Watermark. That very word can instill fear into anyone new to the world of stamp collecting. It certainly did when I first started. But over time I learned that with a little knowledge there was nothing to be afraid of at all. As with most things, a bit of research and study goes a long way. And knowing watermarks and watermark detection is no different.
So just what is a watermark? In general, a watermark is when an image or a symbol of some sort is impressed on a sheet of wet paper, creating a depression in the paper, making it thinner in these areas. This thinned area can then be seen, in theory, by holding the paper up to the light or when placed against a dark background.
When it comes to stamps it is not always this easy. This blog isn't a discussion on watermark detection techniques, but suffice to say, there are many watermark detecting tools and gimmicks on the market claiming to be able to help you. There are also others ways that people use, such as the use of lighter fluid, which does work, but can be dangerous if not treated with respect. Ultimately, one has to find the best way that works for them. What technique do you use?
Once you have found the technique that works for you, what do you look for? Considering we are talking here about collecting King George V Commonwealth stamps, we will have a look at a couple of the standard watermarks used for many Commonwealth stamps in this period. This is not a definitive list. Many Commonwealth countries utilised their own watermarks, and over time I will look at these as I collect and study the stamps.
Okay. There a two basic watermarks that were used in a lot of Commonwealth colonies between 1910-1935 that are very handy to have in your knowledge arsenal. The first is called Multiple Crown CA. The CA stands for Crown Agents. This particular watermark was first used in 1904. The watermark can be seen below.
And on an actual stamp it can look like this (the watermark appears backwards because it is being viewed from the reverse - or back of the stamp):
The second watermark to remember is called Multiple Script CA. This watermark made its first appearance in 1921. See below for what this watermark looks like.
And it will look like this on a real stamp (again as seen from the reverse):
Knowing these two watermarks will help you to identify many KGV stamps, which are otherwise identical. With that said, I wish you happy sorting.
Until next time...