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Show Your US 1851-57 Imperforate Stamps

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Posted 09/27/2020   3:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add stampcrow to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Ioagoa that feb 16 stamp is beautiful+++
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Posted 09/27/2020   4:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Classic Coins to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
ioagoa, those are two of the sharpest printings I've ever seen from plate 1L, and they are spectacular compared to typical plate 1L stamps!

The right frame line on the 16 Feb Plymouth(?) stamp appears doubled part of the way. Do you think comparing the curves in the right frame line with the die proofs would resolve whether the line was recut by hand?
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Posted 09/28/2020   01:24 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ioagoa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Classic Coins --

Regarding my 40L1L with the Feb 16 Plymouth (?) CDS -- you wrote:


Quote:
The right frame line on the 16 Feb Plymouth(?) stamp appears doubled part of the way. Do you think comparing the curves in the right frame line with the die proofs would resolve whether the line was recut by hand?


You raise a great point for further study -- but the comparison would be to 40L1i, not the original master die.

We know that on the early state of plate 1, position 40L, an A relief, had all 4 outer frame lines and both inner lines recut by hand. When plate 1e became plate 1i, the position was re-entered, also with an A relief -- but there was no additional re-cutting or touching up by hand. Finally, when plate 1i became plate 1L, the entire plate was again softened, re-entered, and extensively recut.

I took a look at 3 copies of 40L1i this evening -- and it is really hard to make a fair comparison between the RFL on the inter state of the plate versus the RFL on my 40L1L -- primarily because none of 40L1i stamps that I could find have an impression like my 1L copy. The best copy of 40L1i that I could find, at least by way of impression, was on StampSmarter -- and based on comparison to that stamp, I am still not 100% sure if the RFL on 40L1L was very lightly recut -- or not recut at all (???).

I tried using your "compressed imaging technique" to compare the RFL on the StampSmarter copy of 40L1i versus the RFL on the copy of 40L1L that I posted up to SCF yesterday. The curves in the RFL look the same to me on both the inter and late states of 40L1 -- but the doubling that you mention is more pronounced on my 40L1L -- but again -- this could well be due to differences in inking and impression (???). Compressed images of both stamps are attached below -- and as you will see, the RIL is definitely way different on the two stamps -- but the RFL has the exact same general shape. That said, I am leaning toward the RFL on 40L1L not being recut at all when plate 1i became plate 1L -- but again -- that is nothing more than an educated guess at this point. What do you think?

If we want to go all the way back to the "original die" -- which I think is worth discussing -- very generally speaking, when it comes to the four outer FL's -- while they made it to plate 1 early (and all of the other plates as well) -- they were generally very weak -- consequently they were recut. Likewise, the inner lines on the master die were even weaker than the outer frame lines -- and in almost all instances failed to even make it to the plate -- which is why they don't show on almost all stamps unless they were recut by hand. Plate 1E best demonstrates this point where there is a mix of stamps with and without the inner lines recut. Here's how I view the process of going from master die to printed stamp -- and almost every step of the way, the lines on the master die get weakened a bit:

1. Create the master die (i.e., the Panama Pacific die proof scan that I previously posted in this thread is a good example of what the engraved lines on the original master die looked like).

2. Harden it.

3. Create a 1-relief master transfer roll from the master die.

4. Harden it.

5. Enter 3 transfers of the master transfer roll onto a laydown (or secondary die), one above the other.

5a. Here's where the C relief gash on shoulder in the top relief might have occurred (???).

6. Harden the laydown.

7. Create a 3-relief transfer roll from the laydown.

8. Remove the tessellated impingements from the white oval on all three reliefs. (This is where the different reliefs A, B, and C were created).

9. Harden the 3-relief transfer roll.

10. At this point TCC could start entering the plate. They might have first rocked in a "second state" laydown at this point, as a backup. That way if something happened to the 3-relief transfer roll, they could make a new one from the backup, and skip most of these steps.

So the way I see it, you will lose a certain amount of fine lines (and incur a certain amount of weakening to all lines in general) in each of steps 3, 5, 7, and 10.

Another aspect is needing to smooth or flatten the die, or laydown, or plate after each rocking in. This burnishing is usually at the edges of the design, so that also might further contribute to weakening the outer frame lines by the time you get to a printed stamp from plate 1E -- and then there is still the progression from 1E to 1i to 1L.

Most of this process is explained in way more detail in Baxter's book "Printing Postage Stamps by Line Engraving" (please note that while Baxter's book provides a "general explanation" of the process, it is not with specific regard to the 1851 3-cent issue). There is also a great discussion on the guide relief process in the USPCS Sesqui book.

