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Distinguishing Scott 3980 From 3980A

 
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Posted 08/03/2020   10:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add mstocky2 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Recently I was asked for an opinion on how to distinguish Scott 3980 from 3980a. Scott lists 3980 as overall tagged and 3980a as Prephosphored coated paper with surface tagging showing a solid appearance. I found the 3980a description confusing myself as both varieties are overall tagged.

The questions was whether the 3980 was the one that glows white or green. This question can also be confusing since neither glows "white" under SW UV assuming your UV source is properly filtered. With appropriate filtering, one appears bluish green under SW UV and the other a bright green/yellowish green under SW UV. Under LW UV one does appear whitish. Below are the two examples under SW UV.


The first impression some have is that the one that appears green under SW UV must be the overall tagged one since many overall tagged stamps appear this way. From the images above you can see both are tagged overall i.e. there is taggant covering the printed image.

The question is how to determine the difference. I examined the two under 100x magnification with a SW UV light source. Under magnification it is clear in my opinion which is 3980 and which is 3980a. Note images are somewhat blurry since the dept of field is so shallow and this also challenges a camera's auto focus.

Based on examining the diecut area under SW UV, 3980 is the bluish green example and 3980a is the green/yellowish green example. Under LW UV, 3980 is the one that glows "whitish". Hopefully people find this information helpful.
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Posted 08/04/2020   12:30 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I appreciate the cleverness of your explanation, but I have to say I hope this is not how bizarre stamp identification has become. On the other hand, catalogue makers have been doing this right from the beginning. The earliest U.S. stamps were given different numbers based on the tiniest and least significant details, a tiny dot or an added line or slightly darker ink, mainly to increase the number of stamps collectors could look for. Some of those early numbers of supposedly different stamps have now been withdrawn since, it turns out, they weren't different stamps after all. At least these more modern stamps are differentiated by sub-numbers with "a" and "b" rather than entirely different catalogue numbers. That's a relief. Is there a "broken hat" variety, I wonder? Everyone is free to collect what they want, but I can't get into this level of detail and feel satisfied about it. If two stamps are identical but one glows slightly differently, I'm going to call them the same stamp. Nevertheless, I do admire the extent of your technical ability and your enthusiasm for this kind of detail.
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Posted 08/04/2020   01:58 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add JLLebbert to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for sharing this info.
I initially guessed that the bluish green tagging was 3980 rather than 3980a based on the fact that all of my 3980s exhibit this type of tagging. That I have been unable to locate 3980a, together with the fact that Scott gives no CV for 3980a, made me suspect that 3980a might be a bit scarce. So I have assumed that my 3980s ought to be the most common variety.
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Posted 08/04/2020   9:19 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
"The first impression some have is that the one that appears green under SW UV must be the overall tagged one since many overall tagged stamps appear this way. From the images above you can see both are tagged overall i.e. there is taggant covering the printed image."

Sorry, but I am going to have to strong;y disagree with you - what you have is not one 3980 and one 3980a, but rather two 3980.
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Posted 08/05/2020   9:41 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mstocky2 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You are correct in that both are Overall tagged. Difference is that green one I am convinced, is also on prephos coated paper. It gets its smooth green color from the prephos paper and the green haze from the overall taggant. Overall tagging alone is fairly splotchy under high magnification. Here are three types of AVR tagging. One is Solid (prephos coated paper), one is Solid (prephos coated paper) + Overall and one is Overall.

Anyone care to guess which is which.

My guess is that many AVR stamps printed in this timeframe were on prephos coated paper (Solid tagging)and so this is what they had on hand and used for some.
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Posted 08/06/2020   9:35 pm  Show Profile Check eyeonwall's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add eyeonwall to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I examined a 3980a many years ago - too long ago to remember the details.
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