essay_proof I see what you are saying. Claiming that certification brings "definitive resolution" can be a misleading statement. How many submissions every year are sent back at different times or to different companies with different results? Quite a few. Otherwise there wouldn't be a need for resubmissions. Maybe Don means to say that certification would just give further confluence.
As for submitting a piece like this, I don't believe it's as easy to say "just submit it and find out" since it has never been given an 'official' designation. It is an exception to the norm. Bart has mentioned elsewhere that the PF is very reluctant to validate something potentially new... and this level of reluctance would have less to do with the stamp and more to do with preserving their own reputation. A lot of people don't realize the psychology that can often go into the grading process.
Even an expert can be wrong on paper, and that's okay. They are not perfect and we should not perceive them as such automatically. In fact, these companies need you to be as precise as possible for them to give you an accurate diagnosis. It's not a knock at their ability but is what they in fact ask you to do, and for very good reason. When you go to a doctor, you are asked to clarify where the pain is in your body before they diagnose you, lest we expect them to figure everything out from a single, basic type of examination. Where are they supposed to start looking, and for what exactly?
Even a professional grader is in need of what you think it is so that they can run the *proper tests*, as there are always a multitude of things that it *could be*.
Only by running the proper tests can they come to a proper conclusion. So when you submit something like this to a grader, they are not just going to immediately say "AHA! PELURE PAPER!", as it is not in their immediate range of thinking concerning the banknote series. Good analysis in communities like SCF are necessary before giving an accurate submission, and these discussions create frameworks for the experts to start working in. This is probably why you will not find any double paper submissions in the database that wasn't first labeled as such by the submitter.
Like you suggested essay_proof, one is not inherently more valuable than the other. On the contrary, if one particular group is considered perfect beyond measure it becomes a hindrance to the hobby because it is simply not true.
People will undoubtedly come on here and say "this is an attack on the grading companies", when actually it's the best defence for them to remain opaque in their methods.
Anyways, thank you very much Don for providing the opportunity to openly discuss things here before a submission.
Thanks for the explanation re the difficulty, Stephen.
One of the great advantages of a forum like this is bringing like-minded and like-interested people together, but the obvious disadvantage is that we're going by pseudonyms, and that anonymity makes it hard to know whether the opinions being voiced are speculative or more expert.
I've voiced a certain amount of skepticism at the labeling of the items on that page, specifically for the purpose of suggesting to you that further investigation is required. Maybe what went unvoiced is my sentiment that "you should pursue identification yourself and take it as far as you can go" and encourage you to do so. But it will be crucially important to keep an open mind. More on this shortly.
If the labeling on that page is correct, you have an extraordinary page of stamps on your hands. But as someone else commented, I wouldn't take that labeling at face value. Per my previous comments, I think it's healthy to be skeptical about having that many examples of the "double-paper." But on the other hand, I've learned that sometimes, extraordinary philatelic finds are to be had in hand. It's happened to me more than just a few times over the last 30 years. Such find are not beyond the bounds or means of those of us whose last names aren't Ashbrook or Chase or Joyce. Just look at the thread which orstampman started on his 30˘ large die proof. That's resulted in what is now a 30-page study which I'm currently having peer-reviewed and is already slated for publication. I've also made contact with orstampman and have had that proof in-hand. It is absolutely an extraordinary find. It can happen. But I'm not suggesting that it has happened in your case.
If you do your due diligence, which you've clearly started to do at EssayK's suggestion, and continue along the same lines with the other stamps, you'll be in a much better position all 'round. By all means, find a way to have them expertized. But in the meantime there's no reason you can't further your own investigation. The hardest thing in that regard will be in overcoming "confirmation bias." You have these things labeled on a page, so you now have the excruciatingly difficult task of having to not be influenced by those labels. Use them as a starting point, but then you have to prove in an unbiased manner that they are or are not what they purport to be — hopefully without destroying any of the stamps in the process. Given the proper resources and collaboration, it can be done.
Stephan, Your position on certifications (at least PF certs ) is well documented in your 7 page thread named "Philatelic Foundation Database And Submission Research" http://goscf.com/t/83158
But beyond opinions on certification organization (and leaving the whole 'grading' mess out of this discussion since it is not applicable), I believe knowledgebases constantly grow and change. And that there are many examples of incorrect certifications. But certifications were not my point.