Regards // ioagoa

PS -- If I had better computer skills, I would have combined these images into a single side-by-side comparison -- but alas, I do not know how to do that...

Compressed image of my 40L1L at 10% of original height is here:




Compressed image of the StampSmarter copy of 40L1i at 10% of its original height is here:



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Edited by ioagoa - 09/28/2020 01:24 am
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Posted 09/28/2020   1:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Classic Coins to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
ioagoa, Thanks for the outstanding informative post!

As you wrote, the right frame line and inner line were recut at position 40L1 on the early state of the plate, but not on the intermediate state. Then on the late state, the position was re-entered and extensively recut, except for the right frame line, which was either very lightly recut, or not recut at all.

I didn't read your post very carefully, and I mistakingly thought that Chase said that position 40L1 wasn't recut at all after the original entry. Thanks for clarifying this so well, and I apologize for my carelessness.
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Edited by Classic Coins - 09/28/2020 1:57 pm
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Posted 09/28/2020   2:01 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ioagoa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Classic Coins --

No worries -- as with so many plate numbers flying around, especially with the same position and 3 different states of the plate -- I can see what happened.

So to summarize on position 40L from plate 1 --

-- 40L1 Early state -- all 4 FL's and both inner lines were recut.

-- 40L1 intermediate state -- position was re-entered -- but no new recutting -- and no touch ups by hand.

-- 40L1 Late state -- position re-entered again -- and extensively recut -- except for RFL -- which was either very lightly recut -- or not recut at all.

Again -- no worries on the confusion -- as too many plate numbers flying around on this one.

Regards // ioagoa

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Posted 09/28/2020   3:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add stampcrow to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Ok I'd like to jump in with a rookie question.., how did they know with the very first plate 1E that some lines needed recutting? Test printings or just eyeballing the plate or something else maybe?
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Edited by stampcrow - 09/28/2020 4:29 pm
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Posted 09/28/2020   6:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add dudley to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Presumably during the quality control processes of the era it was noticed that many positions on the plate had weak to broken frame lines, especially after the plate had been in use for a time. Recutting was preferable cost-wise to making a new plate.
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Posted 09/28/2020   10:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add stampcrow to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Dudley, this leads me to a couple other questions but I'll hold off to see if there's any interest in following up on this topic.
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Posted 09/28/2020   10:07 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Moyock13 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Ask, man, ask!
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Posted 09/28/2020   11:07 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add txstamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
This document provides a clue about re-touching plates.

From the USPCS site:

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Posted 09/28/2020   11:16 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Classic Coins to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Excellent, txstamp! Thanks for posting that.
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Posted 09/28/2020   11:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Classic Coins to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
how did they know with the very first plate 1E that some lines needed recutting? Test printings or just eyeballing the plate or something else maybe?


In his August 2004 USPCS Chronicle article; The Plates of the 1851 -57 3 Stamps of the United States, Gary W. Granzow wrote:

The first four of the 3 plates printed stamps using orange brown ink and will be referred to as the "orange brown plates." As will be shown, the orange brown plates were not hardened. Dr. Chase states that none of these plates experienced wear. For example, with respect to the first plate used he writes: "The plate of course showed no wear while in this state." However, this plate (Plate 1E) did wear in a matter of weeks and had to be pulled from service and reentered. In fact, Plate I wore more rapidly than the other orange brown plates and had to be reentered twice. After the second reentry it was hardened. Yet it became extremely worn by 1855, and had to be retired, while other plates, after hardening, lasted much longer-right through and into the printing of the perforated stamps beginning in 1857. A likely explanation for this rapid wear is that the steel from which it was made was of poorer quality than the subsequent plates. And . . . there is strong evidence that this first plate received many more impressions than previously reported.
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Posted 09/28/2020   11:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add txstamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
During July 51, Toppan Carpenter were literally overwhelmed with problems, initially with gum adherence & demand for 3c stamps. So they got busy making more plates and re-touching those that wore quickly, presumably due to not being hardened.
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Posted 09/29/2020   10:15 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add stampcrow to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The Toppan Carpenter Casilear letter mentions "re touching", is that then what we refer to as re-cutting or is it re entering?

My thought is that "re touching" means re entry and any re cutting that was done.

I guess what I need to clear up in my head is..., plates were only re cut just after being created or after a re entry in the case of plates with multiple states, true?
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Posted 09/29/2020   11:03 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add dudley to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
stampcrow: Oops. In my last post I was referring to the one-cent Plate 1E. I read your question out of context. The term "retouching" is not normally used in connection with the one-cent plates.
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