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Show Your US 1851-57 Imperforate Stamps

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Posted 09/29/2020   11:29 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ioagoa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi stampcrow --

Regarding re-entry, re-cutting, and re-touching (or as sometimes called "touching-up") -- here are the definitions of each as I understand them...

-- Re-entry -- the definition of re-entry is that the transfer roll was used to re-rock the entire design on top of an already existing entry -- (i.e., most often re-rocked over the original entry -- but in some cases, if already re-entered once, then over the applicable prior entry -- which is what caused the "triple transfer" varieties).

Generally speaking the raised lines (i.e., "in relief") on the transfer roll are lined up exactly with the recessed lines already on the plate -- and the entire design is "re-entered".

Re-entry took place for all 200 positions when plate 1E became 1i, and again when plate 1i became 1L. Ditto for 2E / 2L -- and likewise 5E /5L.

Re-entry also took place upon occasion during the original manufacturing of a plate, presumably when TCC had a problem with a given position. An example of this is position 43L1E -- a misplaced C relief clearly showing the gash on the shoulder -- but also showing the "B hump" at bottom -- thus implying that the position was originally rocked in as a normal 5th row B relief -- but for some reason -- was then re-entered as a C relief before the plate was put into production (see scan attached for reference).

In any event, the definition of re-entry is that the transfer roll was used to re-rock the entire design on top of an already existing entry.

-- Re-cutting -- occurred after rocking in (i.e., either by way of "entering" or "re-entering" as the case may be) the design from the transfer roll to the plate. Re-cutting was done by hand with an engraving tool -- most typically to deepen (i.e., strengthen) recessed lines on the plate that were too weak. We know that the 4 outer frame lines were very weak by the time the design was rocked into the plate -- and also that the two inner lines essentially were lost in the process of going from master die to original entry on the plate -- thus the need for TCC to fix that problem vis--vis re-cutting, by hand, with an engraving tool. Re-cutting took place to some extent on all 2,600 positions.

-- Re-touching -- or touching-up -- the way I see it, this is essentially the same as re-cutting -- but to a much less severe degree -- typically to fix some relatively minor flaw that occurred during the production process (i.e., versus re-cutting a line for its entire length). Just like re-cutting, re-touching (or touching-up) occurred after rocking in (i.e., either by way of "entering" or "re-entering" as the case may be) the design from the transfer roll to the plate -- and was done by hand with an engraving tool. From some of the literature I have read, I get the sense that the terms "re-cutting" and "re-touching" have been used interchangeably by some authors -- and I am not sure at what point the "line gets drawn" where a bit of "re-touching" turns into "re-cutting".

Hope this helps clarify the terminology a bit.

Regards // ioagoa


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Edited by ioagoa - 09/29/2020 11:48 am
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Posted 09/29/2020   11:44 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add txstamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

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


That's basically right.

Re-touching, in Baxter is discussed as applying to worn plates - after they have been used.

Interestingly, Baxter refers to re-cutting more in the context of an unused plate; but I believe it clearly means taking a hand-tool carefully to the steel to strengthen weak lines. This might be done to an unused plate after finishing, where the finishing partially erased part of a design, and it must be manually "re-cut" prior to use.

Alternatively, and in our case under discussion, re-cutting can be done to a worn plate to strengthen weakened design features due to wear.

Since these plates weren't hardened prior to use initially, the re-touching was much easier to do.

So, strictly speaking, re-cutting and re-entering could be done at any time, including prior to use of the plate. I think that re-touching is really used to refer to the generic process of "prettying-up" a worn plate by whatever means.

In this case, since we see printings from different states of, lets say, plate 1 (e/i/L), it is fairly clear that re-touching was done multiple times during the life of the plate.
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Posted 09/29/2020   11:46 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add txstamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
ioagoa - I agree that Baxter mostly refers to re-touching in the re-cutting type of context, or implying manual application.

I think, however, that Toppan Carpenter probably meant what I said in my last post.
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Posted 09/29/2020   11:55 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Moyock13 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Ioagoa, txstamp, dudley, stampcrow, classic coins, thank you. I have a better understanding of terms and processes now. This is really an outstanding education in 3c imperf technology in the day.

Makes me wonder how many test sheets were printed while perfecting the plates and how many error sheets were discarded.

You guys are pretty darn awesome!
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Posted 09/29/2020   11:58 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ioagoa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi txstamp --

Agree with everything you wrote in your last two posts -- good clarification on the definition of "re-touching".

Regards // ioagoa

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Posted 09/29/2020   12:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add stampcrow to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Great responses, thank you.