As someone who is getting into and learning about less common US material, I think that you are somewhat geographically challenged in that your options for face-to-face, stamp-in-hand interfacing with US material experts and/or highly experienced US collectors is limited in south eastern Japan. My point is that you and those that lurker (read but do not post) in our community ultimately will need to figure out ways to verify identifications on the less common material (and most certainly anything that approaches material that may be unique).
Whether this includes interfacing with experienced collectors at a show, a club meeting, with dealers, or by sending material in for others to examine, I think it important to have 'IRL' (In Real Life) verifications. Otherwise, a person could walk around for years being incorrect. And when we do not close these threads with 'IRL' vetting, we lose the opportunity to migrate 'anonymous opinions based on questionable images' to 'factual information'.
Think of it this way, would it add influence if I were to list an item for sale as catalog #12345 along with the statement "some anonymous people in an online forum said this is a #12345"? Don
When a person starts paying attention to the paper that stamps are printed on, they will notice lots of different looking papers. For the most part they will only ever have a place in the most specialized of collections. I think the pelure paper stamps are simply a very thin, hard paper not unlike some of the large banknote stamps I have in my collection. Heck, I even have 3c 1857's on paper thin enough to probably be able to read a newspaper through them. I would also be surprised if all of those double paper stamps are genuinely double paper but they certainly could be. The silk paper is certainly a recognized paper variety but I don't think anyone has a perfect answer as to why it exists. It surprises me that you don't have any Continental ribbed paper on those pages. I have already commented on the linen paper and am of the opinion that it is accurately described... but don't expect to get a PF cert for them.
Don- I thought that's what you meant, and you are absolutely correct about the lack of US philatelic-related expertise in this country. It's why I lean so heavily on many of the opinions given here, but I certainly don't trust them blindly. If someone gives sound, descriptive advice on what to look for / how to investigate further, it's easy to match up those words with reality doing one's own research. Anonymous people can still give incredible advice, but it's up to the individual to discern how solid that advice is.
If someone tells me something "is" or "isn't" without being able to explain why, it wouldn't matter how knowledgeable that person *claims* to be. I can not take it at face-value even if it's in my favor. However, this also does not mean they are inherently wrong... but it means that I should try and understand it to the best of my ability if I'm to be considered a 'serious collector'.
I've humbled myself on more than a few occasions in this forum, so hopefully no one thinks I'm just bloviating here, or being unnecessarily combative.
It was mentioned earlier, but I would be happy to send any piece to someone on here that's willing to examine it. This would be way better than talking about endlessly with only pictures, as you and essay-proof had rightfully stated.
Sinclair- there were many ribbed paper examples in the book it came from, just not on this page.
One of the benefits of taking a picture over a scan is that you can angle it in a way that shows the absorbancy of the paper. Scans will not show this because it is encompassed in light.
The ink on these so-called "pelure" samples sits on top of the paper resembling a wet puddle. It is not absorbed into the paper as usual, and is why it appears Hi-Def. The ink actually still looks wet, no exaggeration. Seems like this would only happen if the paper was treated, perhaps sealed in a particular way, similar to wax paper.
Sinclair brings up an interesting point: If pelure paper only means thin paper, we could call the top layer of a double paper example "pelure paper". I'm wondering if there's another way to identify it aside from it's thickness. I have plenty of thin samples as well but the ink is still absorbed into the paper for the most part.
essayk - Could I ask you to take a similar photo of one of your 1870's essays where the light reflects off the ink?
I suggest downloading the patent from that link and reading the text directly from the patent specification instead of relying what you read in the online version (error-prone OCR). My purpose in pointing you to the patent is so that you can become familiar with what the inventor had in mind with his method of producing stamps, the terminology he used, difference in absorbancy, etc.
Note that he refers to the paper used for the printing side as both "blotter" and "tissue" paper.
I would like to return us to the topic of "pelure paper" specifically. In the privacy of our own homes we are free to use language any way we please, but it will not prove very fruitful for us to try here to reinvent a term which has already existed in the hobby for a very long time. Where to look? For those bound to books you can get some help from Fundamentals of Philately (revised edition 1990) by L.Norman Williams, p. 61. He used an image on p.59 which gave me an idea for use here.
This is a scan of the backside of the Bowlsby essay pair shown earlier.
