As stamp collecting becomes ever more popular as a hobby and also as a financial investment buyers need to be more aware of buying stamps that are not all that they seem. I am a keen collector of Queen Elizabeth II wildings and have spent a small fortune on the different types. The hardest part of collecting these is distinguishing the different types of water marks and unless you have a quality water mark detector, you have to rely on the honesty and expertise of the seller. Even unmounted mint stamps with full gum can pose problems in identifying a Tudor Crown from a St. Edwards' Crown.The hardest stamps to check are mounted stamps which have the hinge covering the water mark.I find the best way is to invest in a good magnifying glass and a Morley-Bright Inst-a-tector. Then check the stamp in full sunlight as I find this helps greatly in this process.There are fluids that can be bought to literally "dip" the stamp into to reveal the watermark but I have never relished that idea.There are however the "Signoscope" detectors if you want to spend a lot of money,the T1 is around £175 or the T2 for £75+ and they are probably the best you can get. And don't forget about checking for your "reversed/reversed and inverted/sideways and inverted.....
So, be warned that sellers might themselves just guess as to what water mark lurks under that hinge remnant or that gum!! I indeed bought a wilding from a reputable dealer only to find that my Tudor Crown was a Multiple Crown.
wildings and their water marks.
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31 March 2014
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