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New forum board on engravers and engravings

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Adrian25/11/2013 11:04:15
1828 forum posts
971 photos
4 articles

Just to let you know that we have created a new forum board which will harbour all the threads on stamp engraving and stamp engravers. This will a) make it easier for everyone to find all threads on these topics, and b) will improve our visibility for search engines.

We have taken the liberty to place all existing threads on this topic in this new board.

Now all we need to do is make it grow!


David Roseveare28/05/2014 17:25:21
29 forum posts
14 photos

Hi Adrian,

Just to let you know that a number of French stamp engravers will be at the Paris show at Vincennes in June. I will be there from Wednesday 18th. Hopefully, Elsa Catelin will be there on the following day. Its always a great show for meeting people.

Adrian17/07/2014 12:06:22
1828 forum posts
971 photos
4 articles

David, sorry, I missed your original message here now that I don't automatically get so see all posts anymore. I wasn't able to go in the end. Did you have a good time? Love to hear who you met, what you did etc.



Neville Lawson27/09/2014 10:32:12
19 forum posts
3 photos

Hello there

My little beginner's collection of engraved stamps is growing steadily. I now have a question about how to organise it.

So far I've got stamps by 25 different engravers - about 15 or 20 of some (eg Decaris, Gandon, Toth, Jindra Schmidt) and only a few so far of others (like Hipschen, Durrens, Manley and Sverre Morcken). I began with my own collections of French and Austrian stamps (Gandon, Piel, Decaris, Toth, Nefe etc), then moved to Czech stamps/engravers (Fajt, Roule, Svengsbir) and most recently to US stuff by Felver, Chaconas, Brooks and Fenton. I have lots of others to add - the names of Hartz, Bickel and of course Slania come to mind.

I keep the stamps in a black page stock book, with a page or a half page for each engraver. I've cut out simple cards with the engraver's name and dates of birth and death. Then I use cut down post-it notes to indicate for each individual stamp the year in which it was produced - I find it interesting to know how old he or she was at the time, and whether the stamp is from the start of the engraver's active time or later on. I now think it's interesting to know what the issue was about - commemorating someone or some event - so ... a bigger post-it note.

I was all ready at this point to attach a couple of pics to show you how things look – Toth with post-its and Gandon without. But I can't just now figure out how to add the pics, so I'll push on without them!

I did think I should limit the number of stamps per page to about 10, so lots of black space, and thus good impact. I quickly realised that I'd be spending lots of my money on stock books, so I now allow the pages to get a bit more crowded. So far the pages aren't in any particular order - and they'll probably stay that way as moving the stamps, labels and post-its is a bit tiresome.

I've looked at the Albums pages on this site (and on some others too) in the hope of seeing how others organise their collections and the info about the individual stamps - but I haven't found much. Does anyone have any thoughts?

Paul Davey 127/09/2014 11:32:16
404 forum posts
26 photos

Hi Neville

To add photos, go to albums (link at the top of the page) Then click add photos & create your own album. Upload the photos to the album and then, whe writing a post such as this, click the camera icon you will see on the tool bar. Select the photo(s) you want to add and the rest is magic!

I am not a thematic collector but my thoughts....

Organise by engraver then date. Fixed stockboks as you describe are difficult to rearrange. You could try Hagner leaves (other makes are available!). Effectively a loose-leaf stockbook.

Alternatively mount them in Hawid/Prinz mounts on blank album pages or A4 card, laser printed with the details you want to add & any peripheral material you might want to add such as proofs or advertising for the issue etc.

I am sure one of our other members will have more input.

Good luck


Adrian27/09/2014 11:54:37
1828 forum posts
971 photos
4 articles

Hi Neville,

Yes, seems like Paul has given you the two best options.

Stock books are a bit cumbersome though they do show off stamps very well and I like the feel of them.

What I do is slightly nerdly but as follows:

I have stockbooks (black pages and see-through interleaves) in which I have my stamps sorted alphabetically by engraver with a little heading (Engravings by so and so) on thick paper. For every engraver I put their stamps in chronological order (year only) and subsequently in alphabetical order by country.

Any new stamps I first put in a binder with loose black Prinz (other makes are available!) leaves with one leaf per engraver. Basically, I am always moving stamps from one stockbook to the other because every night I update one particular engraver and when I've come to Zotow I start again with Aarts.

My best and most interesting stuff is on loose A4 paper which I print out with all the info I like. These I also use for any displays at stamp clubs etc. You can see some of my pages on my blog by clicking HERE.

Hope this helps!

Neville Lawson28/09/2014 16:08:59
19 forum posts
3 photos

20140928_142243[1].jpgThanks to you both, Paul and Adrian, for your comments, info and suggestions. I've decided to stay with the stockbook for the present, though I can see it's not good when it comes to rearrangements.

