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Straits Settlements, Scott #149-167: Chalky Paper Or No?

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Posted 06/05/2019   10:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add EMaxim to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Scott says that only 1c, 3c, 5c and 8c are on ordinary paper. Is that so? I use a microscope and my 6c (Wmk 3) doesn't appear to be on chalky paper either. Same question re Scott #191-204, where Scott says that only the 12c is on ordinary paper, yet my 10c (Wmk 4) appears to be on ordinary as well. Anyone know more about this?
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Posted 06/05/2019   10:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add stallzer to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
For those of us that don't use Scott for commonwealth countries could you post a couple of scans of the stamps in question?
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Posted 06/05/2019   10:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add danko to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
10 cent Ultra (Blue in SG) is on ordinary. 10 c Violet (SG purple) is on chalky.

6c should be on chalky paper according to Scott and SG
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Posted 06/05/2019   10:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add EMaxim to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Sorry, wasn't thinking. Here are the scans. And, assuming that you use Stanley Gibbons for the Commonwealth, do you think that buying a copy would be worthwhile for a merely mid-level collector?
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Posted 06/05/2019   11:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add EMaxim to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Generally, I have no trouble identifying chalky paper. The absence of ink bleeding along the edges of color and the inability to detect fibers are usually decisive for me. In this case, neither stamp seems other than ordinary paper.
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Posted 06/05/2019   11:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add danko to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Well I maybe reading SG incorrectly. Not sure if 198/201 means 198 and 201 or 198 through 201. If / means through, than for first issue 4, 5, 6, and 8 cents are on ordinary paper.

Here you go. Figure it out for your self.






SG is very helpful for Mid -Level collector as it has listed many varieties with decent value, like inverted and reversed WMK's and plate flows. If you do a lot of Commonwealth stamps. It will pay off in the long run.

I have a copy that covers all the commonwealth and empire stamps from 1840 through 1952 in 1 volume. This is all you need.
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Posted 06/06/2019   12:06 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add EMaxim to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Well, I'd be happy to think that the forward slash indicates an inclusive range from one number to the next. That would explain why my 6c claret (SG 200) seems to be on ordinary paper. But my 10c would still have to be on chalky, irrespective of watermark (SG 202 or 231). So, if that's the consensus, I'd better develop a better eye for chalky surfaces. And thanks for your advice on the SG catalogue. I'll look for a used copy for commonwealth and empire through 1952.
Regards, Eric
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Posted 06/06/2019   12:32 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The forward slash does indicate the inclusive range between the two numbers. The SG BC catalogue as now published runs to 1970.
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Posted 06/06/2019   03:41 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Soaking used stamps can remove the look of chalky paper.

The traditional method of confirming chalky paper is to touch the margin of the stamp face with silver. You do not scrape or gouge. That's with real silver, a piece of silver or old silver coin, not just any silvery colored piece of metal. This will leave a gray mark. That mark can be carefully erased with a Mars Staedtler plastic eraser or something similarly scratchproof.
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Edited by hy-brasil - 06/06/2019 03:43 am
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Posted 06/06/2019   04:28 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bobby De La Rue to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Another method of identifying chalkies is to rest the stamp on your (dry) top lip. If it feels cool to the touch it's a chalky.
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Posted 06/06/2019   12:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add EMaxim to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
[Soaking used stamps can remove the look of chalky paper.][/quote]

Not sure I understand. Wasn't the point of chalk-surfaced paper was to prevent re-use of stamps? And wasn't the chalk applied first, so that the ink wouldn't be absorbed into the paper? And soaking would alter the appearance by washing off, not the chalk, but the ink? Which is why we're cautioned against soaking? On the other hand, I've always wondered why there are so many used, chalky surfaced stamps that appear to have survived soaking intact. Were they removed from envelopes by some other means?
In any case, thanks to all of you who've responded. Your willingness to help others is what makes this forum so good.
Eric
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Posted 06/06/2019   2:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add danko to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Never had a problem soaking Chalked surfaced stamps. I would assume that prolonged soaking may wash off the coating.
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Posted 06/06/2019   6:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Generally, I have no trouble identifying chalky paper. The absence of ink bleeding along the edges of color and the inability to detect fibers are usually decisive for me.

Your criteria are too restrictive. Therefore I do think you are having trouble identifying chalky paper. There should be no need to use a microscope to identify chalky paper. Ink bleeding is always possible from someone in the past using the wrong solvent to watermark stamps. The purple inks used can also bleed slightly. Paper weave can still be seen if the chalk surfacing is applied thinly. Water quality in soaking and prolonged soaking can also alter the stamps appearance as would using fibrous or abrasive paper to dry or store the stamps. This is why I said "look of the stamp"; the basic qualities of chalky paper is not changed.

