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General Philatelic/Newcomer Cnr : Help with watermark identifying

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StampGuy78
Hi I'm a newbie to the Stamp collecting world.I'm always up for trading so if you to like to trade feel free to contact me.
21 Apr 2012
10:27:02pm
Hello I have a newbie question about watermarks.What is the easiest way to look for watermarks?On some of my stamps it's somewhat easy to tell which is which.On others it's not I can barely tell if it has one.I have a few stamps that should have them but don't so I can't be sure which printing it's suppose to be,and there would only be two printings of it one with one watermark,and the other with a different watermark.Is there a trick to tell or do I need to spend some money on some machine that can detect the watermarks.Any help would great thank you.
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michael78651
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21 Apr 2012
11:38:32pm
re: Help with watermark identifying

The traditional equipment is a black plastic tray and watermark fluid. People also use lighter fluid, but if you go that route, you have to be careful and use it in a well ventilated area.

I would not waste my money on any watermark detector. They can be expensive and while a few people praise their glory, most comments I have seen, and my own experiences have not been good.

If you have a scanner, there is a process to bring out the watermark on a stamp. I haven't tried it, so I will let someone who has explain that, if they want.

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DaSaintFan
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22 Apr 2012
12:01:13am
re: Help with watermark identifying

i'll vouch that the lighter fluid works GREAT... i was just going through some of my Italian "syracuse coin" collection.. that I wasn't sure which watermark they used til i tried the lighter fluid.. and it doesn't take much to get it to come out (just a quick splash at most).

although I have some that just don't seem to have any watermark, but there may still be too much paper on the backs of those (even thin as it is) to pull the watermark out.

Although now i have a couple of them that dont' fit the measurement size for ANY of the listed ones... didn't think I'd hit that issue... (stupid things measures 20.5 mm in the frame on some of them, but there AIN'T no stamp with that measurement! It's supposed to be 19.5 to 20 (for one type) and 21 for the other.. and they don't fit either!! ARGH!)

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auldstampguy
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22 Apr 2012
12:30:51am
re: Help with watermark identifying

Hi Brady,
We have had a couple of very good discussion on watermark detecting. Here is a link to one of them. I hope it helps a little.

click here for discussion on watermarks

Regards ... TIm.

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StampGuy78
Hi I'm a newbie to the Stamp collecting world.I'm always up for trading so if you to like to trade feel free to contact me.
22 Apr 2012
01:11:50am
re: Help with watermark identifying

Thanks advice Tim going to have to try the scanner trick sounds interesting.

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"When I was 5 years old,my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.When I went to school,they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.I wrote down 'happy' They told me I didn't understand the assignment,and I told them they didn't unde"
StampGuy78
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22 Apr 2012
01:14:04am
re: Help with watermark identifying

Thanks michael going to to the store next week and get me some fluid and a black plastic tray just in case the scanner trick doesn't work.

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Grandpa
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22 Apr 2012
12:56:15pm
re: Help with watermark identifying

FWIW, I've had good luck with a lighter fluid alternative of sorts. I went to Lowe's and picked up a can of "VM&P Naphtha", basically what Ronsonol lighter fluid is. The quart can cost me $7.50 and is a lot cheaper than regular lighter fluid. I did this because an on-going collection of mine is one for watermarks so I tend to use more than a normal person would. I've been doing this for over a year and not noted any damage to any WW stamps yet. But like with all things, YMMV.
John D.

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cdj1122
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22 Apr 2012
11:15:41pm
re: Help with watermark identifying

And I'll add that I have been using Rubbing Alcohol (Isopropyl) for close to fifty years as an inexpensive alternative to Watermark Fluid or Lighter Fluid and something that is probably a little bit less explosive.
But a well ventilated is still sine qua non.
The odor is less objectional also.

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George
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23 Apr 2012
06:16:34am
re: Help with watermark identifying

I normally wouldn't use chemicals on stamps, but there was a watermark on a fairly inexpensive stamps that I just couldn't make out, so I tried using alcohol.

