Saturday, March 5, 2011

Guide Dots: Questions and Observations

Dave Thompson sends in the following questions and comments about the guide dot post from two days ago (I've done a bit of editing):

I know position dots are used to position the plate so that the transfer roll can be applied to the soft flat plate.  If your examples are position dots, what position is indicated by the dot in about the middle of the stamp towards to top? How can a person determine the proper place to apply the transfer roll (rounded) to orientation exactly in the middle so the position dot would always show in your examples?

Another point, if the description is correct, that could explain why there are examples of the plate screw showing sometimes on blocks, is the speed to needed in printing these stamps. Was it a fact they were in a rush to get these stamps printed? Could be, we all know the history of that time and the need was great that 1 and 2 cent provisionals were made, in addition to a $5.00 provisional.

I'm thinking your examples of position dots are not proper position dots, just a guess on my part, but I'm thinking when the position dots were being applied, they screwed up, and repositioned all the position dots, and just left the position dots (first ones applied in the incorrect position) where they were, did not bother to erase them out as there was to many of them, and they were in a hurry!

In other revenue stamps, especially the first issue revenue, the position dots are usually in the upper right corner, you can all see this on many of the 19th century regular stamps (before the Bureau won the contract in 1894).
I know very little about printing techniques on these stamps.  From a laymans point of view I would place light dots in two opposite corners of each stamp that would be hidden by the frame line in order to properly place and orient each stamp.  Why was it not done this way?  For what purpose was the mark that damaged the C in so many 2ct documentary stamps?
We would be interested in comments and additions from anyone with expertise in the printing methods on these stamps.

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