamps are lacking the fibers. When I asked the paper specialists, where I purchase the paper I use for my stamp albums, they agreed with my theory of the fibers being a contaminate. You have to take in consideration the conditions of the factories in 1870. Ventilation was most likely from a open windows or large fans turned by belts ran by steam engine and floors cleaned by sweeping, both stirring contaminants, such as small silk fibers, from the making of previous types of paper that easily could have ended in the slurry resulting in what is considered experimental silk paper. As far as the strip of three with only one stamp having fibers, all three of the stamps are on experimental silk paper and should have been noted on the certificate: it cannot be any other way it is obvious. If the stamps are separated, I could understand why a certificate would not be issued as experimental silk paper for the two stamps without fibers. If certificates were obtained for the stamps on the thicker paper without fibers they would most likely come back stating incorrectly the stamps are on old paper.
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Posted 11/06/2018   08:52 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm not Dan. Dan is revenue-collector. I'm Bart, revcollector.
a contaminant is "a polluting or poisonous substance that makes something impure". This was not the case for the silk papers. The silk was deliberately added as an experiment, either as something to make the paper unique to the manufacturer or to bolster a claim of making anything printed on it harder to counterfeit or both. The government was already discussing the idea of silk papers, the later revenue issues prove that (second, third, proprietary, M&M). There are plenty of examples of contaminated paper out there, but experimental silk is not one of them.
I have already explained the can of worms that would be opened by certifying stamps as being on silk if they do not have threads. There was plenty of thicker old paper; without threads it cannot be certified as anything else.
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Posted 11/10/2018   11:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rwoodennickel to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I thought I would post these as a possible contaminant paper. I have two copies (RO171) with purple silk appearing threads in them. One is hard to see in a scan, so only posting one. There are a couple fibers that are embedded in the paper as well as some closer to surface. Neither stamps have a watermark, but paper is pretty thick.





Eric Jackson suggested that it may be some type of packaging material from the paper, but I dont think it would be embedded in the stamp paper if that was the case. Opinions are welcome, these are the only two stamps in the RO series I have seen with purple fibers. Maybe someone has seen this as well? My USB microscope is broken, so I couldnt get a close up of the fiber. It is very similar to the blue EX Silk fiber structure.
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Posted 11/10/2018   11:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
These are not silk threads, which are short blue fibers that are often fairly thick. These are contaminants.
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Posted 11/12/2018   7:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rwoodennickel to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Im pretty sure the purple fibers are similar to silk threads. They are not blue, but without examining stamp you cant say for sure they are NOT silk. I have looked at many different fibers from many M&M stamps as well as 1st issue Revs under a microscope. Many fibers are way too small, skinny, or curly to be a silk material, and are definitely contaminates from cloth or whatever. But those present in the posted pics are consistent with a silk type fiber. I was not in need of a negative opinion. Just adding to OP about the confusion of certain stamps and placement of the fibers. I have also seen blonde fibers in stamps with 1871 dates. The R36 comes to mind as most often seen. I know these would not get a "cert" but the fiber structure and paper look like candidates. I guess I was trying to get a discussion started instead no it isn't and dont argue. I dont even believe the paper thickness is consistent among the EXP silk M&M stamps. Which makes me think the same of 1st Issue Revs. I have quite a few reference copies from Eric J. & Richard F. Many of which do not have thick silk threads.
One thing I will agree on, is that the majority of the EXP's are lighter blue silk than regular silk paper. There must have been a transitional period of change to darker blue silk mixed in the pulp. I have a few non-exp silk stamps , but with the lighter/brighter silk in them. Funny thing about them, is the very thick paper they are on. They show too many fibers both front and back.
Im sure if I get the urge to be froggy, I will submit them for cert, but for now, it was just discussion material to learn what other collectors thought. Surely someone has had a stamp you (Bart) have looked at that actually made you scratch your head for a minute??? Concerning the silk aspect that is.