It worked well, the watermark showed up, but when the stamp dried, it was no longer flat.

Any advice on how to prevent the problem next time?

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ramanandn
23 May 2012
03:35:35pm
re: Help with watermark identifying

Hi all,

I've been a member of another stamp discussion board where there was a descriptive procedure given to extract the watermark using the scanner. Posted below is a link

http://www.stampcommunity.org/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=15246&SearchTerms=watermark

If I have violated any rules, please let me know; I will remove the link.

Cheers
Ram

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DaSaintFan
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23 May 2012
05:25:48pm
re: Help with watermark identifying

I've seen some people say the scanner idea for a watermark ONLY works with certain scanners/software. And some stamps WILL NOT come through on that.

I've been tempted to try it... but as I can get zippo lighter fluid for fairly cheap, i haven't had the need yet.

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DRYER
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23 May 2012
08:35:56pm
re: Help with watermark identifying

I found Ram's link to be helpful and thank him for posting it.

Bob Ingraham (bobstamp) has also posted similar useful scanning-for-watermarks advice
on these discussion pages.

John Derry

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nl1947
05 Feb 2015
06:19:02pm
re: Help with watermark identifying

The ingredients of Rosonol have changed slightly

Prior to 2010 it consisted of about 95% light naphtha & 5% medium naphtha (different boiling pts). It was produced by Shell
Lets just say that naphtha is complex and varies in composition
In 2010 Zippo (I believe) took over the Rosonol brand & changed the formula to 70% naphtha & other distillates.
Swan has basically the same ingredients but perhaps a higher concentration of light naphtha

As an alternative you might want to try a light grade of naphtha (much less expensive)

I used Benzene 40 years ago & I don't think anything ever rivaled it. Of course now we know better. It does dissolve photogravure inks.

For dispensing and preventing evaporation I put the Rosonol in a 50ml brown glass dropper bottle.
It dispenses a drop at a time so no waste.

Image Not Found

Using a scanner for watermarks works surprisingly well (some/most of the time).
It is a fairly long process and you need software to manipulate the image that can do what are called layers & curve adjustments preferably in CMYK (color used by print shops) but it may work in what most of us use for regular graphics, RGB. The software required can be expensive, Gimp (free) can handle CMYK through Photoshop plugins I believe.
Also a scanner & scanner software that can do negatives like an Epson Perfection V370 Photo ($100.00+). I would not rush out & get a new scanner - you may be disappointed with the results

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elk117
17 Jun 2015
05:04:06am
re: Help with watermark identifying

As I was told many years ago you can buy many different materials and gadgets to identify a watermark but the cheapest method is plain black card with a matt finish and if no watermark can be seen there's a good possibility the stamp doesn't have a watermark.

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HungaryForStamps
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20 Jun 2015
10:50:01am
re: Help with watermark identifying

That works with some issues from some countries. Czechoslovakia and Hungary some issues are easy to see without fluid. But certain other issues, certain stamp colors, require fluid. U.S. Stamps always require fluid IMO.

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11 Jun 2018
12:04:07am
re: Help with watermark identifying

After much anxiety, I decided to "take the plunge" with lighter fluid to detect watermarks. Despite the use by many seasoned users, I was hesitant and tried it out on some known low value stamps to assure myself there would be no damage. I was absolutely amazed. I was able to work through about 30 stamps tonight using the lighter fluid and I'm in love (and possibly high from inhaling! Lol). I was quickly able to identify and catalogue all the stamps and I'm extremely grateful that I did. I have had hundreds in the past few weeks that are basic low values (under $1 - mostly $0.25). To my great surprise amidst a group of stamps, each marked on the album pages I'm taking apart by the original owner, one stamp identical to the naked eye was the same as the others which are $0.25 or $0.30 - I discovered to my great delight one with a watermark with a CV of $150. I would have totally missed it and assumed it belonged with the others. I triple checked the watermark because I was certain it must be one of the others, but it was accurate. I even had my friend check without telling her what the CV was for it.

From now on, lighter fluid for watermark detection will be my best friend.

