Stamps (Philately)/Double Dies

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Question
I have two booklet panes, Scott 424d, both position D, plate number 6363.  Both panes have a recent certificate from the PF.  One pane has a double transfer in position 3, and in the other pane the PF found "no discernible double transfer."  My question is how one pane can show the double transfer, but the other pane does not?  Does the ability to discern the variety diminish as the plate is used?  Is there any source that can tell me whether the plate was burnished at some point during the printing process?

Answer
Brian:

Sorry for the delay in answering you, but things in the NE have been a little messed up since Sandy arrived and I went out of town.

There is no easy answer to your question. The French book is not very specific as to what the double transfer should look like on your pane and there is no illustration. I have talked to Lewis Kaufman who wrote both of your certificates and he felt that with the passage of time (i.e. the number of times the plate was used) it was possible that the double transfer became less obvious or possibly wore away. This does make sense as other double transfers have become less obvious the more the plate is used.

There are printing records in the Bureau of Engraving and Printing archives and surely it would be noted in them when and if the plate was reentered. I know that the US Stamp Society has information as to when a plate went to press, how many impressions and when it was retired. It is possible that the early impressions of the plate are without the double transfer and the later impressions show one.

In any event Lewis Kaufman said that he would be happy to discuss the matter via e-mail. His e-mail is Kerik1 at AOL (the last letter of Kerik1 is the number one).

Should you have any other questions do not hesitate to correspond.

William T. Crowe

Stamps (Philately)

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William T. Crowe

Expertise

Most all questions concerning US and US Possessions philately and postal history.

Experience

Professional Philatelist 1970 to date. Consultant to The Philatelic Foundation (NY) 1973-1991, Senior Expert The Philatelic Foundation (NY) 1991-2004. Senior Expert PSE 2004-2008, consultant to PSE 2008 to date. Consultant to APEX (American Philatelic Expertizing, an arm of the American Philatelic Society) 1973 to date. Member of AIEP, US Classics Society (life)

Organizations
US Classics Society (Life)

Publications
Western Roundup - co-Editor, The Philatelic Foundation Seminar Textbook No. 1 Opinions, Vol I through VI - published by The Philatelic Foundation

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering - Georgia Institute of Technology

Awards and Honors
none

Past/Present Clients
Between myself and my clients.

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