Monday, 12 October 2009

Litho v Gravure

I often get letters from collectors referring to my website (which you will be pleased to hear is having a revamp shortly). Most letters are from new collectors of Machins asking for advice.

I have already stated that I am no expert, but if I can give advice, I will.

This is a recent email from John Kingsland which has prompted me to write this today. Perhaps it will not only help John, but others that are confused.

"I have read your article on the Printers of Machin Material but would like a more reliable way of knowing the difference between Litho and photogravure. In many cases I am faced with determining the difference between the two and am never certain. Is there a positive way to verify the difference?"

The differences can be determined quite easily. I have always used a x 10 (or higher) magnifying glass to determine which is which . Using this method the results can be seen straight away.

As you can see by the image (left), we have two stamps together. The stamp on the left is printed by offset litho. You will see that it has straight clean lines to the edges of the stamp. This is even more evident on the value tablet.

The right stamp which is printed by Photogravure clearly shows the dots/cells to the edges of the value tablet.

I Hope this helps.


I have just noticed that this post is number 404, so a new index page will be needed. This will be my next job.

1 comment:

Dennis said...

This is very helpful. I second your statement about using a 10x magnifier. I use an 8x, with built in LED lights which vastly improves identification. In the two years since I became addicted to Machins, I'm now at the point where I feel I no longer misdiagnose the printing type. In fact, as I search a dealer's stock at a bourse, I sometimes find myself pointing out errors in identification to them.

There is, however, one case where I think the printing type may be difficult to identify. These are the Machins where the shade varies across the stamp. Looking at them up close, they all look like gravure. Are these all gravure, or is there a litho example of one of these?