Questions and Answers

CSA Qustions & Answers

2 APR 1997

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Q 2 - How can I tell the difference between CSA #6 and CSA #7 on London (De La Rue) Paper? I know they are considered to be different stamps, but they look the same to me.

A 2 - The differences between CSA #6 and CSA #7 on London Paper can be very confusing to the CSA collector.

De La Rue & Co of London, England was the premier stamp printer of the day. They received a contract to print CSA stamps and produced the stamps that we know as CSA#6. Approximately 12,000,000 stamps were printed. The stamps were sent through the blockade and issued with the earliest known date of usage being 10 March 1862. The plates and a supply of high quality paper were also shipped through the blockade and arrived in Richmond, Va some time during the summer of 1862. The plates and the paper were delivered to the Archer & Daly firm in Richmond where the stamps we know as CSA #7 were then printed. The approximate printing of CSA #7 was 36,200,000. The earliest known use of CSA #7 is 15 August 1862 (new EKU confirmed in 2004 is 25 July 1862).

Thus CSA #6 and CSA #7 were printed from the same plates. Archer & Daly first used the high grade paper that came with the plates from England to print the stamps. It is not known exactly how much of the English paper was supplied by De La Rue, but it soon ran out. When that happened, the printers were forced to switch to lower grade paper. The distinguishing characteristics between the London Printing (CSA #6) and the Richmond Printing on London Paper (CSA #7 on London Paper) are as follows:

  1. De La Rue & Co was a high quality printing firm. The CSA #6 images are all clear and distinct. And there is very little variation in color. In the CSA #7 Archer & Daly Richmond printing, there is generally at least a small degree of fuzziness to the printing (sometimes best seen with a magnifier). Within a short period of time, the printing quality of the stamps did sharply deteriorate. This was due to the lack of experience of the Richmond printers and the inferior equipment as well as wear and tear on the printing plates themselves.
  2. The London Paper itself is a somewhat thin (relatively speaking) white wove hard surfaced paper. Later Richmond papers tend to be much heavier and very coarse.
  3. The Richmond printings tend to have plate flaws again due to the inexperience and the inferior inks and equipment. Often the flaws are quite pronounced and easily seen. Usually the flaws are manifested only by dark dots best seen on the forehead of the portrait. These flaws can be caused by variations in the inking of the plate, dirt or debris on the plate at the time of printing, damage to the plate, or a number of other reasons. The De La Rue London printings (CSA #6) do not have noticeable flaws.
  4. The gum applied in London was thin and colorless. The gum applied in Richmond was thicker and cracked easily. Also the Richmond gum has a distinct yellowish color.

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