I've been diligently working on my stamps for the past 5 months which due to my health and losing several friends my age (one of whom I've been friends with for 40 years and the other 21 years) has provided much needed distraction and relaxation. My friend and I have been pleasantly surprised by several 3 digit CVs and thankfully on very nice conditioned stamps.

You never know what is lurking amidst your $0.25 stamps. Of course I've got some fillers and floor sweepings as well but these make all of the others well worth the hard work.

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pigdoc
11 Jun 2018
08:47:51am
re: Help with watermark identifying

A rather more generic term for the rather generic "naphtha" is "white gas", otherwise known as camp fuel - the stuff that burns in gas lanterns and camp stoves. Comes in gallons at any store with camping stuff. (I have a gas lantern collection, so buying a gallon at a time is not intimidating.)

I have been using this for awhile, since my bottle of "Detecto-fluid" ran out. Camp fuel does evaporate somewhat faster than Detecto-fluid, so I prepare in advance and work quickly. Have seen no effects on stamps or inks, but if I'm doing more than a single stamp, I'll do my watermark detection outside to keep the household happy.

-Paul

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vinman
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11 Jun 2018
09:59:59am
re: Help with watermark identifying

There is a short article in the American Philatelist this month on watermark detection. they recommend not using lighter fluid or any petroleum products. Just pour some lighter fluid in a watermark tray and let it evaporate, there will be a residue. This residue will be left on your stamps as well. Many years ago when I started collecting stamps I remember using Carbon tetra chloride. Moved onto Princz Super Safe fluid.
The APS developed a fluid just for the purpose of watermark detection, Clarity. It is more expensive than lighter fluid or the other watermark fluids. It don't make sense to me to worry about ventilation and flammable fluids just to check watermarks.
I do check for watermarks occasionally such as the Washingon/Franklins. My main use of the fluid is to detect faults and repairs on my stamps.

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51Studebaker
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11 Jun 2018
11:22:22am
re: Help with watermark identifying

Not all lighter fluid leaves a residue, even with the same brand/type. It appears to vary from batch to batch so the best solution is to simply test the lighter fluid you are using. Shake the bottle, put some in your tray and then examine the tray after it evaporates.

If there is any residue do not use that bottle, if there is no residue then you can use that bottle.
Don

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vinman
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11 Jun 2018
11:50:52am
re: Help with watermark identifying

Don,
Maybe it leaves a residue maybe it don't. Why take that chance. Then there is the problem of flammability and the harmful vapors. Too many precautions and extra work just to try and save money on watermark fluid.

Vince

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51Studebaker
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11 Jun 2018
01:03:31pm
re: Help with watermark identifying

Hi Vince,
For me the issue is not saving a few bucks; I think that Clarity sucks (for US or other hard to watermark stamps).

First it dries far too quickly, much more quickly than lighter fluid. This is a huge issue for me when I am trying to watch the 'flash'. Flashes can be short even with lighter fluid, but I find the flashes with Clarity to be almost impossibly fast.

My second beef with Clarity is that is simply does not show small faults well (sometimes not at all). I have found at least 20 small faults with lighter fluid that never showed up with Clarity.
Don

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cdj1122
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12 Jun 2018
10:48:18pm
re: Help with watermark identifying

Once more, I'll recommend Isopropyl Alcohol
(Medical rubbing alcohol ) leaves no discernible
residue, is purified for hospital usage
as an antiseptic and costs about $1.60 a quart
at drugstores, supermarkets and places like
General Dollar Store.
It is less noxious than lighter fluid
and I daresay less flammable.
I started using it on Wildings about sixty (60) years ago
and again, there is neither discernible residue
nor discoloration.
Why members even mention the very dangerous fluids
such as lighter fluids or camp oil which do have
observable additives they can smell is a mystery to me.
As for some of the "Watermark Detection Fluids" that
cost several dollars for a few mere ounces,
is somewhat inane when something used in hospitals
on scratches and the area being prepped for an injection,
or incision is inexpensively available.
All such products have some danger and need to be used wisely.
As for effectiveness, the watermarks, if present
virtually pop out unless concealed by a cancellation,
and as far as I can see the precious gum is not disturbed.

