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Reflections About Washington/Franklins

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Valued Member
United States
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Posted 12/06/2019   10:57 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add BFRomeos to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Comments are welcome.

With reflections based on no more than 11 months' experience as an active collector and as a visitor to this forum, I've come to the following conclusions about Washington Franklins:

- Many, if not most of these issues suffered from poor centering to begin with.

- Most of the surviving specimens display the cumulative result of a century of rough handling (tears, creases, toning, etc.)

- Watermarks are the collector's nemesis. For any given type, only a fraction show definitive evidence of a watermark. The rest become "difficulties" in that they cannot be properly identified due to (1) placement within the pane, and (2) the color of imprint - note especially the yellow, lime, or orange specimens.

- Collectors who obtain W/Fs in bulk will inevitably build a sizeable inventory of these "difficulties." Holdings of these items may quickly come to outnumber those of certain identity.

- As a consequence of the above, we see sales offerings of W/Fs in "unchecked" lots. I have yet to examine such a lot, but I presume these will consist mostly (if not entirely) of "difficulties."

- Any serious effort to obtain W/Fs of verifiable identity will (1) require repeat bulk purchases in the hope of finding a few good ones, or (2) paying a premium for properly certified set.

Your thoughts?

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Pillar Of The Community
United States
6599 Posts
Posted 12/06/2019   11:39 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Plenty of F-VF examples exist for most W/F. Most DL watermarks are fairly easy to spot; SL watermarks can be easy or difficult or somewhere in between. Yellow or orange stamps are always the most difficult. The "good ones" are rare for a reason. Generally the common ones are VERY common, so one is far more likely to run into them. With some experience, telling W/F apart becomes much easier. This may help:
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Posted 12/06/2019   12:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
As an example of watermark identification difficulties I refer to my recent purchase of a Scott 460 in a Spink auction that after submission to PSE turned out to be a 478.
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18 Posts
Posted 12/06/2019   1:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Inkmanno1 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Been going thru a big lot after a few years of not looking at them. Have a guide handy always but agree on the difficulty of watermarks on certain denominations. Have a handful last nite I finally gave up on, to try again another day.

Cancels seem to sometimes be in just the wrong spot or too heavy with show thru. Get's frustrating but still like the determination of issue part.
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