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Discussion on detecting watermarks, Jul 25, 2002
Posted by tomsfound (2208) star on Jul-25-02 at 17:47:11 PDT Auctions

Hello everyone,       :-)
I'm wondering something. I've heard you can see watermarks by using special fluid, and I've heard you can also use lighter fluid for the same effect. Is it safe to use lighter fluid on a stamp? A mint full gum stamp? or is there another household fluid that works well? For seeing watermarks is it best to use a dish that is white or perhaps a bit darker color?

Thank you for any help you can offer

Posted by wrd3 (59) star on Jul-25-02 at 17:54:28 PDT Auctions

tomsfound lighter fluid should not harm stamps that other fluids wouldn't harm. I understand it is OK to use on MNH stamps. I've used it many times on mint stamps and have never seen any negative consequences to the gum. Use a dark background. The advice I've seen is to use only a small amount of fluid to see the watermark the best. Personally I have the best results when I drench the stamp in fluid. But then again, that may be why the Washington/Franklin series drives me nuts!


Posted by blangoren (27) star about me on Jul-25-02 at 18:07:37 PDT Auctions

Lighter fluid is fine to use, it contains benzen, or something very close to it (naphta). Ronsonol is $2-3 for a 5 oz. bottle. There are also specially made watermark fluids. I've tried clarity, which costs $15-20 for a tiny bottle, with good results, but it is awfully expensive; I found that for most of my stamps, those few drops of liquid cost more than I paid for the stamp.
But heed the warnings and use good ventilation when working with benzen/naphta/Ronsonol, since it gives off very toxic fumes.

Posted by blangoren (27) star about me on Jul-25-02 at 18:23:17 PDT Auctions

More on WM fluid. Personally, I won't use Ronsonol on my most expensive stamps (not that there are many of those), because after the benzen had evaporated, Ronsonol leaves behind a very tiny bit of residue.

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