PAPER TYPES OF LOCALLY PRINTED STAMPS
By Dr. Ngo Tiong Tak
When the Bureau started ordering locally-printed stamps, many paper
varieties were created, because the security papers used were mostly
imported, and several different sources were utilized.
When the Government Printing Office started printing our stamps, it
printed them in batches and delivered the stamps to the Bureau of
Posts in installments. Therefore, one stamp may take many months to
several years to finish, with as many as 10 or more deliveries
needed to fulfill the contract.
When APO-NEDA took over as stamp-printer, the same practice was
continued. This caused not only distinct color varieties in many
instances, but often also paper varieties as well, because they
didn't have the same type of paper used to print the first
deliveries. So any available types of paper were used for subsequent
printings, with the result that many stamps exist on 2 or more types
of paper, and for stamps ordered in large quantities, there are as
many as 5 or 6 different types of paper known!
Many of the different types of paper can be differentiated with the
naked eye, since some are cream-colored and others white; some have
cream or yellowish gum while others have white gum; some are
un-watermarked while others are watermarked with several different
However, there are those that look similar to the naked eye but are
very different under UV light. To better understand the varieties
seen under UV light, it is necessary for us to know what
fluorescence, phosphorescence and tagging mean.
VARIETIES UNDER ULTRA-VIOLET
"Fluorescence" refers to the property of emitting visible light
during irradiation by ultraviolet light. The visible light given off
can be of almost any color, depending upon the substance that is
fluorescing, and to a lesser extent upon the wavelength of the
ultraviolet light that is causing the fluorescence.
The continued emission of light
after the ultraviolet light source has been removed is known as
In most countries where automatic
facer-cancellers are used, stamps have to be "tagged" to
phosphorescence in specific colors when exposed to UV light. This Is
necessary in order to overcome the problem caused by the
fluorescence present in the envelopes themselves. Therefore, the new
sorting machines detect not the fluorescence, but the color of the
brief phosphorescence of the specially-coated (tagged) stamps.
Because of the dwindling supply of natural
resources, paper manufacturers must recycle paper. In the process,
chemicals are added to remove old printing inks and other
impurities. These additives also react to ultraviolet light, in
proportion to the quantities used.
Papers without any additives do not react and so do not glow under
UV light, appearing dull or brown. These are called plain or
ordinary paper. Paper stocks with some additives glow under UV light
and, depending upon the chemicals used, may show up in various
colors. These are the fluorescent papers.
One-hundred-percent-recycled papers come on strongly under UV light,
and they are called the hibrites.
To simplify the identification of the different paper types as seen
under the UV light, I developed a code system for most of the paper
types. Since some papers glow on only one side (the front), my codes
will have two letters: the first for the face (front) of the stamp,
and the second for the gum (back) side of the stamp.
The first type of paper used was locally produced and
un-watermarked. It is a very white paper with white gum. Under UV
light, the gum side glows very brightly, the front is not as bright
and has a mottled appearance. This I call the HH PAPER, since the
back is hibrite, although it does not glow as brightly as later
hibrites, but being unwatermarked makes it a distinctly separate
type of paper. All the 1973 and 1974 issues except the 1974
Community Chest stamps are on this HH paper.
From 1975 to 1983, the papers used are all watermarked, and 14
different types of paper are involved. All of them have the same
large "RPKK" watermark, which stands for "REPUBLIKA NG PILIPINAS
KAWANIHAN NG KOREO", or translated: "REPUBLIC OFTHEPHILIPPINES
BUREAU OF POSTS". The full watermark measures about 90 mm. x 24 mm.,
with the "P" measuring about 14 mm. x 24 mm., and "R" & "K" each
measuring about 16 mm. x 24 mm., with a wide space between "RP" and
"KK". The watermark comes in one of 4 positions: upright, inverted,
sideways or sideways inverted. Almost all stamps that exist upright
come inverted also. Those that exist sideways usually come sideways
inverted too. Most stamps exist either upright and inverted only, or
sideways and sideways inverted only. Only a few exist with all 4
watermark positions. Occasionally, we encounter a stamp that has a
watermark different from the normal, and it is possible that it is a
The watermark on all these papers can easily be seen from the front
by simply holding it against a strong light. There is no need for
any watermark detector. However, due to the large size of the
letters used, blocks or larger multiples are usually needed to
accurately show the position of the watermark.
