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General Philatelic/Supplies, Literature & Software : How do you check watermarks?

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Harvey
14 May 2019
12:43:44pm
I'm very old school when it comes to watermarks and still use lighter fluid and a dark background. I am curious about the electronic watermark detectors. It's not the money that bothers me - I just want to know how well they work and if there is one type or model that is better than the others.
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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
14 May 2019
01:25:36pm
re: How do you check watermarks?

Click on the link below to find other Stamporama discussions related to the question that you asked.

https://stamporama.com/discboard/disc_main.php?action=20&id=17156#129246

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51Studebaker
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Dialysis, damned if you do...dead if you don't
14 May 2019
03:41:54pm
re: How do you check watermarks?

http://stampsmarter.com/learning/HowToDetectWatermark.html

The 'How To' section also contains videos on checking watermarks
http://stampsmarter.com/learning/Home_HowTo.html

Don

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Harvey
14 May 2019
06:58:58pm
re: How do you check watermarks?

I appreciate the responses, but I'm wondering if the problem isn't me and my eyes. I have a bunch of early US Philippines stamps ( Scott 241 to 302 ) Which are either single line PIPS, double line PIPS or unwatermarked. I've looked at a bunch so far and can't seem to find a watermark. I don't seem to remember having this problem when I was younger. It's frustrating and I thinking about kidnapping a kid to help me out. I'm looking for a magic solution or I might just have to give up on those stamps!!!

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michael78651
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14 May 2019
07:11:57pm
re: How do you check watermarks?

The placements of the watermarks on US stamps is not like on British stamps. The letters on US watermarks can be anything from an entire letter, or just portions of them. They also are often not easily seen. It's even possible for a watermarked variety to show no watermark. Of course, it could always be that the stamps you have are not watermarked.

If you have a Scott US Specialized Catalogue, around page 30A, it is shown how the placement of the watermark on a pane of US stamps appears for both the single and double line watermarks.

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51Studebaker
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Dialysis, damned if you do...dead if you don't
14 May 2019
07:31:24pm
re: How do you check watermarks?

http://stampsmarter.com/learning/Manuf_LocationsWatermarks.html

A simple and easy tool allows you to visualize how US watermarks can only show a small portion of the mark.
Don

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Harvey
14 May 2019
07:32:45pm
re: How do you check watermarks?

Thanks Michael I was actually trying to remember where I saw that illustration. I'm going to wait until I'm in a real good mood and try checking the stamps again. I doubt if they are all unwatermarked, but I had forgotten how difficult it can be to find watermarks on early US stamps. I guess the rule of thumb is that if you can't find a watermark then there isn't one, unless that makes the stamp valuable - that means it's probably there but you can't see it!!!

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michael78651
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14 May 2019
07:55:06pm
re: How do you check watermarks?

I understand how it can be trying to find watermarks on many early US issues, or trying to ID Chinese overprinted definitives. I usually get back into a good mood after a bottle or two of tequila (depending on how much trauma I suffered trying to ID the stamps). Silly

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BermudaSailor
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14 May 2019
09:09:04pm
re: How do you check watermarks?

When searching for watermarks - which are always there - on Bermuda Key Plates (especially red ones) using the lighter fluid method, I can look for 30 minutes, and often go cross eyed in the process. Some times it takes two or more such sessions - again the red ones - before I meet with success. I too have wondered about automating the process by employing one of the gadgets on the market, but I understand that they’re not always that cooperative.

David

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DaveSheridan
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14 May 2019
09:13:34pm

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re: How do you check watermarks?

I was talked into buying an electronic watermark detector. It sits redundantly on my desk while I use fluid!

I find that turning the stamp while checking often helps, it can make the watermark face-palmingly (word??) easy to see sometimes.

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kgvistamps
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Collecting King George VI from all countries, and King Edward VII and King George V from the West Indies.
15 May 2019
08:47:20am
re: How do you check watermarks?

I collect and sell British Colony stamps. I have twin spotlamps on my stamp desk with 60 watt bulbs. The lamps combined with putting the stamp on black paper helps me find most watermarks. I use watermark fluid for the tough ones, but I find that doesn't work for every thing. The New Zealand Postal Fiscal issues and the QEII 1970's issues seem to be almost impossible to view no matter what I try. Does anyone have any luck with these watermarks?

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angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
15 May 2019
11:24:43am
re: How do you check watermarks?

kvistamps,

Do you put your lights at some specific angle tp get best results?

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
15 May 2019
05:27:22pm
re: How do you check watermarks?

Quote:

"QEII 1970's issues seem to be almost impossible to view no matter"



I have mentioned this in passing in the past regarding how to determine the watermark of the 1970 QEII issues. I have noticed that the gum on the stamps with Watermark #373 (Scott) have a bluish or greenish blue tint. Other stamps from that era tend to have white or yellowish gum.
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kgvistamps
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Collecting King George VI from all countries, and King Edward VII and King George V from the West Indies.
15 May 2019
06:04:21pm
re: How do you check watermarks?

My spotlamps are adjustable so I can move them around as needed to get the best angle. I bought them at an Office Supply store for about $15 each. So not a big investment.

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TuskenRaider
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17 May 2019
12:35:57pm
re: How do you check watermarks?

Hi Everyone;

@ Michael;


For watermark detection trauma I religiously use Beefeaters London Dry Gin, with a drop or so of Rose's lime juice.

Now where did I throw that useless watermark tray...

Still just sortin'...
TuskenRaider

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Harvey
17 May 2019
06:33:48pm
re: How do you check watermarks?

Just wondering - is that what you put in the tray or is that what you drink instead of checking watermarks? Do you drink what's in the tray when you finish and should we wring out the stamps when done. Sounds like a great idea, but would vodka work as well?

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kgvistamps
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Collecting King George VI from all countries, and King Edward VII and King George V from the West Indies.
18 May 2019
09:05:12am
re: How do you check watermarks?

You boys have moved off topic, but I like the direction.

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
18 May 2019
12:26:18pm
re: How do you check watermarks?

Yeah, but now you'll have to question when they say that they discovered inverted and circling watermarks on their stamps!

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nlroberts1961
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23 May 2019
08:14:45am
re: How do you check watermarks?

If the watermarks are hard to detect i don't think you can beat the old fluid method, lighter or otherwise. But for easier stuff I use a Light Box. Its easier than staring at light bulbs and you can spread a pile on there at a time. They are pretty cheap now that LEDs have changed the market. Just a get a bright one. It doesn't work for tough ones and I suspect most of the electronic stuff does not either. I am still in the process of experimenting with photographic filters in conjunction with the light box as some of the early detectors used to include various filters to improve the clarity.

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Harvey
23 May 2019
03:47:02pm
re: How do you check watermarks?

I'm seriously thinking about asking my stamp dealer to do the watermarks for me - it's worth $60 per hour to keep my sanity!!! The early US Philippines stuff is driving me up the wall! I think I've totally lost my patience, I don't remember it being such a pain years ago. I gave up stamp collecting for about 10 years when my wife used to do the watermarks before then. When she died about 5 years ago I dug out the stamp collection again and I now appreciate her patience more!

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angore
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Enjoying the little works of art
23 May 2019
05:47:08pm
re: How do you check watermarks?

It has to take practice to spot partial watermarks in difficult situations: colored paper, cancellations, disturbed gum, etc that impair a clean view. On US stamps, you have to see a fragment of a character.

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