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Fluorescence
Posted: Mar 11/99

Starting in the late 1959/early 1960, stamps began to appear with very tiny fluorescent fibers embedded in the paper, referred to as flecked paper. The amount of flecks found in an individual stamp will vary from a couple to dozens.

Fluorescent paper began to appear on some Canadian stamps in the early 1960's, during the Wilding era. These stamps have various levels of fluorescence, ranging from low to high. On these early issues, those stamps that fluoresce in some way also have embedded fluorescent fibers (as mentioned above).

Determining dull, low, medium, high and any other fluorescence is typically subjective. An ultraviolet light is required to view fluorescence on stamps. It is also best to work in as dark an environment as possible (eg. a windowless room).

Stamps that have come in contact with highly fluorescent paper (such as the envelope used during the mailing process) and have been subsequently over-soaked, may become contaminated with what appears to be (under an ultraviolet light) fluorescent material. A true fluorescent stamp must have the same level of fluorescence throughout the entire stamp (and, if viewing a used stamp, have the same level of fluorescence on both sides of the stamp). When viewing mint stamps on the gum side, the gum will act as a barrier to identifying the underlying paper fluorescence.

I have divided my listings into 5 levels of fluorescence, noted by: NF (non-fluoresent/dull), LF (low), MF (medium), HF (high), and HB (hi-brite). You may use more or less levels of fluorescence in your study of these stamps.

The chart below notes Canadian stamps that can be used as reference copies for the various levels of fluorescence (each stamp was only issued with the noted fluorescence).

Flrsc Scott/Unitrade
NF441
LF558
MF658659
HF625
HB468B
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