Who done it
Who was it that started the trend of collecting stamps in blocks of four? It was once the in thing to do. Over here, King George V insisted, I believe, that all new material would be in multiples, and the Dutch catalogues, to name but one, even have listings for blocks of four of the older stamps up to the early 1900s. I must admit that I do like the sight of a nice block of stamps, which is why I'm very happy with this latest lot of Wilhelmina with Veil definitives.

Blocks of nine would be great too, because then you have a stamp in the middle that is so completely perfect as it has not been tampered with at all, with all perfs intact. But those blocks would be very hard to find and take up a lot of space. So I'll stick to the blocks of four where possible. Marginal blocks are nice too.

They usually reveal a bit more about stamp production. Here, for example, we see part of the double lined frame that was printed around the stamp sheet. It is also a good example of showing how line perforation works. With line perforation, one (either horizontal or vertical) line is perforated at the time, which usually makes for untidy perfs where the lines cross because it is well-nigh impossible to place the perforation pins in such a way that the horizontal and vertical perforation meet at exactly the right place. But as far as aesthetic beauty is concerned I prefer a simple block of four. Although a single stamp in itself is also very rewarding to look at.

The only thing I find with this particular stamp, which by the way I really really like, is the engraving to the right of the queen's eye. It's so circular that it detracts from the picture a little. Most shading is usually done with diagonal lines, varying in thickness, but I don't believe you see this kind if circular engraving very often. But to be fair, you don't really notice it when you just look at the stamp without magnification, so I suppose it does do the trick very well.



Anonymous said…
Adrian, most engravers learned to follow the natural lines when doing faces (and other things, like flowers and animals). The absolute top engraver Czeslaw Slania gave the best examples. You'll be able to find numerous examples on the internet.
Yes, our previous Queen Wilhelmina was also fabulously drawn on the stamp you showed here.
Adrian said…
Yes, Slania must be the best of them all, I agree. It's so incredible to think that he, like other engravers,actually work on a stampsizeformat and then manage to come up with something so detailed. Each recess stamp a true work of art!
Happy Stamps Collecting 2009