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The Frustrations Of Color - The German Krone/Adler Browns

 
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
2604 Posts
Posted 08/01/2022   11:04 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add PostmasterGS to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
For the past 3 years, I had been separated from most of my stamp collection, as I didn't trust the movers to safely get it to/from Japan undamaged. Due to me recent retirement, I'm once again reunited, and I set about to consolidate the stamps I acquired while in Japan with those I had left behind.

So, I started with my German New Guinea pages, and I made it all the way to page 1 before I hit a snag. The brown shades didn't appear correct.

For those who don't collect this area, the first issues of many of the German colonies were overprints of the German Krone/Adler (Crown/Eagle) issues of 1889. These issues are notorious for their color shades.

When Michel lists the colonies overprints, they include in parentheses the underlying issue (ex. 45 e).

As you can see, not all the shades were overprints, and the order in which the shades are listed isn't consistent across the colonies, presumably because they were discovered in different order. This can make deciphering the shades a real pain, as it requires a lot of cross referencing against exemplars from other colonies and the original Krone/Adlers.

So back to my German New Guinea problem. I was presented with these five issues. On the reverse you can see they are all certified, with colors included via the letters "b" and "c" (ignore the "I" suffixes, as that's a plate flaw).

...And they don't match.

I contacted the expert who is currently the go-to for these, Michael Jäschke-Lantelme, who previously certified the outer two on the bottom row. He told me something I wasn't aware of.

Translated:

Quote:
Dr. Steuer adhered to Mr. Zenker's early color differentiation, while today Mr. Zenker's late differentiation is used for expertizing (he has been expertizing the original stamps for over 40 years and has had to revise his findings from time to time due to his many years of research).

So for those with German stamps of this series, be aware that the identifications on your stamps of this series may not be accurate to the current catalog if the expertization is an older one.

So now I get to package up a bunch of browns and ship them to Germany in an attempt to get them accurately identified. More fun with USPS!
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Presenting the GermanStamps.net Collection - Germany, Colonies, & Occupied Territories, 1872-1945

Pillar Of The Community
United States
5976 Posts
Posted 08/01/2022   6:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
On these issues it would be better to expertize color by having stamps with Margin markings . Because loose used stamps have been exposed to chemicals ,sunlight and water plus other factors . Here are my stamps showing additional margin ink to confirm any shades .

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Valued Member
Romania
496 Posts
Posted 08/02/2022   04:28 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cupram to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi PostmasterGS
I agree with the complexity of naming the colors in the Michel catalog (and changing the names over time)
But I think it is the most detailed and clear catalog in the description of colors.
In the catalog for the Michel 45 stamp, the old names of the colors are also mentioned in square brackets.



With an older catalog (which has the old names of the colors) you can identify which color corresponds to the letters "a, b, c" on the expertise and then update them with the new letters and names.
I found this series of stamps on the "stampsx" website. Maybe it's helpful.
Top row: 45e, 45c, 45d, 45ca
Bottom row: 45e, 45c, 45cb



I don't think that a new expertise is necessary; only the names of the colors have changed.
George
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United States
10632 Posts
Posted 08/02/2022   05:52 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Colors/hues of ink change over time; the color/hue of any particular stamp 75 years ago is NOT the same is it is seen today.

Colors are visible light waves bouncing off the surface of a stamp, so the color we see is 100% related to the ambient light source. So if one of the experts viewed a stamp color in 1889, their choice would have been view at some level of natural light or view at some level a gas/fire (yellow) light.

Looking at the same stamp colors today under florescent, LED, incandescent light will present a completely different color than those use decades ago.

When I read about the older color experts, my level of confidence is first based upon their understanding (and definition) of their ambient lighting. Secondly, I look to see if they know basic color theory terms like color/hue/shade/tint. I respect the older experts but color science is color science. I feel the same frustration.
Don
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Posted 08/02/2022   08:24 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Every time I see these color discussions now I cannot help but think about how imprecise and unscientific ink mixing and printing was for stamps one hundred plus years ago. From the raw materials to the measuring of same to the working environment, conditions were ripe for inconsistency.

How do the experts and catalogs arrive at their varieties and conclusions? I would assume that today it involves a spectrometer and a VSC6000 but that was not the case that long ago. More importantly, how are the colors tied back to specific periods of production? If it is manufacturing records how do they correlate to workers in a gas-lit room instituting the specifications using beakers or other vessels to measure by eye the raw organic constituents and mix them uniformly by hand.

Sorry if this tangential in any way but I have not been able to wrap my head around how these catalog/expert declarations become fact.
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Netherlands
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Posted 08/03/2022   07:41 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Gibbons uses a reference collection for the shades. In the 1920s, they compiled a stamp colour chart with labels that appeared like stamps printed by the actual stamp printers in the inks used.