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Posted 11/12/2018   8:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Alas, having a discussion does not mean that people are always going to agree with you. I'm sorry that you are not in need of a negative opinion, but I have been studying M&M's for 48 years now, and I have been taught over the years by several with 40 and 50 years of experience themselves. I know what silk paper threads look like. I also know what silk paper itself looks like. I have seen a lot of examples without silk threads; they cannot be called silk paper. The $2 conveyance shows up that way all the time, in the correct shade. It's still not silk without the threads. And I know what the shades of the various first issue stamps are when they have silk threads as well.
Blond fibers are wood chips that did not get pulped completely. Purple, red, green, and even some blue fibers are NOT silk threads, but are leftovers from the papermaking process. If you want to call them contaminants, that is not inappropriate. Quality control was just a dream at the time, and paper was coming from multiple sources. A lot of it was dirty, and only a very small percentage was experimental silk. That's why several have very high catalog values.
The items circled in the image above are NOT silk threads, they are just leftovers from the packaging or the papermaking process.
As it happens, I have not had an experimental silk paper truly make me scratch my head in many years because there is a longtime standard to be met.
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Edited by revcollector - 11/12/2018 8:46 pm
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Posted 11/12/2018   9:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rwoodennickel to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Wood chips are pretty obvious. Its the longer irregular pieces with frayed ends that have a gloss to them that I was referring to. I am respectful of your knowledge of revenue stamps, I will post some pics when I get a new scope. Not to disagree, but to get your professional opinion why such pieces are not and could not be silk material. That is always the question, why. We all have to learn the hard way sometimes, but to help another group of collectors gain experience as well. Thanks for your replies.
My next question would be, where would the purple material come from, and why would it not be present in a majority of examples? Eric J. had mentioned it could be part of a packing material. Just curious as there is not much information that explains it. Also, if I may ask, what do you recommend to examine the paper with? I have a loupe and magnifying glasses, but my eyes are getting old. Scanner is a dinosaur as well. That is why I like the USB scope so much, that and a big monitor. It is pretty easy to ID most EXP papers. I have got way too excited about some small extraneous contaminants in the past, but as I look back at those same stamps, they dont have the right paper type. It does take half a lifetime to learn sometimes. Would you agree that the paper consistency varys slightly?
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Posted 11/12/2018   11:04 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have a 10x and a 40x glass that I carry and use on a regular basis. I have some others at home, such as an 8x originally designed for viewing film one cell at a time. The problem is that the stronger the magnification, the larger objects appear. So sometimes it's possible to over estimate the size and value of an object. So something that is really very small can appear much more impressive then it actually is. When looking at experimental silk papers I always use the 10x first to see what I can find, then I use the more powerful glass on the fibers that I see. I do the same with most stamps, the only time I use the 40x first is when looking at perfs.
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Posted 11/12/2018   11:07 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
And paper varies more then slightly in all the M&M types. Even the silk and watermarked papers have some variation, although not as much as the old paper. Pink varies, but it is a volatile paper to begin with so it's all but impossible to know how much is natural and how much is simply being 140 years old.
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Posted 11/13/2018   06:47 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add m and m to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
jute bags were often used to transport rags to the papermakers. they would account for the black and brown threads often mistaken for silk. there was no reason not to chop them up and throw them in. it is my opinion the purple color is what the jute turns when the pink dye was added to the mix. they are a charistic of pink papers and are a useful aide in pale shades of that notoriously volatile paper. the blue drug paper wrappers of the period often leave long blue threads on some m & m's, but are always on the surface rather than in the paper, and will soak off. they are usually long slender fibers that can range in shade but are usually a bright blue. as to why silk was added it was probably a counterfeiting deterrent. the fibers were not evenly distributed in the mix. I have seen a large imperf multiple (probably printers waste were the number of threads ranged from 2 or 3 to over a dozen to a stamp. ex-silk fiber is always 1/8 inch long give or take a 32nd with usually not over three or four pieces present. full silk is 1/4 inch or longer and is readily apparent. Switzerland used granite paper (silk paper with red and blue fiber) for many issues in this time period).
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