I've reviewed my little collection, and have started to record the dates of production for each stamp - this enables me to see the gaps in my collections. I haven't sorted them alphabetically by engraver, but the stamps will be in date order, and I'm leaving gaps for the not yet found items. So far I've sorted Gandon, Decaris, Jindra Schmidt and Piel. I'm learning as I go along!

Thanks to Paul's explanation, here are pics of the Gandon pages before and after. As you see, I've gone to 2 pages because I can see there are some significant omissions (Sabine and Liberte, as well as the card players). So I'm also looking around to fill the gaps. My Schmidt stuff is all from the 1950s! And he worked up to the 80s.

Somehow the pics have appeared at top and bottom! I'll get it sorted eventually!!

Lots to find out, and lots to do. Neville


Neville Lawson08/10/2014 19:12:26
19 forum posts
3 photos

I’m a bit embarrassed to reveal the depth of my ignorance, but could someone please explain the meaning of the different references in SG catalogues to the printing process that I’ve been thinking of as “engraved”. I’d like to know what I’m collecting!

In SG Czechoslovakia, there’s “Recess* “ - explained as a combination of recess printing and photogravure. Is this the same as “engraved”? It first appears in 1954. Or are these stamps not quite pukka?

In SG Poland there’s “recess and typo” in 1957. The term “recess and photo” also appears in Austria. And there’s “recess and litho”.

SG Luxembourg has an issue (SG301) marked “Des by J Meyers. Recess.” But who engraved it? Likewise SG317.

Hope someone can shed a little light on this.

Adrian09/10/2014 19:25:31
1828 forum posts
971 photos
4 articles

Don't be embarrassed, Neil, it was once all abacadabra to each of us as well.

First thing first: Engraving is not a printing process but basically the technique of making printing plates. There are two types of engraving:

1) The design is cut into steel (or copper in the old days) in such a way that the image consists of little lines. These lines (skipping some technical stuff here) are filled with ink and then the printing paper is pressed on top of it so that the ink is absorbed by the paper but still stands up from the paper as well a bit. That's why you feel it when you rub your finger over it. That's called recess-printing because the lines or recesses are what is being printed.

Of course it is possible to make stamps using different printing processes. Often you find that background colours are printed in either litho or photogravure with the design (or part of it) printed in recess. So these are still all pukka, because the recess-printed parts are still engraved.

2) the second type of engraving is that for letterpress (or typo) printing. This is basically exactly the other way around in that the non-design parts of a stamp are cut into the metal. The result is that the design is the raised part rather than the recessed part. It's a bit like making rubber stamps. The raised parts get inked and that's being printed onto the paper. Because raised parts are more vulnerable than recessed lines, the design has to be coarser.

Which is why collectors of engraved stamps usually only go for the recess-printed stamps.

As far as your Luxembourg query goes: Quite often it is not known (or has not been divulged by the printers) who actually engraved the stamps. After all, they're security printings and not all printers are happy with sharing this sort of information. This is usually the reason that no engraver's name is given in the catalogues.

Which is one of the reasons why I set up this database of engravers, because if you search long and hard enough and know the right people, etc., you can match many more stamps to engravers than are mentioned in the catalogues.

I checked the two stamps you mentioned but they're not in my database and I have already 'done' Luxembourg so I haven't been able to find the engraver yet for those two, I'm afraid.

Anyway, hope this helps a bit!

Edited By Adrian on 09/10/2014 19:27:33

Neville Lawson10/10/2014 17:59:43
19 forum posts
3 photos

It does indeed help, Adrian. Thanks v much for your patience with my questions. And thanks to Stanley Gibbons for indicating the printing method, even if not always the name of the actual engraver.

My engravers collection is growing steadily. I now have stamps from US, France, Austria, Czechoslavia and Scandinavia, engraved by CA Brooks, Chaconas, Cheffer, Decaris, Delpech, Derrey, Fajt, Felver, Fenton, Franzen, Gandon, Hercik, Hipschen, Jirka, Lokke-Sorensen, Lorber, Luca, Morck, Morken, Nefe, Piel, Roule, Schmidt, Seidel, Svengsbir, Toth and Wallhorn. And yes, I have about 100 stamps of Slania - haven't decided which to include. I've also got about 5 pages of sets of Czech stamps from the 50s and 60s - can't bear to separate them! My next target is Hartz and assorted Polish stamps, including Slania's early work. And Manley - that'll be the first Commonwealth stamps since the 70s when I started collecting - then it was Newfoundland. For some engravers I only have a very few stamps, others quite a lot (Decaris, Gandon, and the Czechs).

My wife thinks I'm getting obsessive. She may be right!

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