Dudley your avatar gives you away!! lol


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Posted 10/01/2020   10:33 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ioagoa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here is an interesting stamp that ties into the discussion a few days back regarding the production process of going from master die to printed stamp of the 1851 - 1857 3-cent issue. More specifically, with regard to the weakening of the finely engraved outer frame lines -- and the loss of the very finely engraved inner lines -- both of which resulted in the need for TCC to recut these lines by hand after the design was entered (or re-entered as the case may be) onto the plate vis--vis the transfer roll.

This stamp is Scott #10A -- recut variety #3 (inner line at right only) -- position 1R1E -- and based on the first ring of fine lines around each of the rosette centers -- and especially the bottom two rosettes -- is surely a relatively early printing impression.

Interestingly -- regarding the outer frame lines -- the left, top, and right outer frame lines were lightly, but clearly, recut -- versus the bottom frame line which shows a noticeably heavier recut.

But the most interesting thing about this position is that the left inner line was not recut at all -- versus the right inner line which was partially recut for only the bottom third of its length.

Regards // ioagoa

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Posted 10/01/2020   1:18 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
ioagoa - that is a true beauty! The impression is sharp (and early) and the color is (at least on my screen) is gorgeous!

As a comment - I wonder why some lines were recut, while others on the same impression were left alone. Even when the un-recut ones were virtually invisible. On your example, above, why recut the right inner line, but not the left inner line? I bet no one knows the answer - I am sure everyone would like to speculate. My speculation has to do with cost. But still, why spend $$$ to recut some, and not others? THAT I don't know.

Thanks for sharing that beauty!
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Posted 10/01/2020   3:21 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Caper123 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'd say, halfway up the right inner line the whistle blew and the engraver went home for the day.
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Posted 10/01/2020   4:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Moyock13 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
ioagoa, very nice! look on your copy, bottom center of the oval. I'm seeing a vertical line that runs from just to the left of the "C" through the oval frame and into the bust... or Georges picture.

Is that just on your scan or is it on the stamp?

Looking at it again, it runs all of the way through the stamp. Must be the scan.
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Posted 10/01/2020   6:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Classic Coins to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
ioagoa, that is a superb position piece, with a beautiful impression! Thanks for showing it.
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Posted 10/01/2020   6:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ioagoa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Moyock13 --

You definitely have an "eagle eye"!

That line you are seeing is 100% from my old Epson Artisan 735 scanner -- which I replaced with an Epson V600 a few months ago -- but alas, I had scanned the 1R1E around 5 years ago with my old Epson -- albeit primarily for "inventory tracking purposes" -- and never noticed the "line".

As an aside, I don't know why -- but for years my old Epson would very rarely generate scanned images where it looked like two separate scans joined together that were slightly out of alignment -- which is the line you are seeing. But over this past year, the problem got progressively worse and worse -- and was happening with regular frequency -- forcing me to break down and buy a new scanner.

Sorry about that.

Regards // ioagoa
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Posted 10/01/2020   9:21 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Ecostic to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Happy October Everyone!

Whats spookier than a stained stamp?


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Posted 10/02/2020   3:10 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ioagoa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi classic coins, mootermutt987 and moyock13 --

Thank you all for the compliments on the 1R1E -- too bad the stamp has a pressed out crease at upper right -- otherwise it would be a major auction quality stamp -- but alas -- it is a plating copy -- (albeit a very nice one that I was able to pick up for a fraction of catalogue value because of the crease!).

Mootermutt -- you wrote --


Quote:
I wonder why some lines were recut, while others on the same impression were left alone. Even when the un-recut ones were virtually invisible. On your example, above, why recut the right inner line, but not the left inner line?


To answer the question specifically about plate 1E -- as you stated -- the real reason is anybody's guess -- and is pure speculation at best. But one line of thought is that we know for a fact that plate 1E was the first plate for the 3-cent denomination to be put into actual printing production for the stamps issued on July 1, 1851. We also know from the literature and from a few of the archived TCC documents that have been found -- that TCC had a very difficult time with the production of the 1851 issue -- especially the 1c and the 3c denominations. Consequently, the answer to the question of "why some positions got recut and others did not" -- might well be as simple as TCC was running out of time to make their delivery commitment to the USPOD -- so some TCC front line manager just made a business decision to abruptly stop the recutting and clean-up work and start the printing presses?

Now -- if the preceding is true -- and I have no idea if it is -- then it begs the next logical question which is: From an operational production management perspective, can we look at the status of the recutting on plate 1E at the time that it "abruptly" went to press -- and in doing so, can we discern any type of pattern that might emerge based on the recutting that was done versus that which was not?

For example, we know that all 4 outer frame lines on all 200 positions were recut on plate 1E -- but the recutting of the inner lines is somewhat random -- implying, perhaps, that all 4 outer FL's were recut before starting on the IL's? However, there is also the question of how did the other so called "normal recuts" (e.g., the triangles, etc.) fit into the overall production process.

