12.11.2018 - Newly published: Die Farben der Briefmarken

(rdj/wm) Colours: designers and graphic artists need them to realize their brainchildren; heads of state and politicians demand stamps printed in the national colours, postal administrations need colours to show the different value levels of stamps with various colours and, someone sending a mourning letter will prefer a stamp in muted colours, whilst congratulatory mail can be enhanced by using a stamp in cheerful colours.
From natural or synthetic dyes and pigments, with binders and various raw materials - sometimes even fragrant additives - printers had to and have to either produce or buy the required colours themselves in the best possible way, taking into account the different printing techniques used. In an effort to produce colours that were constant, lightproof, resistant to chemical influences and discolorations, to make them forgery-proof and sometimes intentionally bleached, many variants were created involuntarily – it is, for example, no exception that a simple low value stamp can be found in fourteen different shades of blue.
Colour deviations can indicate which raw materials were used in the printing inks and thus contribute to the dating of the stamps, but they can warn us for counterfeits. Discoloration, for example after aging or due to exposure to light, is by no means accidental, but is characteristic of the basic inks used, whereas chemical treatments produce "new", false inks.
The number of colour variants is de facto infinitely large, but their naming in philately is downright adventurous. Subjective perceptions of many "specialists" often produce numerous, different, sometimes breathtaking word creations for one and the same colour in catalogues and specialist books. The history of colour fibulae, colour cards and colour guides is interesting, but does not bring the desired uniqueness to the names. For some of them the colour names even "age" from time to time and are replaced by new ones. Philately as a science also exists. With elaborate equipment the chemical components of colours can be determined and thus forgeries can be detected, but science does not help in naming them.
In the book further topics are treated in detail and also explained by many examples of Dutch, Luxembourgish, German issues and stamps of other countries. Some experiments can be imitated by the reader without much effort.
Rien de Jong: Die Farben der Briefmarken. Format 20.5 x 23.7 cm, 168 pages, 300 colour illustrations, hardcover. € 29.95 plus shipping costs. Available from M.W. de Jong, Tel. ++[0]31 182 615 698,