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What we collect!
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General Philatelic/Supplies, Literature & Software : UV Light & Color Chart

 

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Larryc3a
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23 Oct 2009
12:33:12pm
As a new collector, it seems I must invest in a UV light and a color chart to help me identify stamps. Can someone give advice? Long wave vs short wave? Haven't seen many for sale on stamp websites which makes me think maybe I don't really need one. But how else can tagging be determined? If I should get one, where do you recommend and what model? Or, at least, what can I expect to pay for one?
I've seen color charts ranging from $5.00 to $45.00. Why the big price difference? Should I buy a Scott's guide so the color descriptions in their cataloge coincide with the color chart or are color names universal?
Thanks for your help. Larry
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Bobstamp
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23 Oct 2009
01:18:28pm
re: UV Light & Color Chart

As an un-new collector, I must say that you don't necessarily need either a UV light or a color chart.

In my opinion, color charts are pretty much a waste of money. Many things affect apparent or actual stamp color, including exposure to natural or fluorescent UV over a stamp's lifetime, exposure to color-changing chemicals, natural fading due to age (color fades even when items are held in climate-controlled, lightless environments). The actual color of a stamp seems to me to be a matter of subjective opinion rather than objective evidence; peoples' color perception differs, as well, so what is "carmine" to me may be "red" to you.

In practice, whenever I've tried to use a color chart, the stamps I am trying to identify have been different than any of the sample colors.

(There's also the fact that different catalogues assign different color names to identical stamps. It gets rather confusing!)

UV lamps are useful largely for identifying the tagging and paper types of some modern stamps. IF you are interesting in collecting varieties of those stamps, then you will need a UV light; if you are collecting stamps of only one country, either a short- or a long-wave lamp will be fine, depending on the country. But if you are collecting stamps of several countries, a lamp combining short- and long-wave technology will be better.

As a beginning collector, I would suggest that you start accumulating whatever stamps strike your fancy. Don't waste money on stamps that don't appeal to you. Eventually you'll settle on a country or countries and a period or periods, and as you learn more about them you'll be able to decide whether you need color charts and UV lamps. At this stage, better purchases would be philatelic books and journals, especially if money is tight.

Bob Ingraham

(Message edited by Bobstamp on October 23, 2009)

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amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads

23 Oct 2009
01:54:11pm
re: UV Light & Color Chart

Larry,

i'm with bob on color charts; they are a waste of money. colors assigned by Scott seem inconsistent to me; but that's hardly the biggest obstacle. Colors change. Unless your book changes at the same rate as the colors on the stamps, well.... Worse, there are many environmental factors that affect color, including sunlight, dirt, detergent, etc. Why would anyone think that the six shades of bister are original rather than result of time and trouble. I ask people whose opinions i value to give me good examples of similar colors: a friend gave me stamps with blue and ultra examples that helps me. I also ask my wife often what color is this? (she's a painter; and my color vision was never discriminating).

Of course, different catalogues used different color names. I like the example of early Czech definities; take the A8 design where one value is labeled bister: I have pages of this stamp with colors ranging from a light khaki to something closer to the brown in suits Ronald Reagan liked to wear. All with the same name. What good would a catalogue do?

As to a UV lamp, i thik they are useful. I'd buy something cheap that gives you both SW and LW. I bought one for about $20 15 years aga and it still works fine (I changed the batteries once). It will help determine whether something is tagged or not, and that is often the sole distinguishing factor between two stamps, occasionally with one valueless and the other a modern rarity. They are worth having even for the non-specialist.

Enjoy

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"Save the USPS, buy stamps; save the hobby, use commemoratives"

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Larryc3a
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23 Oct 2009
06:06:42pm
re: UV Light & Color Chart

Thanks to both of you for your advice. It helps to hear from people who know.
Larry

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Harley

24 Oct 2009
04:32:28am
re: UV Light & Color Chart

If you do use a color chart, you need 2. One for U.S. stamps (ie:- Scotts),and one for foreign- (ie:-Stanley).

As to UV lamps, short wave is more for showing tagging varieties, and long wave is better for close looks at condition of a stamp, such as thins,small almost invisible tares,gum condition, etc.
My sw uv, doesnt seem to work right, for all I see is a grey color and everyone else sees green. With one exception--U.S. 20 cent flags glow a pinkish purple(block tagged).

For the most part,you dont really need either of these-color charts and uv lamps.
But there are exceptions to every aspect of stamp collecting.There exist's some rareity types that command attention. And can only be determined to be so,,by examination useing various methodical observations,inspections,and opinions by means of above mentioned tools,and professional opinions .

A minimum catalogue value item could become a high value ,,just because of a color shade,or a tagging error,or specific tagging variety.
New discoveries of these varieties are showing up on a regular basis lately. I believe it's because of the quality control,or lack of, under the new printing methods,and contract requirements between USPS and current printers.(IMHO).
edit to add-- color charts are for "mint" condtion stamps. Once used,the color changes due to various reasons.