Of course with souvenir sheets, checking the watermark position is
no problem at all! All stamps with the large "RPKK" watermark will
have the normal watermark position mentioned in my catalogue, for
specialists who are interested in such varieties. They are noted as
being upright or sideways, since we can expect to find stamps with
inverted watermarks if we see some with upright watermarks and
vice-versa. And, we can expect to find stamps with sideways
inverted watermarks once we see some with sideways watermarks.
Watermark 1 - large 'RP KK"
The following paper types are all imported from England, and all
have the large "RPKK" watermark, which I call WATERMARK 1:
00 PAPER - Ordinary or plain paper:
non-reactive to US light; appears brown, dull or "dead". With cream
FF PAPER - Fluorescent on both front
and back: the front gives a white glow with a bluish tinge under UV
light; the back gives a white glow. With cream gum.
FO PAPER - Fluorescent on front only,
with back side ordinary: only the front gives a white glow with a
bluish tinge under UV light; back side is ordinary and the watermark
shows clearly as lighter lines against a dark brown background. With
F(red)F PAPER - Fluorescent on both
front and back: the front gives a reddish or pinkish glow under UV
light; the back gives a white glow. With cream gum.
F(red)O PAPER - Fluorescent on front
only, with back side ordinary: the front gives a reddish or pinkish
glow under UV light; back side is ordinary and the watermark shows
clearly as lighter lines against a dark brown background. With cream
F(green)O PAPER - Fluorescent on front
only, with back side ordinary: only the front gives a greenish glow
under UV light; back side is ordinary and the watermark shows
clearly as lighter lines against a dark brown background. With cream
PF PAPER - Phosphor-coated paper: the
front gives a bright yellowish-green glow under UV light, with a
very strong afterglow or phosphorescence; the back gives a white
glow. With white gum.
F(or)F PAPER - Fluorescent on both
front and back: the front gives a bright orange glow under UV light;
the back gives a white glow. With white gum.
F(or)O PAPER - Fluorescent on front
only, with back side ordinary: the front gives a dull orange glow
under UV light; the back is ordinary. With cream gum.
PO PAPER - Phosphor-coated paper with
ordinary back: the front gives a dull yellowish-green glow under UV
light, with an afterglow; back side is ordinary, appearing more like
purple than brown. With cream gum.
P02 PAPER - Variation of PO paper: gum
is whiter than PO paper, although still cream in color, with bluish
tinge. Under UV light, this gum looks duller (more purple) than that
on the PO paper.
GRANITE PAPER - Phosphor-coated paper
with colored (red and green) fibers embedded: the front gives a
yellowish-green glow under UV light, with an afterglow. With cream
gum, which varies greatly under UV light. Some are ordinary, others
are fluorescent and later stocks are hibrite, with many intermediate
shades, too. It is too confusing to segregate them into different
types, so there won't be any subtypes for this paper.
DULL ENGLISH PAPER - Phosphor-coated
paper: almost similar to the previous P02 paper. However, the
yellowish-green phosphor glow is stronger, and gum side looks purple
under UV light. With cream gum.
