The Challenge of Changing a "3" to a "7"
This was dealt with in my Collectors Club Philatelist article. It only contains opinions for which you do not care so there is really no need to readdress it.
Richard, I CARE, SO PLEASE let me address your Challenge issue of changing the numbers, as written by you in your rebuttal to my article in the Collectors Club Journal.
I did read your rebuttal very carefully and of course replied to it in the same issue. What I feel must be brought to the attention of all readers is the following statement which you make as far as the alteration of the numbers from '3's to '7's, which in fact is what is claimed to have been faked, and of course behind your reasoning about the very subjective colour difference issue that you claim you can see.
Dear readers please take the time to read this carefully.
The Challenge of Changing a "3" to a "7"
If the right-hand diamond containing the second "7" of each "77" is smoothly
abraded down to clean uninked paper and the small 1.5 mm diameter area surrounding
filled in by the application of "pigment/paint/color/dye or similar" leaving a white
"7" visible, the process could be accomplished. The cancellations shown near the
second "7s" in Figure 11 on page 283 are truly amorphous and could easily have
been created. Moreover, though this is highly speculative, the abraded/scuffed area
on stamp SL in the right-hand tablet could be the result of a failed attempt at abrasion
by the faker. That the part cover shows the correct rate is immaterial to its authenticity
or lack thereof as a Plate 77. Using the method described above a "2" is just as easy
to manipulate as a "3," the faker simply used what was available to him. When the
fakery was performed and the circumstances of the item's discovery, that it was in an
old-time collection on the continent, are of no relevance to its authenticity.
As you can see he starts with the word 'If'.
Why start with an 'If'? If he states that the item is faked then he must be definite about this fact and this statement must not be subject to any 'Ifs'
Let us now look and analyse this 'Gem' of a statement- One which has damned a perfectly genuine world class rarity and rendered it potentially valueless.
Debney states that each of the second '7's has been 'abraded down to clean uninked paper'.
Now I can understand abrading a piece of thick card or paper down to its clean surface but I can not see how you can abrade a piece of fragile 1860's paper made from only a few layers of interwoven paper fibre matrix, and on which the ink particles adhere very closely throughout, without damaging the whole structure.
Scanning electron microscope evidence and 80-100x microscopy all show the fibres to be intact, as can be seen from these scanning electron microscope scans from the RSSL.
MOD - Image deleted by member.
Now having abraded this fragile paper down to its 'clean unlinked' surface the forger applies a 'pigment/paint/color/dye or similar'. If a dye then this would seep throughout the 'remaining' paper fibres and if a pigment or paint then this would leave blotches which are very easily detectible and certainly show up on all the analytical equipment used as can be seen from this reading from the analysis made by Professor Hall. There is no way the two peaks can match so well if the ink was not identical between the two '7's. In any event I feel that it is quite impossible both quantitatively and qualitatively to produce two batches of identical inks without access to state of the art analytical equipment and even then I feel this task would be of the utmost difficulty.
'If' he did succeed in his dastardly deed, my guess is that the forger will have a piece of art that would look like something that has come out of playschool.
I am sure students of this issue will agree with me when I say that one can see shade/colour differences between one stamp and another and also sometimes within the stamp itself, after all, the ink was applied by hand and this may not have always given a uniform layer. Furthermore ink in large quantities was being mixed and one would expect some colour difference within the same batch due to, at times, poor mixing.
How can anyone ever take Debney's claims seriously I will never know, and to have the audacity to question the work of professionals who have been in forensic science for years and who carry out work for major institutions is totally beyond me. I have put forward as concrete as evidence of authenticity as any man can against what is in my view totally absurd and inconclusive guesswork.
In my view serious philately has been dealt a sad blow in having to contend with, and argue against, such poor, speculative and totally unfounded opinions.