Monday, 21 February 2011

The Case of the Missing Pink


My friend and colleague, whom I'll refer to as TLB, is a GB expertizer for the American Philatelic Society. Naturally, most of the material he gets is from the Victorian era, which matches his area of expertise. Once in a while, however, he gets some modern items, and he asks me for help.

One such item was the pair of covers pictured above. The submitter wanted to know if the £5 stamp in the top cover was missing the pink color on the portrait. The normal stamp is on the lower cover.

The cover was sold as a changeling, that is, a stamp that was printed normally but was subjected to some influence - generally either light or a chemical - that causes a change in color. In spite of the fact that the cover was purchased from a well-established UK dealer who would not have let a missing color slip through his fingers, the seller was hoping he had a missing color error.

The dealer had already pointed out that the colored block at lower left had changed from gray to green and suggested that the changes to the stamp and cachet were the result of excessive exposure to sunlight.

In response to TLB's request, I checked the various reference works such as Deegam and Gibbons Specialised. I confirmed that no missing color error was listed for this stamp. I also noted that red shades are notorious for fading after prolonged exposure to light. As a result we concluded that the dealer was correct. The stamp was a changeling, not a missing color error.

And probably not worth what the submitter had paid for it.

An enlargement of the stamp is below.

--Larry

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