GLOSSY ENGLISH PAPER - The front is
very glossy as compared to all the previous types of paper. It is
hibrite under UV light, glowing very brightly white. The cream gum
is not as purple as the Dull English paper under UV light, and the
watermark shows clearly as lighter lines against the purplish brown
JAPANESE PAPER -
Starting in July of 1983, a new type of paper imported, from Japan,
was added to the papers being used to print our stamps. This paper
is also very glossy on the front, but has white gum which will show
the watermark clearly when held at an angle to the light. Under UV
light, this Japanese Paper is phosphorescent, giving a
yellowish-green glow, and the watermark is clearly visible as
darker yellowish-green lines. This watermark is still "RPKK";
however, the letters are smaller. The full watermark measures only
about 79 mm. x 19 mm., with "R" & "K" each measuring about 14 mm. x
19 mm. and "P" about 13 mm. x 19 mm. There is also a wide space
between "RP" and "KK" . This small "RPKK" watermark I will call
WATERMARK 2. Only the stamps printed on the Japanese paper will
have this smaller watermark. As before, almost all stamps come
either upright or inverted only, or sideways or sideways inverted
only. Again, if we see some stamps with upright watermarks, we can
expect to find some with inverted watermarks, too. The watermark
position for this Watermark 2 is noted as either upright or
Watermark 2 - Small "RP KK"
LOCAL PAPER - In August
1885, a paper produced locally was used to print some of the Quintin
Paredes reprints. This LOCAL PAPER was manufactured by Scott
Philippine Paper and was acquired through AMSTAR Company Inc. It is
much whiter than the imported papers, is rougher and firmer to the
touch, and has a new type of watermark. This consists of the seal of
the Bureau of Posts, "REPUBLIKA NG PIUPINAS" in 3 lines, and
"KAWANIHAN NG KOREO" in 3 lines also.
There are several different arrangements of these 3 markings. On
some sheets, it will be "RP" at left, seal in middle and "KK" at the
right. On others, it will be seal at left followed by "RP" and then
"KK". Still others will have "KK" at left followed by seal and "RP".
Furthermore, some will have "KK" of one group followed by "RP" of
another group, while others will have "KK" of one group followed by
"KK" of the next group. The full watermark will measure about 186
mm. Each of the letters measure about 5 mm. x 8 mm., with
"REPUBLIKA" and "KAWANIHAN" each measuring 64 mm. Each of the 3
lines measure 33 mm. vertically from the top of the first line to
the bottom of the third line. The seal measures 47 mm. x 47 mm.
Since this new watermark, which I will call WATERMARK 3, is so big
and can hardly be seen on many stamps, I will not attempt to list
the watermark positions anymore.
Watermark 3 - Seal of the Bureau of Posts
This local paper had been used for most of the Issues of 1986 until
the arrival of the French paper; then it was used mostly for
definitives and definitive-sized stamps only.
This local paper continued to be acquired through AMSTAR Company,
Inc., although the paper mill had changed name and ownership
already. The manufacturer is still the same mill but it is now known
as Holland Pacific Paper Mill.
Several orders for the local papers produced several batches of
paper that differ in texture and quality. At first, the paper was
very white, rough and thick, then it became thinner, with the gum on
some so bad many were re-gummed. Later, paper became glossier with
smoother gum, but with the watermark barely visible. Then some
papers became cream-colored, especially noticeable on the gum side.
Afterwards, some came with very clear watermarks. Later, the gum
side showed a rough, uneven textured surface, and the watermark
became more visible as it was thinner. Then the gum became smooth
and glossy; later it showed uneven lines like slight elevations and
depressions. Finally, on the Fiesta Islands IV issue, the gum became
smooth and glossy again.
Starting with the Fiesta Islands II issue, all stamps printed by
AMSTAR have a small phosphorescent security mark, "PPS", which
measures about 5 mm. x 21 /2 mm. overall, and stands for "PHILIPPINE
POSTAL SERVICE". It glows in bright yellow and is printed either
upright or sideways on the center of each stamp, sometimes on the
side margins also.
With so many variations in the quality and appearance of local
paper, it would be too confusing to separate them into subtypes.
FRENCH PAPER - Between
August of 1986 and March of 1988, a different imported paper was
used to print the commemoratives of that period. This paper was
imported through AMSTAR Company, Inc., from France. This FRENCH
PAPER is glossy but very thin, with white gum and is hibrite under
UV light. The watermark is a series of geometric lines in the
pattern of a maze. The paper is so thin that these watermark lines
show through. The maze watermark I will call WATERMARK 4.
Watermark 4 - Maze
After the French Paper was exhausted, the Japanese Paper was again
imported to print our commemoratives. This paper was similar to the
previous Japanese Paper; however, many inferior-quality sheets were
included and these showed less phosphorescent coating on the
front, so the yellowish-green glow became much weaker, or almost
absent on some sheets.
The paper used for stamps printed abroad are the same for the entire
printing so no paper varieties exist for such stamps. However,
the paper type is still noted in my catalog.