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Ultra violet radiation of multiple crown Wilding definitives.

Cream and whiter papers.

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Fred Sellars08/11/2019 10:46:32
568 forum posts
238 photos

My benchmark to distinguish the difference between cream and white(r) papers is as follows :-

If a stamp paper does not fluoresce under ultraviolet light it cannot be classified as a white(r) paper, due to the fact that a white(r) paper is created by the inclusion of optical brightening agents in its production, either by the rags used or direct as an additive in the pulp stage .

If the paper does not react to the ultraviolet test it cannot be classified as a white(r) paper due to the fact it is void of optical brightening agents, therefore it is a cream paper whether by error or design .

Fred Sellars10/11/2019 16:55:02
568 forum posts
238 photos

The production for the papers of the multiple crown Wilding stamps was given to Wiggins Teape at their Stowford paper mill, located in Ivybridge South Devon .

A short film regarding the production of paper at the mill was made in 1962 showing the various stages of how the paper was produced, along with various 'dandy rolls' for watermarking .

Some text is also included, giving a brief history, and can be found on :-

It's nice to see what happened 57 years ago !

Fred Sellars13/11/2019 15:52:44
568 forum posts
238 photos

Due to the demand by the GPO for white(r) papers to be produced for their stamps, and with the additional use of bleaches (OBA'S) to produce them, by 1963 an effluent plant was in use in order to prevent the river from being polluted, as previously the wastewater from the mill had been directly discharged back into the river Erme .

Previous complaints had also been made by the local inhabitants with regards to the amount of smoke emitted from the mills chimney as an environmental concern .

Fred Sellars15/11/2019 15:20:10
568 forum posts
238 photos

To ensure a consistency and continuity of the colour of the white papers, rags alone ( even if they did contain brightening agents ) could not be relied on, and was not a main factor for consistency .

The white paper produced for the stamps at Stowford mill had to have OBA'S added and this is how you can tell the difference between the cream and white papers of the Wilding stamps produced at that time by the use of a longwave ultraviolet light, they cannot be determined solely by the issue date .


Edited By Fred Sellars on 15/11/2019 15:21:37

Fred Sellars17/11/2019 13:51:27
568 forum posts
238 photos

You will find a similar version of this posting in the December issue of the the Modern British Philatelic Circle's "Bookmark" journal, if you are a member .

With philately there is always something new to be found and I hope that you have been enlightened with my findings so far, in this posting .

Have a nice day and thank you for viewing ,Fred .

Edited By Fred Sellars on 17/11/2019 14:03:14

Fred Sellars24/11/2019 15:59:57
568 forum posts
238 photos

Both infrared and ultraviolet are the nearest wavelengths either side of the visible spectrum and are both used to determine the properties of matter from their electromagnetic interactions with the object in question .

In this instance I have used long wave ultraviolet light to determine the presence or absence of optical brightening agents in stamp papers, the method used is classified as spectral analysis in both chemistry and physics .

Fred Sellars26/11/2019 16:25:34
568 forum posts
238 photos

Further reading that may be of interest can be found at :-

Fred Sellars03/12/2019 13:37:04
568 forum posts
238 photos

Following a visit by Dr John Sugden to Harrison and sons at High Wycombe, a report was made with reference to the cream and white(r) paper printings of the multiple crown Wilding definitives in the Woodstock column no. 54 published in Stamp Collecting in December of 1969 .

He came to the conclusion it was only clean water that produced the white(r) paper for these stamps and was quite adamant that the artificial whiteners was purely used to stop the paper from yellowing, he also stated that on certain occasions white(r) paper had been produced when the river was in flood, on this point I strongly disagree with his findings as normally a river runs clear most of the time and only becomes murky or discoloured in times of flood . Therefore, white(r) paper would have been produced the majority of the time prior to 1962 and not cream ones as normally found .

Another thing he mentioned, was the presence or absence of ultraviolet fluorescence being attributed purely to the detergents in the rags used, I state that the white(r) paper was created by the use of bleaching agents(OBA'S) and that is the reason why an effluent plant had to be installed at the mill due to the additional use of these artificial whiteners from 1962 onwards .

I have never found any papers prior to 1962 that normally fluoresce except for the odd chalk surfaced stamps as the rags used were similar to the ones used post 1962 .

Fred Sellars05/12/2019 16:58:01
568 forum posts
238 photos

img_20191205_114240.jpgBy the use of an ultraviolet light on stamps I stated in my posting of 31/10/19 that not only can you detect the different papers and coloured phosphors used but also different shades of ink can also be established . In my thread CREAM Vs WHITE on the 11th of November I made you aware of the variances of the 2d chocolate brown when it was originally rejected by the GPO in 1963 .

I can now show you an example as seen in these two scans along with this text, the first scan is of cream and white(r) papers in the visible spectrum ( very little difference can be noticed in the colour ) , but with the same stamps as shown in the second scan taken under ultraviolet light , a stark difference can be seen due to the fact that a different shade of ink has been used .

The ultraviolet lamp is a very powerful tool in philately and can detect things that would otherwise have been overlooked, the police also use similar tactics in detecting for crime .


Fred Sellars09/12/2019 13:08:18
568 forum posts
238 photos

The insistence for whiter papers by the GPO was instigated in order to enhance the proficiency of the automatic sorting machines used at that time,as prior to the request the stamp papers had not included optical brightening agents during the paper making process as an additional factor, so in order to increase the whiteness of the paper produced it became standard practice to include them in the process at the pulp stage, similar to adding a bio powder, liquid or tablet to a domestic washing machine in order to get that "whiter than white" aspect due to the optical brightening agents presence contained in them .

It is stated by some authorities that the water taken from the river Erme was discoloured , I do not doubt that in some instances this was the case and it needed to be filtered to give a whiter paper, but clean water alone does not give that "whiter than white" effect (the perceived whiteness) .

I believe that OBA'S in conjunction with cleaner water was used to accomplish the desired whiteness, therefore the transition period with the use of OBA'S from cream to white paper was made in 1962, as prior to this there are no GB stamps printed on fluorescent paper other than the chalk surface ones that give a similar reaction, it is only stamps printed after this time that contain adequate amounts of OBA's to give them the fluorescence found with a classification of "whiter paper" as seen under long wave ultraviolet light .


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