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An examination of booklet pane watermark orientation.
Booklet pane singles are often used to manufacture fake coils. Take for instance Scott #385 a vertical coil perf 12 horizontally with a single line watermark can be convincingly faked from a Scott #374a booklet single that had a wide left or right margin. Fortunately fakes made from watermarked stock have a built in red flag that immediately shows that the suspect as fake – the watermarks are vertically oriented. Ordinary sheet stamps have watermarks that are horizontal, that is they read from left to right or right to left like ordinary text. Booklet stamp sheets have watermarks that are vertical, that is the sheet has to be turned 90° to the right or left so that the watermarks can be read in a normal horizontal manor. Seen below are images of single line watermarks that illustrate horizontal and vertical orientation.
Horizontal orientation, reversed position as seen from the back of a stamp.
Vertical orientation, reversed position as seen from the back of the stamp.
The next image is a pair of Scott #405b that used to be part of a booklet.
This next image shows the watermark of the pair of stamps that is soaking in watermark detector fluid. The contrast and brightness of the photo has been adjusted to show the watermark in greater detail.
It can be seen from the photo that the watermark is a vertically oriented, normal position “U” with the bottom of the “U” just getting into the stamp on the right. Now since this is a perf 12 Scott #405b it can’t be altered into any known coil because there are no perf 12 coils. For the sake of argument let’s say a fake coil was made from the stamp on the left. The obvious vertically oriented watermark would give the stamp away as a fraud no question about it but if a coil was made from the stamp on the right it would be much harder to determine which orientation the watermark is in because of the lack of any recognizable watermarks. In this case it helps to have an intimate knowledge of what a single line watermark looks like or have access to reference material that has life size reproductions of the layout of single line watermarks. The main reference I use is The Expert’s Book – A Practical guide to the Authentication of United States Stamps by Paul Schmid.
I’ve made no mention of double line watermarks because they follow the same principles as the single line watermarks with the added bonus of it being nearly impossible to fake a coil with a double line watermarked booklet single. This because there is so much of the watermark present it is easy to determine if it is vertically or horizontally oriented.
As always comments and suggestions are always welcome.
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