A question arose in the shoutbox regarding identifying granite paper.
There are different types of granite paper, but the easiest way to identify most types is the presence of short colored fibers. Always look at the backside of the stamp. They may be one or more colors, typically 1-3mm in length, usually slightly curled in arbitrary directions, and the density typically varies from a few to few dozen on typical commemorative-sized stamp. In the example below, I have put green circles around 3 of the fibers (obviously, there are many more).
The example above was taken from a Swiss stamp issued in the later half of the 20th Century.
Remember that granite paper composition may differ according to issue and country. Also, fiber mixing was not that carefully controlled, so you might only see 1-2 fibers sometimes.
khj, I'm curious if you can also see the fibers from the front of the stamp. Mike
Normally, yes you can. However, it is better to look at the white margin as any ink/cancel will mask the fibers quite well. This is why I usually suggest to look at the back of the stamp.
Since you brought this up, there is the issue of embedded fibers (which may occur on granite paper, but also on other paper). In this case, fibers (or a thread, typically colored silk) are physically embedded into the pulp, usually only from the backside. In those cases, the fibers/threads can only be observed from the backside. Granite paper with back-side embedded fibers are pretty unusual. And since I usually suggest viewing from the backside anyway, I can't even recall a specific example.
The backside embedded thread on non-granite paper can be found on some early European stamp, such as the Swiss sitting Helvetias. Likewise granite paper examples can be found on that series and subsequent Swiss issues.
I just checked 3 stamps that are same issue as in the OP. All three are granite paper, of course, but I could only see front-side fibers on one of the stamps. The overall area of the white margin is quite small, so a fiber just coincidentally being in that spot is truly a hit/miss proposition.
I've even run into examples of regular issue (small size) stamps definitely printed on granite paper with very low density of threads, where not a single fiber can be seen (even with magnifier).
So with fibers, one can prove it is granite paper, but one cannot necessarily disprove it just because no fibers were found.
khj , initially I didn't think I had stamps with granite paper but when I checked my Austrian stamps I found that Scott #75a issued in 1901 has embedded fibers that you can readily see from the front. Mike
Collecting Canada, US, UK, Ireland, Germany, France & Austria. Also collecting some classic era stamps of some British Commonwealth Island countries and topicals like WW2, Capt. Cook, Horatio Nelson.
Working on Switzerland stamps tonight and came across this stamp....
Well looking in the catalog, I first thought it was Scott# 243, issued in 1938.
Read under the stamp that it was printed on ordinary paper. Also it said to see Nos. 284-286.
Well I looked and there are two other possibilities. Scott# 284 and 284a. Well they all are engraved, all perf. 11½ and unwatermarked. Hmmmmm......
Read a little more, the Scott# 284 issued in 1955 was printed on granite paper with blue and red fibers. The Scott# 284a issued in 1942 was printed on granite paper with black and red fibers. Okay, no problem lets get out the 10x magnifying glass and lets check it out.
Here is a scan of the back at 1200 dpi. It has blue and red fibers, so it must be a 284. Yes I defaced the back by writing the Scott# on the back.... smiley-face-whistle-2
We are Happy to have you here!! New members, we would love to get to know you. Please feel free to introduce yourself HERE
Otherwise - Jump right on into the conversations!! We look forward to your participation.
If you are not a member yet, register today!! It's all free and we want to hear from you!!
Please share our site on social media networks. Thanks!!!