In any event -- we also know that on plate 1E, the great majority of the stamps on the left pane show 1 or both inner lines recut -- versus the majority of stamps on the right pane show no inner lines. For some reason, also still unknown, these inner line recuts can be for the full length of the IL, part of the length, and in extreme cases only a tiny fraction of the length.

So what does all of this mean? I don't know -- but, generally speaking, the recutting work was clearly more complete on the left pane versus the right when the plate was put into printing production. That said, it is only us collectors who think in terms of "panes" (of 100), but no doubt the folks at TCC thought in terms of "plates" (of 200). Still, if for some unknown reason TCC wanted to finish all of the recutting on the left pane before they started on the right pane -- there are a good number of positions on the left pane that you would think required more recutting to clean them up before moving on to the right pane?

In any event, on the surface, I see no discernible pattern that can help decipher in what order the recutting of the the FL's, the IL's, and all of the other so called "normal recutting" (e.g., the triangles) might have taken place?

I was corresponding with a fellow plater on this subject yesterday -- who raised another interesting line of thinking that might go something like this:

I think if you read Baxter's book, Printing Postage Stamps by Line Engraving, he describes how they engrave a die -- which is basically that you push a burin forward to incise a line.

For many 3-cent students, the conventional wisdom and general thinking of recutting frame lines and inner lines has been that the engraver did one stamp at a time, then went on to the next. But based on the recutting that was done on plate 1E, this way of thinking becomes very questionable.

For example -- say an engraver had a plate of 200 that was just created sitting on his workbench. He would also likely have a printed proof sheet to see where clean-up (i.e., recutting) was needed -- and perhaps even marked up the proof sheet accordingly. Any recut lines he now engraves are made by pushing the graver forward and away from him. This makes sense for for "vertical" lines (i.e., RFL, LFL and both IL's), but he would have to rotate the plate 90 degrees for the horizontal FL's (i.e., BFL and TFL). Get the picture?

So the engraver might recut (say) the side frame lines and inner lines, position by position -- which could be done either by horizontal row, or vertical column. Either way, it would seem that the engraver would want to minimize the number of times that he would have to rotate the plate. Could the engraver recut a whole vertical column of 10 stamps from top to bottom without moving the plate (i.e., rotating it 180 degrees)? Even more questionable, is could the engraver do a whole horizontal row of 20 stamps (again, think "plate of 200", not "pane of 100") without rotating the plate? I don't know.

In any event, since you "push forward" a graver to make a recut, once the side FL's and IL's were done, to do the top and bottom FL's the engraver would have to rotate the plate 90 degrees. I presume that rotating the plate would have been a nuisance for the engraver -- and would have slowed down the production process -- and thus, TCC would want to minimize the number of times that this "rotation" needed to be done, so perhaps TCC attempted to do all the recuts of one direction at the same time -- then rotate the plate and follow through with all of the recuts going in the other direction?

Then again, there those other so called "normal recuts", such as triangles -- where the engraver would want the plate in the same orientation as for the side FL's and IL's.

Anyhow, your question got me thinking -- and I don't know if any of the foregoing is relevant -- but one thing is for sure -- and that is that whatever happened at TCC back in 1851 with regard to how the recutting was actually done in a business production capacity (i.e., where time is money -- and efficiency and increased productivity are the goals) is still an unsolved mystery -- but obviously, a few years later when they got to plates 4, 6, 7, and 8 they decided that recutting the IL's wasn't worth it and abandoned that part of the process entirely -- probably driven by a cost / benefit analysis?

Enough of my rambling -- and curious if anybody else has any other thoughts or ideas on this subject?

Regards // ioagoa
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Edited by ioagoa - 10/02/2020 3:22 pm
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Posted 10/02/2020   4:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Gee, thank you for the response and your thoughts on the subject. I never really thought about the 'order' of the process - I guess my mindset was simply that they recut the plate stamp-by-stamp. You make a cogent argument against that. It WOULD be easier to do all the out FL's, then all the (whatever feature is next), and so on. Since the outer FL's are heavy lines, perhaps they required a different sized tool than the finer lines that make up so much of the rest of the design. And, maybe the IL's and triangles, etc, could all be done with one tool, so they got done stamp-by-stamp and as-needed, so their pattern of completion seems somewhat random. I have also (probably mistakenly) been living under the assumption that they did all the re-cutting that they felt was necessary - never thinking that maybe the process was interrupted at some point in order to get the presses back up and running (and making $$$). So... 160-170 years later, we are not seeing a finished product, but a good-enough product. It is all a very interesting line of thought!!
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