How to Check for Reperforated British Wing Margin Stamps
All of the surface printed issues that featured any of the Garter watermarks, the Emblems watermark or Spray watermark were printed in panes featuring the extra wide wing margin stamps meaning these should always be checked for any signs of reperforation.
You may well ask why anyone would trim and reperf a decent stamp? Unfortunately, some stamp collectors in the past - when standards were less exacting - preferred not to collect these wing margin stamps and, as a result, a number of them have been deliberately trimmed and reperforated which obviously detracts significantly from their value. Some people made fairly poor jobs of the new perfs meaning most people can spot examples but other affected stamps have been quite skillfully trimmed and perfed making them much harder to identify.
So how can you check your own collection for reperforated wing margin stamps?
Unfortunately the few stamps of the 1855-1862 issues did not use corner letters to identify each stamp's position within the printed sheets. For these issues you will still need a good eye, very precise measurements or seek experienced help. However, for the majority of issues which did feature corner letters to identify sheet positions it's actually very easy to spot reperforated wing margin stamps by following these rules:
- For stamps printed on paper with the Emblems or Spray Watermark identify the letter in the bottom right corner. If it is D, E, H or I then it should possess a wing margin.
- For stamps printed on paper with any of the Garter watermarks then the letters F or G in the bottom right corner should have wing margins.
Exception: Due to changes in the printing techniques there are two values that don't always follow these rules. The 4d and 8d value stamps printed on paper featuring the Large Garter watermark can be found properly with or without wing margins. Time to get the maginifying glass out again!
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