TOM

(Message edited by HARLEY on October 24, 2009)

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Author/Postings
Members Picture
Larryc3a

23 Oct 2009
12:33:12pm

As a new collector, it seems I must invest in a UV light and a color chart to help me identify stamps. Can someone give advice? Long wave vs short wave? Haven't seen many for sale on stamp websites which makes me think maybe I don't really need one. But how else can tagging be determined? If I should get one, where do you recommend and what model? Or, at least, what can I expect to pay for one?
I've seen color charts ranging from $5.00 to $45.00. Why the big price difference? Should I buy a Scott's guide so the color descriptions in their cataloge coincide with the color chart or are color names universal?
Thanks for your help. Larry

Like
Login to Like
this post
Members Picture
Bobstamp

23 Oct 2009
01:18:28pm

re: UV Light & Color Chart

As an un-new collector, I must say that you don't necessarily need either a UV light or a color chart.

In my opinion, color charts are pretty much a waste of money. Many things affect apparent or actual stamp color, including exposure to natural or fluorescent UV over a stamp's lifetime, exposure to color-changing chemicals, natural fading due to age (color fades even when items are held in climate-controlled, lightless environments). The actual color of a stamp seems to me to be a matter of subjective opinion rather than objective evidence; peoples' color perception differs, as well, so what is "carmine" to me may be "red" to you.

In practice, whenever I've tried to use a color chart, the stamps I am trying to identify have been different than any of the sample colors.

(There's also the fact that different catalogues assign different color names to identical stamps. It gets rather confusing!)

UV lamps are useful largely for identifying the tagging and paper types of some modern stamps. IF you are interesting in collecting varieties of those stamps, then you will need a UV light; if you are collecting stamps of only one country, either a short- or a long-wave lamp will be fine, depending on the country. But if you are collecting stamps of several countries, a lamp combining short- and long-wave technology will be better.

As a beginning collector, I would suggest that you start accumulating whatever stamps strike your fancy. Don't waste money on stamps that don't appeal to you. Eventually you'll settle on a country or countries and a period or periods, and as you learn more about them you'll be able to decide whether you need color charts and UV lamps. At this stage, better purchases would be philatelic books and journals, especially if money is tight.

Bob Ingraham

(Message edited by Bobstamp on October 23, 2009)

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2 Members
like this post.
Login to Like.

www.ephemeraltreasur ...
Members Picture
amsd

Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
23 Oct 2009
01:54:11pm

re: UV Light & Color Chart

Larry,

i'm with bob on color charts; they are a waste of money. colors assigned by Scott seem inconsistent to me; but that's hardly the biggest obstacle. Colors change. Unless your book changes at the same rate as the colors on the stamps, well.... Worse, there are many environmental factors that affect color, including sunlight, dirt, detergent, etc. Why would anyone think that the six shades of bister are original rather than result of time and trouble. I ask people whose opinions i value to give me good examples of similar colors: a friend gave me stamps with blue and ultra examples that helps me. I also ask my wife often what color is this? (she's a painter; and my color vision was never discriminating).

Of course, different catalogues used different color names. I like the example of early Czech definities; take the A8 design where one value is labeled bister: I have pages of this stamp with colors ranging from a light khaki to something closer to the brown in suits Ronald Reagan liked to wear. All with the same name. What good would a catalogue do?

As to a UV lamp, i thik they are useful. I'd buy something cheap that gives you both SW and LW. I bought one for about $20 15 years aga and it still works fine (I changed the batteries once). It will help determine whether something is tagged or not, and that is often the sole distinguishing factor between two stamps, occasionally with one valueless and the other a modern rarity. They are worth having even for the non-specialist.

Enjoy

Like
Login to Like
this post

"Save the USPS, buy stamps; save the hobby, use commemoratives"

juicyheads.com/link. ...
Members Picture
Larryc3a

23 Oct 2009
06:06:42pm

re: UV Light & Color Chart

Thanks to both of you for your advice. It helps to hear from people who know.
Larry

Like
Login to Like
this post
Harley

24 Oct 2009
04:32:28am

re: UV Light & Color Chart

If you do use a color chart, you need 2. One for U.S. stamps (ie:- Scotts),and one for foreign- (ie:-Stanley).

As to UV lamps, short wave is more for showing tagging varieties, and long wave is better for close looks at condition of a stamp, such as thins,small almost invisible tares,gum condition, etc.
My sw uv, doesnt seem to work right, for all I see is a grey color and everyone else sees green. With one exception--U.S. 20 cent flags glow a pinkish purple(block tagged).

For the most part,you dont really need either of these-color charts and uv lamps.
But there are exceptions to every aspect of stamp collecting.There exist's some rareity types that command attention. And can only be determined to be so,,by examination useing various methodical observations,inspections,and opinions by means of above mentioned tools,and professional opinions .

A minimum catalogue value item could become a high value ,,just because of a color shade,or a tagging error,or specific tagging variety.
New discoveries of these varieties are showing up on a regular basis lately. I believe it's because of the quality control,or lack of, under the new printing methods,and contract requirements between USPS and current printers.(IMHO).
edit to add-- color charts are for "mint" condtion stamps. Once used,the color changes due to various reasons.

TOM

(Message edited by HARLEY on October 24, 2009)

Like
Login to Like
this post
        

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