Some of its coloration is due to the distinctive paper, but more to the fact that it was fully gummed.
Here is a detail of the inscription reverse:
To better understand what you are seeing, it is well to consider this definition of pelure paper from a Wikipedia page: pelure - Thin, often brittle, semi-transparent paper and can be either woven or laid and is rendered semi-transparent by the resins used in the manufacturing of the paper. Stamps printed on pelure paper sometimes do not survive wholly intact because of their brittle nature. Pelure is easily identified because of its transparency. Pelure is a French word meaning skin or peel, like that of a banana, which is why sometimes this paper is compared to onionskin paper.
Please note these words: "...is rendered semi-transparent by the resins used in the manufacturing of the paper." We will come back to that.
Here is a reverse side example of pelure paper which was never gummed for an essay by the Philadelphia Bank Note Co. The amount of detail visible through the paper is most remarkable.
I have adjusted the contrast on that image, but here it is raw:
With this bit of background let us attend to the claims being made about the used stamps from the Continental Bank Note Co. being called pelure paper in this thread. By definition pelure paper is intentionally configured for special features by the use of resins added to the slurry in its formulation. It is thin and translucent by design and not mere happenstance. As such there is no evidence whatsoever that the Continental Bank Note Company ever received approval for the issuance of such stamps by the POD. Neither is there evidence that they used such specially formulated paper for proofing or essay design. Work of that kind by others does exist, but not for Continental in its handling of the stamp contract.
Various specialty papers were produced and tested in the U.S. in the 19th century, and some of these experimentals have survived. But each has a particular configuration that makes it distinct. The field is very broad.
However, with respect to true pelure paper for postage stamps, prior to 1900 no such stamps were ever approved for U.S. postage production. What then are we to make of the "thin papers" of the National Bank Note Company and what we are being shown here from Continental? The U.S. Specialized has long acknowledged that certain issues by the National Bank Note company (such as certain of the "E" and "F" grill stamps) were issued on "very thin paper." Here is a poor example of the 1c in ultramarine w/o cancel.
However, the paper on which they are printed is merely a thin version of the paper they generally used, and not specially treated as with the Bowlsby pelure paper tests. Recall that National had designed the Banknote issues for printing on a hard paper with a gelatin sizing agent so the design would stand out cleanly. Continental kept to this formula but with a somewhat less permeable quality. That is what was authorized. But even in its thin state it did not perform with the same level of translucency as is evident in real pelure paper.
It confuses the issue to apply to stamps not intentionally configured as pelure paper a term so specific as "pelure." Thin, hard paper, such as used by National and early Continental in production was never officially configured as "pelure" paper. Nor do those papers have the same level of translucency as true pelure paper.
Anecdotally I can concur with Essay's descriptions of pelure vs. very thin paper. For example I have a US Scott 98 very thin paper stamp that when handled feels and acts just like, wait for it, a 98 of regular paper, only thinner. It is not harder but is more flexible. On the other hand, when I handle the 1919 issues of Latvia (pelure paper) it is an entirely different tactile experience. The paper is hard and "crackly". I think that in the case of papers a feel is at times worth a thousand words.
Sorry for the wait. I got my LiDE 220 in a couple days ago, but it turns out to not be compatible with my Linux rig... I'm keeping it at a friend's house now (who has windows) and made a few scans of the stamp by itself. I decided to take the hinge off the paper, so that when I'm ready I can simply reapply the hinge without hurting the stamp.
I couldn't figure out how to square it up perfectly like essay's scans, but the close-ups you see are cropped versions. Here are the results:
I collaged the front and back with the pelure samples, and then with the "very thin paper" from essayk's collection.
One thing to note here is that the ink and design on the essay is much darker and more solid in contrast to the lightly colored, cross-hatched design of the 3c. Just my opinion, but I don't think it would be wise to make a determination only from what's seen on the reverse, because the essays should naturally be darker than the 3c.
That being said, the inclusion of the 1c ultramarine is extremely beneficial because it closely resemble the pelure essay in terms of 1. 'solidity of design' and 2. 'darkness of color'. This is important for comparison purposes in that even though the inking and design is much lighter on the 3c, we can see that the reverse scan shows clearer design elements than the ultramarine, but not as clear as those from the essay. Technically speaking, when we bridge all three together, this should be the case in regards to a lighter design on what is arguably the same paper as the essay.