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Greece 1911-24, Engraved Vs. Lithographed

 
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Posted 12/08/2019   12:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add EMaxim to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I'm embarrassed to ask, but does anyone else have difficulty distinguishing Greek stamps of the engraved/recessed series of 1911-21 (Scott #198-213, Michel #158-173, Yvert #179-93) from those of the lithographed series of 1913-24 (Scott #214-31, Michel #190-207, Yvert #194a-198l)? Usually I find these two printing methods the easiest to distinguish, but not here.
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Posted 12/08/2019   3:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, the litho printing was well done making them hard to tell apart. You need to look at these with a magnifier. The engraved clearly has printing raised up above the paper surface while the litho is dead flat against the paper.


All you need is a 10X magnifier or less, not a microscope view as shown. The left side shows the upper left corner of an engraved 2dr lighted from the side to try to emphasize the raised printing. The right side is from the litho 2dr; note that the more ragged look of the edges of lines expected of many litho printings is evident under magnification.

As an aside, the engraved 25L is almost always misidentified in collections, too.
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Edited by hy-brasil - 12/08/2019 5:57 pm
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Posted 12/08/2019   6:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add EMaxim to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, I have been surprised by the quality of the lithographed series. And with the engraved, I often also look at the reverse for the usual evidence of intaglio printing (inked portions appearing as recesses). But with used stamps I often don't see any. I'll use your technique with magnification of the obverse and, perhaps, side lighting as well. Thanks!
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Posted 12/11/2019   12:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add EMaxim to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Have done pretty well with the lepta varieties, but the drachma values are proving a lot tougher (unless of course there's some evidence of recess printing on the back). The overprinted drachma values would be a good reference, but at this point I haven't any.
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Posted 06/10/2020   11:37 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bobupanddown to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hmm
I have a 25 Dr that is (to me) engraved, but now I'm not so sure, even under a microscope. Also, there appears to be a double register of the vertical lines below the ELLAS tablet at the top. Many engraved Danish stamps show similar errors, can't see how it could happen on a litho stamp. Any ideas ?
Thanks Bob
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Posted 06/18/2020   11:52 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add EMaxim to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Greetings Bob,
In Fundamentals of Philately by L.N. Williams there's a long section on lithography that describes the entire process step by step and in great detail. Haven't done more that begin to read, so haven't yet found anything in it to account for the double register of vertical lines that you describe. Will keep reading. (The author is British, so I assume that this large volume is available there. You may know it already.)

And by the way, do you know anything about the "aluminium foil test" for engraved stamps? I don't, but it was recently mentioned in another thread, and I'd like to know whether it works.

Eric
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Posted 06/18/2020   12:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bobupanddown to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
No, never heard of the aluminium foil test. I could try it on a 1940s Commonwealth stamp. They are beautifully engraved. If it works, I'll try it on the Greek one, but of course, negative doesn't prove it's Litho
Cheers
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Posted 06/18/2020   1:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add littleriverphil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
it was recently mentioned in another thread, and I'd like to know whether it works.


Yes, a smooth piece of aluminum foil (the thinner, the better! Yep, the cheap stuff ) will take an imprint from the raised ink of the engraved stamp. Place over stamp, rub gentley.
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Posted 06/18/2020   7:24 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add EMaxim to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, littleriverphil. Presuming the foil won't mark the stamp, I'll give it a try next time I'm unable to decide btw. engraved and litho.
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Posted 08/11/2020   12:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add gmavrom to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Look for the Karamitsios Greek stamps catologs on line. They are both in Greek and English. They do provide lots of info on identifying early hermes stamps. T I do have many of them and they are difficult to ID continuing to later LIHO issues. Te catalogs are e issues for around 25 dollars plaus mailing from Greece.
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Posted 12/31/2021   4:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Brad905 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have been working through this issue for a little while now and I have been unable to come up with a solid way of visually determining which stamps are engraved, and which ones are lithographed.

I did find that feeling the stamp between my thumb and my forefinger seemed to be the best method. I had between 15-40 examples of each value but I concentrated first on the 80 lepta, as it was only printed by the lithography method. With the back of the stamp resting on my thumb, and gently rubbing the face of the stamp with the most sensitive part of my finger, all of the 80 lepta stamps were very smooth. The paper is quite thin, so I could make out the impression left by a hinge or often even a cancellation. But everywhere outside of those areas was silky smooth.

So then I went to the 1 lepta green and did the same touch with each of those stamps. The engraved stamps were not necessarily rough, but they were most certainly not silky smooth. I would often go back to the 80 lepta, just to remind myself again of how the lithographed stamps should feel.

Once I had separated all of the silky smooth 1 lepta stamps from the stamps that were not, I looked at them and there was no stamp out of the two groups that stood out against the other stamps in the group. Often, the visual differences were simply over or under inking.

With continued study, I think there maybe ways differentiating the two. For instance, on the 1 lepta green, showing the bust of Hermes and the caduceus, I noticed that on the engraved stamp, there appeared to be the slightest evidence of a second line within the circle of the caduceus at the top, while on the lithographed stamp, there was only one discernable line.

But, as the "touch method" seemed to be working for me, I did not further pursue a visual method of differentiating between the two.

I hope this is of some assistance to those of you working on these stamps.
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Posted 12/31/2021   5:27 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
These stamps always confounded me but I found that in the end aluminum foil did work very well. The thickness of the foil did not matter. I placed the foil on the patient and rubbed with a coin. Big Blue recommends that you concentrate on the bottom half of the stamp to avoid false readings from hinging and I concur.

Best of luck!
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