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Straits Settlements, Scott #149-167: Chalky Paper Or No?

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Posted 06/08/2019   10:48 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add EMaxim to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Germania,nice photo. Shows well what I consider the best test for chalky paper: sharp, clear color lines, no bleed of ink into paper, little sign of paper fibers or weave. That's why I like the use of small, low-power microscope [e.g.,Leuchtturm (i.e., Lighthouse), readily available, relatively cheap].

Hy-brasil, I think you're right. Chalk-surfaced paper was probably not effective at preventing reuse. Or at least not effective enough to justify any added expense. In any case, its use, also in Russia, Austria, and elsewhere, didn't last.
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Posted 06/08/2019   10:58 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add EMaxim to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Also, as Hy-brasil points out, older used stamps may not present a surface as clear and clean as in Germania's photo of a much later issue.
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Posted 06/16/2021   3:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NicholasC to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Just wanted to say I had this exact same question last night. Glad to have found this topic to help clear some things up. Thanks to everyone who responded the first time around. Hopefully, others will also be able to stumble across this topic should they have the same questions.
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Posted 06/17/2021   12:13 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add KGVIStamps to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Two things to consider when comparing chalk with ordinary paper is the time period the stamps were printed as well as the printer who produced the stamps. There is a variation over time in the make up of what we call chalk due to supplier issues. So consider the study of chalk paper a moving target.
Traits you find that are correct for one group of stamps might not be the same across the board. I collect British Colony stamps issued from about 1900 thru 1952, and during this time there are traits that seem to vary. I will post a few examples showing various British Colony stamps at different time periods so you can see what I mean.
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Posted 06/17/2021   12:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add KGVIStamps to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here is my first example. The stamps issued during the reign of King Edward VII in the early 1900's. Originally the stamps were printed on ordinary paper, but about 1905 chalk paper was used. Look for British Colony stamps on paper watermarked Multiple Crown CA (the Crown CA stamps do not show this trait). I look for a couple of factors:
1. The quality of the printing (Chalk coated paper leaves a better impression).
2. A slick feel to the surface of the stamp. (Chalk coated paper appears slicker while the ordinary paper tends to drag as you lightly rub your finger across the surface).
3. In some cases if you look at the surface of the stamp under a strong light you will see the chalk coating.
Enclosed is an image of the British Guiana 60c MCA watermark stamp on Ordinary and Chalk paper.

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Posted 06/17/2021   12:34 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add KGVIStamps to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There are several examples in the 1930's and 1940's of various paper types. If you collect the Malaya States, you will find references to Ordinary Paper issues that were printed in 1941 just before the Japanese invasion. The original versions were printed on chalk paper in the late 1930's but due to supply issues ordinary paper was used in 1941. Here is an example from Trengganu showing the 3c Brown issue which was printed in 1938 on chalk paper and the 3c Chestnut issue which was printed in 1941 on ordinary paper. The ordinary paper issues tend to be found in used condition. Look at the quality of the impression which is a lot better on the chalk coated paper. I usually look at the colored area in the value tablet. It tends to be solidly colored for the chalk paper issues and appears to not be fully filled in on the ordinary papers. You should also feel a slick coating on the chalk coated paper issues as you lightly drag your finger across the surface. The ordinary paper issues are pretty scarce, so generally speaking you probably have a chalk coated paper version if you aren't sure about the stamp. This particular stamp is also colored differently, so it is easier to identify. That is not always true for the other Malaya States stamps from this time period.

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Posted 06/17/2021   12:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add KGVIStamps to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The two previous versions I posted were printed by De La Rue. The stamps from Seychelles and a few other Colonies were printed by Harrison and Sons. The early printings in 1938 were printed on chalk coated paper, but due to shortages during the war, ordinary paper was substituted for the chalk paper. You can easily identify the chalk coated paper issues using a piece of silver. Lightly drag the silver across a corner and you will see a pencil like line. This mark can be erased using a clean gum eraser. Many collectors do not want to use this method, so you can also look for the coating on the surface, or drag your finger across the stamp to feel the slick coating. You might also notice the variation in the impression of the printing which is higher quality on the chalk coated paper. Shown below are the two printings of the 50c value in Grey-Violet color.
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Posted 06/17/2021   12:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add KGVIStamps to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
My final post is from the Malay States also. There were a number of sets issues during the 1930's that were printed initially on chalk paper, but used thin striated paper around 1941. These tend to be scarce due to the Japanese invasion in December 1941. The striated paper tends to have subtle striation marks (lines) across the surface of the paper. They can be hard to find, but the 30c values tend to show up much better than the rest of them. Look for the color variation to find them. The paper is unsurfaced and you can see the striations if you look at the stamp under a strong light at an angle. Shown below is an example from Pahang. Notice how the color of the straited paper example is so much different from the chalk paper issue.
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Posted 06/17/2021   9:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add EMaxim to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Excellent overview, KGVIStamps, and great examples! I'd note that the stronger the magnification the more obvious the difference between chalk-surfaced and ordinary paper. The image on the former will be startlingly sharper, cleaner, clearer, with little or no ink bleeding beyond the lines of the design. All because the chalk is applied to the paper before the image is printed. That's also why soaking is risky: the ink rests on a surface that prevents its absorption into the paper. Once you see a good example up close you'll hardly ever have trouble differentiating again.
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Posted 06/18/2021   08:41 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add KGVIStamps to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks EMaxim. The scans were done at high resolution, so if you copy the images to your PC you can enlarge them a little with PhotoViewer or some other image viewing application. I had to compress the image to make it fit the size requirements of this site.
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