Notes from the Past

Superb

Here among the Newbury pages we have the true definition of the word, because here we find many examples of the essential combinations of which all combined together comprise superb stamps.  What are these essential features?  Well I will attempt to list six of them, that come to me as I pondered over the many, many fine things in the collection.  These are just six and are not listed in any special order.

(A)  color, (B) impression or engraving, (C) margins, (D) color of cancelation, (E) placement of cancelation, and (F) paper.

Regarding the first or Color.  It doesn't make much difference what the color is, but it must be fresh and bright, and as near as possible to the original as it was when printed.  The trained philatelic eye recognizes a “changeling” of color at a glance, as a faded color.  Even a black, such as the 10¢ 1847 – the 12¢ 1851, the 12¢ 1861, etc. have superb colors as compared to the faded or washed out changelings.  Yes, the color is most important and it definitely has a great influence on values.

Second – Impression or Engraving.  Superb engravings are sharp, clear, evenly and well inked early impressions from new and cleanly wiped plates or early impressions from cleaned or reconditioned plates.  When a stamp combines color and engraving we have an item approaching the superb.  An example which can be cited are the 5¢ 1847 stamps used in August or September or 1847.  Among such, we occasionally find a very early impression in a fresh bright color, from an evenly inked plate.  Such items are a joy to behold.  Experience is the teacher who points out such items.

Third – Margins, which means that the design is not cut into, or partly destroyed by scissors or perforations.  Margin seems to count more than any other feature with some collectors but color, engraving and other features are just as important.

Fourth – Color of Cancelation.  By which is meant the depth and freshness of the canceling ink, rather than whether the marking is red, green, or some other color.  A bright fresh red for example is far more preferable to a washed out and badly faded red.

Fifth – Placement of the cancelation, which means the cancelations is placed on the stamp in a manner not to destroy the beauty of the stamp and in addition, not too heavy, and if possible, it should be decipherable.

Sixth – Paper, that is, the present state of the paper.  A stamp on a piece of paper, which has been poorly preserved, and is yellowed with age is not comparable to one on a piece of paper which is in a fine state of preservation.
 
 

- Stanley B. Ashbrook
"Thru the Newbury DeLuxe Collection of Nineteenth Century U.S."
The Stamp Specialist, Blue Book
H. L. Lindquist, 1941
Posted April 11, 2000

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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