Border Lattice-work Comparisons

In his article published in the July-August 2015 issue of The London Philatelist, Christopher Harman RDP Hon FRPSL on behalf of the Expert Committee has attempted to carry out a comparison between the Border lattice-work from a die proof with the Border-lattice work on the stamps from the Victor Hugo cover which originate from a plate which, by April 1865, would have printed in the order of 100,000 sheets. Is this really a fair  or sensible comparison?

Christopher Harman has openly made this quite astonishing statement in the July-August 2015 issue of The London Philatelist (an RPSL publication) in which he has unjustifiably damned the perfectly genuine stamps on the Victor Hugo cover:

“Examination of the enlarged illustrations in Figs. 17 and 18, being a genuine Ormond Hill die proof of Die II Penny ‘stars’ design and stamps SK and SL from the Victor Hugo cover, shows at once that the engraved lines of the lattice-work of the stamps on the Victor Hugo cover are broken when compared with the regular pattern shown in the die proof. Several of the lines on the Victor Hugo stamps are not continuous and the wavy line pattern is dislocated and misshapen. This occurs in the areas around the second ‘7’.
We conclude that the areas around the second ‘7’ have been tampered with.”

Christopher Harman however, through his ‘open’ attempt in the article to cast doubt over the stamps on the Victor Hugo cover by declaring them as ‘tampered with’, has, by his own logic, now also cast doubt on the perfectly genuine provenanced Tapling stamp BA, Fletcher stamp PH and the Royal stamp AB.

Christopher Harman clearly failed to examine the Border lattice-work on the other provenanced examples. Had he done this he would have realised the mire that this comparison was walking into. For example the Border lattice-work on stamp AB is truly stunning. Please see the images below.

As is clearly demonstrated in the montages below the provenanced Plate 77 stamps display seriously misshapen lattice-work around the ‘7’s. In fact stamp SK from the Hugo cover is by far a closer match to the standard than any of them. It displays a complete diamonds around the 7s.

By this logic, do these provenanced stamps show that ‘the areas around the second ‘7’ have been tampered with.’?

Of course not. There is no doubt that like the three stamps on the Victor Hugo cover, all the provenanced ‘Plate 77’ stamps are completely genuine.

In any event why on earth would any forger wish to get involved with the intricate border-lattice work on a line engraved stamp? It does appear that in making this comment there is an element of ‘grasping at straws’ in order to make a case for faking!

However how can it be possible that stamps which have allegedly originated from one roller impression could show anomalies and damage to the Border lattice-work as those demonstrated on the provenanced ‘Plate 77’ stamps?

Surely images as compelling as these which demonstrate serious inconsistencies must cast serious doubt on the fact that these stamps originated from the ‘Plate 77’ pristine trial sheet that was produced from ONE roller impression.

It is interesting to note that close examination of the Border lattice-work on stamp SK from the Victor Hugo cover shows a closer match to the ‘proof’ than all the other accepted plate 77 examples.

Philatelic experts and specialists in this issue who claim knowledge of the Perkins Bacon printing and plate making processes of the 19th century should explain how a steel roller impression that has been rolled on a steel plate and which must produce IDENTICAL impressions EVERY TIME provides instead impressions that are as varied, worn and bizarre as those illustrated below.

Plate wear is clearly not an explanation as these stamps have allegedly originated from a Plate 77 trial sheet.

 

Border Lattice-work comparisons of the right-hand panel on a strong penny black impression (practically identical to that of the illustrated die proof in the LP) with ‘Plate 77’ stamps AB, BA, PH, MI and SK respectively.

The border lattice-work around the right hand 7 on stamp AB in the Royal collection is stunning.

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Its is self evident that unlike the others, the border-lattice work around both 7s on stamp SK from the Hugo cover are intact.

 

Border Lattice-work comparisons of the left-hand panel on a strong penny black impression (practically identical to that of the illustrated die proof in the LP) with ‘Plate 77’ stamps AB, BA, PH, MI and SK respectively.

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Its is self evident that unlike the others, the border-lattice work around both 7s on stamp SK from the Hugo cover are intact.

 

As far Christopher Harman’s comments about the Border lattice-work and lines on the three stamps on the Hugo cover being, “not continuous and the wavy pattern dislocated and misshapen”, close examination does not reveal any inconsistencies.

There is no doubt however that the described nonconformities do apply to the four provenanced stamps as illustrated above.

From another perspective, the grossly misshapen figure 7s and the absence of some vital features on the provenanced stamps is covered under the heading “Examining the Plate number 77” on this site.