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Ultra violet radiation of multiple crown Wilding definitives.

Cream and whiter papers.

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Fred Sellars11/12/2019 10:08:44
568 forum posts
238 photos

(OBA'S) optical brightening agents, sometimes known as (FWA'S) fluorescent whitening agents should not be confused with bleaching agents, as a bleach creates a chemical reaction to the impurities or discolouration that would have been found in the the rags used and in the water obtained from the river Erme at certain times .

So it was a combination of filtration of the water, bleaches and OBA'S/FWA'S from 1962 onwards that the desired perceived whiteness was accomplished/obtained of the paper used thereafter .

Mutch study has been made in the use of OBA'S/FWA'S in this field and can be found in different formats on the following website :-



Edited By Fred Sellars on 11/12/2019 10:13:58

Fred Sellars19/12/2019 14:06:38
568 forum posts
238 photos

If you are a serious collector of the Wilding multiple crown definitives and in the past have collected the different types of coloured phosphors and widths along with the various watermark varieties, then the different types of papers discovered can't be ignored as part of your collection.

The variations are quite pronounced and at the moment they are all classified as being the same type of paper and priced as such, with at least 3 varieties to choose from, some of them are going to be much scarcer than others, will it be the fluorescent versions (post 1962), non fluorescent (post 1962) or the fibrillous (FIB'S) types of the same era, it's purely your choice .

Why not get all 3 to be on the safe side, as they are currently all the same price and cheap as chips 🍟.

Treat yourself this Christmas, and have a nice one everybody, cheers 🍷 Fred .

Fred Sellars21/12/2019 09:56:45
568 forum posts
238 photos

One last tip before the big day :-

By using the long wave ultraviolet lamp one can also identify individual chalk surfaced stamps such as the 3d IOM or the 1963 holiday booklet stamps and even the Edward 7th definitives, there is no need for the 'silver' test, as this leaves a black mark on the chalk surfaced stamps.

Who wants a black mark on a mint stamp ?

This is just another important usage of this handy tool .

Bye for now, Fred.

Edited By Fred Sellars on 21/12/2019 10:04:44

Fred Sellars22/12/2019 08:29:26
568 forum posts
238 photos

img_20191222_060330.jpgIn my last posting, I mentioned the chalk surfaced stamps from the 2/- holiday booklet issued in 1963.

I can now show you a frontal and reverse scan of these stamps as seen under long wave ultraviolet light .

There is no need for the 'silver' test : DON'T TRY IT as you could spoil the stamp !

Have a nice Christmas everyone 🍾🍰🎄⛄img_20191222_055820.jpg, Fred.

Fred Sellars29/12/2019 21:35:14
568 forum posts
238 photos

The first comments regarding optical brightening agents (OBA's) seems to have been made by Mr Aubrey Walker (a GPO chemist) that was employed at the Dollis Hill establishment and stated in the Philatelic Bulletin of November 1979 of observing fluorescent specks/fibres in some of the papers, which he related to some of the rag used containing high amounts of detergents, giving rise to the fluorescence in them and was purely accidental possibly as a one-off occurrence.

I have been reliably informed by an eminent philatelist and renowned scientist that the paper produced at the paper mill at Ivybridge was under strict GPO supervision in its production for postage stamp paper, however, it would appear that this type of paper (FIB'S) was in constant use for over 2 years, from my observations the first being the 1/- Lister and the 4d values of the Battle of Britain stamps both issued in September of 1965 (see version of the 4d's), they have also been discovered in stamp booklets dated as late as February 1968 with many other definitive values in between (see my thread of "Meet the FIB'S"

In my estimation their use cannot be classified as " accidental " and must have been " intentional ", how can an accident happen consistently for over 2 years with GPO supervision of the papers production ?

This type of paper is more prominent and easily recognisable than the so-called cream and whiter papers but their existence has never been announced unlike the ones in 1962 .img_20191216_205146.jpg

Fred Sellars29/12/2019 22:15:26
568 forum posts
238 photos

Here you can see see a scan of the 4d BoB stamps with fluorescent fibres but in mono, which enhances their presence in the paper .img_20191229_220002.jpg

Fred Sellars07/01/2020 21:05:24
568 forum posts
238 photos

By obtaining a long wave and also a short wave ultraviolet lamp I have discovered many of the variations relating to the stamps issued in the United Kingdom, the main source has been from the Wilding multiple crown definitives but also some reference to commemoratives in an effort to pinpoint dates first used.

Information obtained by long wave is as follows :-

CREAM PAPERS used throughout the multiple crown issues

CHALK SURFACED first noticed in 1960

LIGHTER/WHITE(R) types of paper possibly due to the filtration of the water

FLUORESCENT FLECKS/FIBRES ( detergents in the rag ? ) first found on the 1/- Lister stamps

FLUORESCENT PAPER where additional optical brightening agents have been added at the pulp stage similar to the pre-decimal Machin papers that followed

Information found via the short wave ultraviolet lamp :-


GREEN 8mm first used on the 1958 phosphor graphites, then on the phosphor only stamps from 1960

BLUE 8mm replaced the green in 1961

VIOLET 8mm again replaced the blue in 1965

VIOLET 9•5mm was a final replacement very late in 1966 ( end of December )

All of the above changes in many respects was experimental in an effort to obtain a whiter than white type of paper and also coincided with the change of phosphors made during the progression of the automatic sorting system which was being instigated and developed/trialed during that time.

All of the above changes ( papers and phosphors ) happened between the years 1958 to 1967, even up to 1968 in some cases and all on the multiple crown watermark stamps.

Fred Sellars18/01/2020 12:13:15
568 forum posts
238 photos

Just as a matter of interest on looking back at my posting of 5/12/19 I noticed something peculiar !

It relates to the 1958 building definitives and in particular to the 3•40S value as the marginal inscription reads ' 30•60 ' .

3•40S does not divide into to the 30•60 printed in the margin unless the sheet was comprised of stamps 9 in width, was this an error as I thought Austria was decimalised ?

As I do not have any bibliography on Austrian stamps and the sheet formats, can anyone give me an answer please .

Thank you, Fred.

Fred Sellars20/01/2020 12:54:41
568 forum posts
238 photos


The 1958 Austrian building stamps was not shown in this thread but in the " CREAM Vs WHITE " one.

The date of entry is correct though, sorry about that , you will need to look at that one for reference should you so wish .

My apologies, Fred.

Fred Sellars09/02/2020 12:19:24
568 forum posts
238 photos

img_20200209_101011.jpgDue to finding cream and white(r) type papers plus fluorescent fibres in both the normal definitive and commemorative issues with the use of a long wave ultraviolet lamp, I decided to look at the regional watermarked papers used to print them, and surprise surprise, variations of paper appeared on these issues also .

I compared the 4d (plain) of both Northern Ireland and Wales and discovered that the Welsh 4d's appeared to be on a cream paper, whilst the Northern Ireland ones were printed on a white(r) paper .

I also checked the 1/3d Northern Ireland values, and there appeared to be three variations of papers used to print these stamps :-

(1) The original cream paper

(2) A fluorescent reacting paper

(3) A whiter paper than the original cream ones

I'm no expert, but I am sure that you can also see the differences in the two attached scans .img_20200130_200509.jpg

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