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d1stamper
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02 Aug 2021
02:27:13pm

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re: Help with watermark identifying

Which would be watermarked sideways and which on would be Upright.

My brain is confused.At Wits End


Image Not Found

Image Not Found

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roy
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02 Aug 2021
02:57:56pm
re: Help with watermark identifying

The "sideways" is relative to the natural orientation of the stamp.

So, assuming that your second picture is a stamp with a vertical image, it's a sideways watermark.

Roy

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d1stamper
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02 Aug 2021
03:39:14pm

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re: Help with watermark identifying

Thanks Roy.

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DannyS
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03 Aug 2021
04:03:18am
re: Help with watermark identifying

A quick question. If in the above images we are seeing the watermark from looking at the back of stamp what would we call the watermark if it was the reverse mirror image? I figure sometimes the paper was laid in the printer topside down.

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sheepshanks
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03 Aug 2021
07:12:03pm
re: Help with watermark identifying

Danny, this may help with the inverted/reverse watermarks.
Image Not Found

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DannyS
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03 Aug 2021
07:49:43pm
re: Help with watermark identifying

Thanks Vic. "Reversed" was the word I needed. I don't think we see that in the catalogs very often, or at all? Danny

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pigdoc
05 Aug 2021
08:11:43am
re: Help with watermark identifying

I've often dreamed about being transported back in time to a print shop. Maybe sometime in the mid-1850s. There are so many curiosities about how varieties came to exist. Was it pure indifference to paper orientation or which side the sheet was printed on? And, it gets even more interesting when you consider (for some issues) how individual cliches were assembled to make a printing plate. And reassembled, for subsequent printings. This has been worked out in great detail through "plating" of some issues.

It seems apparent, in many (most? all?) cases, that the printers had no inkling of how simple, unintentional variation in their normal procedures would eventually impact philatelists, and stamp values.

Different color shades are another matter. Were these sometimes due to errors in following an ink recipe or variation in quality or source of ingredients? Early on, I would think that perfect control over shades of color was technologically impossible, so that the size of the ink 'batch' would determine just how many stamps got printed in a particular shade. Could subsequent batches of ink been contaminated by prior batches as the supply was replenished?

Again, it seems like you'd almost need to time-travel to have a perfect understanding of exactly how this happened.

-Paul

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DannyS
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06 Aug 2021
12:24:28am
re: Help with watermark identifying

Paul, if time travel was possible then I would love to visit the Bangkok printshops which did the many overprints of Thailand's 1887 De La Rue printed second issue. It has from hand stamps to hot lead with many variations of fonts used as the printers used what was in their trays. Maybe I could have grabbed a few double overprints and even persuaded them to make some upside down ones just for meHappy

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gkennedy59
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01 Sep 2021
03:29:05pm
re: Help with watermark identifying

I have had great success with watermark detection by using a small black tray filled with water. Imagine that.

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HockeyNut
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02 Sep 2021
03:00:32am
re: Help with watermark identifying

gkennedy59 wrote :

Quote:

"I have had great success with watermark detection by using a small black tray filled with water. Imagine that."



That would be oke for stamps that are used.

Unused stamps have, normally, still gum on the backside and the gum layer will dissolve in water.

And that will reduce the value of the stamp considerably, especially the old ones...


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pigdoc
02 Sep 2021
08:52:33am
re: Help with watermark identifying

When my bottle of HARCO Safety went dry a couple of years ago, I refilled it with Coleman camp fuel, straight out of the gallon-sized tin. {I'm also a casual gas lantern collector.}

Works great, and I have noticed no negative effects on stamps (Mint or Used) whatsoever.

Coleman camp fuel is also known as "white gas" or "naphtha". It can be odorous, but I don't leave it exposed to air for more than a few seconds. My wife never notices, and she has a nose like a puppy dog's.

-Paul

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