You, completely, are correct that there was 'inconsistency' when mixing the inks. A 'shade' is a range of colour. The identification is the closest match, not an exact match to the chart and to their reference (GB and Commonwealth) collections.

One example of Dutch stamps that was subject to a change in type of pigments, the 'Hangend Haar' stamps of Princess Wilhelmina (1890s), also shows that the mixing was still pretty consistent at the time. But more printings will give rise to more variation.
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Posted 08/03/2022   08:57 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A shade is a color(hue) plus black. A tint is a color(hue) plus white. Anyone who actually works mixing colors (artists, printing people, auto painters, house painters, textile dyers, etc.) do not define the term shade to mean 'any other color' as many lay people use the term 'shade'.

Printed color guides (or any other color guide) are only accurate for a few years after being printed. After that, the colors begin change (just like stamps) as they age.
Don

Edit:
Basic visible colors are light waves and are typically represented as a color wheel. Shades and Tints are variations of the basic hues on the color wheel


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Netherlands
1704 Posts
Posted 08/03/2022   10:29 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Don,

Your lectures on colours are helpful and interesting.

At the same time, when I want to buy a certain specialised GB 'shade,' I do not get far by discussing the correctness of the word 'shade.' Practically, I do not expect catalogues to be issued that classify dark green as a shade, light green as a tint, yellow green and green hues (as I understand would be the technically correct wording).

'Shade' is a common terminology for philatelists, at least of GB and Commonwealth. NVPH tends to use 'tint' in much the same way as SG uses 'shade' as this is common practice in the Netherlands.

The most common cause for lack of communication is becoming scientific with people who are used to certain words. Communication is all but a science, even if the study of it is a science.

My first blunder was using a word commonly used in Amsterdam, where my roots lie, that has a friendly meaning. The girl I addressed in this way exploded. I quickly learned the same word meant 'whore' in Rotterdam.
My second lesson was with my former Colombian girlfriend. Having learned Castilian in Salamanca, my girlfriend reacted odd to some words that had a simple meaning. Not so in South America where it was used sarcastically and got the opposite meaning.

Keeping in mind what you have written so many times, I tend to put 'shade' in brackets.

What does interest me know is what makes 'deep' and 'pale' colours that SG also includes in 'shades' and that often are caused by deeper or shallower etchings of the printing plates or cylinders.
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United States
344 Posts
Posted 08/03/2022   1:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add StampGuy64 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks Don for the chart. Incidentally, where is the "like" button? :)
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United States
1081 Posts
Posted 08/05/2022   2:09 pm  Show Profile Check ray.mac's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add ray.mac to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Quoting NSK:
Quote:
'Shade' is a common terminology for philatelists, at least of GB and Commonwealth.


NSK, a great observation here. I also certainly understand the definition of shade and tint, but when discussing the different colors of the U.S. 3 cent 1861 #65, there are 7 or 8 that are listed in Scott, but there have been over 54 "shades" identified based on different printings found on dated covers. For us "shade" chasers, it's a great thing that mixing ink was not a perfect science in the 1860's!

Don will chuckle when he sees this, as we have discussed this very topic several times in the past (and although I haven't responded to his health-related post, it's really great to hear he's doing well!!!!)- and those of us who chase colors will continue to call them "shades", regardless of the definition.

So, GB and the Commonwealth, and here in the States, the word "shade" is very acceptable in discussing different varieties of color of the same stamp. Thanks for posting, and Don, thanks for the continued education on Color!

Ray
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Posted 08/05/2022   2:21 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The issue becomes significant (in my mind) when people want to discuss mixing of color (i.e. like in this thread above).

ANYONE who has ever dealt with mixing color will use shade to mean a hue/color plus black. Period, end of story. These kinds of highly experienced color folks have to speak 'on the same page' with other color experts.

I have only a small passing interest in how other folks use nomenclature, others can say 'shade' when they mean 'hue' or they can say 'axe' when they mean 'ask'. <shrugs> I only control what goes on between my ears and a little bit of this community as Moderator. As Moderator, I want to prevent misunderstandings so for the last year or two I only bring 'shade' definition up in color threads when mixing of colors comes up.
Don
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Netherlands
1704 Posts
Posted 08/05/2022   2:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Don.

I greatly appreciate your continued efforts to point out the correct meaning of the word shade.

Still, my stamp dealer must continue to understand what I want: all the listed colours in the SG GB Specialised and Connoisseurs catalogues. If only I could afford them all.
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