For those unfamiliar with chalky paper, a chalk-based coating is put on the face of the paper used for printing stamps. For stamps, this is printed-side only. Nearly all major magazines today use chalk-surfaced paper as do many modern worldwide stamps. For older British Commonwealth stamps, this paper is glossy to semigloss, clearly seen when held at an oblique angle to light. This can be either polished or dulled by long term album page or paper envelope storage. The chalk coating can be thin (with paper weave visible) or thick. As the 10c stamp above shows, the chalk coating can be in colors. One common but not absolute characteristic is that the surface shows tiny craters from bubbles in the coating material.


Quote:
Wasn't the point of chalk-surfaced paper was to prevent re-use of stamps?

Absolutely not. It is used to improved print quality by helping ink stick better to the surface.


Quote:
And wasn't the chalk applied first, so that the ink wouldn't be absorbed into the paper?

Yes, applied first but to aid ink absorption.


Quote:
Which is why we're cautioned against soaking? On the other hand, I've always wondered why there are so many used, chalky surfaced stamps that appear to have survived soaking intact. Were they removed from envelopes by some other means?

That is a general warning. Not all chalky paper stamps react by losing their printing. Certainly most George V chalky paper stamps do not have this problem, although there still can be slight running of inks in the purple range. You can be cautious by soaking the backs only or floating chalky paper stamps face up on water. But yes, there are many, many George V chalky paper stamps that have been soaked and have survived intact.

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Edited by hy-brasil - 06/06/2019 6:11 pm
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Posted 06/07/2019   9:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add EMaxim to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you, hy-brasil. Very helpful. What's caused me trouble, perhaps, is that I've seen some examples of what must be a rather thick application of the chalk solution, hence stamps which, when tilted to light, show a quite glossy surface and, under magnification, a strikingly sharp and clear design with almost nothing of the paper weave. By comparison, the two I've scanned above, look no different from stamps on ordinary paper. So I like your idea that the surface can be dulled by prolonged storage, and that a thinner application of chalk solution may allow more of the paper's fibers and weave to show. It might also allow more ink bleed at the edges of the design.
Additionally, I would note that in Stanley Gibbons' Philatelic Terms Illustrated, 1987, distinguishes chalk-surfaced paper from chalky paper: the former a "highly surfaced, chalk-coated paper introduced by De La Rue in 1902 and used for many British and colonial stamps. Any attempt to remove the postmark causes damage to the surface. For this reason also, great care should be taken not to soak such stamps." This chalk-surfacing "may be detected by a silver pencil or coin which leaves a black mark." Chalky paper, by contrast, is "sometimes loosely used as a synonym for chalk-surfaced paper but more properly applied to the whiter paper introduced to British stamps in April 1962 to improve appearance. This chalky paper does not respond to the silver test." This latter, chalky paper, would seem to be what's now used in magazines and modern stamps. So at certain points we may be talking about two different processes.
Yet L.N. Williams' Fundamentals of Philately (American Philatelic Society, rev'd 1990) says both terms are loosely used "for paper coated with a solution containing a suspension of chalk, as a precaution against cleaning and re-use of the stamps. Chalky paper can be detected because when rubbed with silver it leaves a black mark. If the surface is wetted the design is ruined. Examples are found in many issues of the British Commonwealth between, say, 1902 and 1911." He means, I believe, that soaking, especially if prolonged, will begin to dissolve the chalk and, with it, the design.

Here are two other sources that I found helpful:https://www.austrianphilately.com/chalk/index.htm

http://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?t=15163

There's also a good discussion, largely confirming SG and Williams, in the Stamp Production Process Forum on this site.

Thanks again to all who responded.

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Posted 06/08/2019   01:03 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If chalky paper of the Edward VII/George V era was intended to be a security measure, it was a failure, probably from the start. And chalky paper was not adopted by all Commonwealth countries during this period. Stupidity? Being cheap? Or knowledge that chalky paper did not prevent reuse? Commonwealth high value stamps with pen or handstamp cancel removed without major disturbance of any printing were known for the longest time with evidence that at least some were successfully reused. That would mean contemporaneous use. Of course, stamps with revenue cancels removed are still found and are not uncommon.

The reverse problem came when any tiny mark including a test mark on a Commonwealth high value was considered "pen cancel removed" by the Philatelic Foundation sometime in the 1950s-1960s.
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Posted 06/08/2019   08:33 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Germania to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here is an example of a DDR stamp. Normal paper on the left, chalky paper on the right.
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