Watermarks were made by bending pieces of wire into filigree designs (French: filigrane) and tying them onto the wire mesh which served as the bottom of the paper mold.
Watermarks are most easily seen by holding a sheet of watercolor paper up to the light. A watermark can be added either by it being part of the used for making the paper (it shows up because less paper pulp is used in this area), or by it being embossed (indented) onto the paper when it is still wet.
The Audubon Havell Edition prints are hand colored aquatint copper-plate engravings. Each print will have a plate mark, a colorless rectangular depression in the paper created by the extreme pressure used in the printing process. The paper is somewhat heavy, yet supple enough to be rolled. The paper will have a watermark, visible when held up to a light source (see Fig. 1), either J. Whatman or J. Whatman Turkey Mills, plus a year. Full sized original prints would measure about 26-1/2" x 39-1/2" (this size is extremely important in distinguishing from reproductions) if originally bound into a volume (or slightly larger if never bound into a book), and might have tiny holes or slits along one edge, where the print was stitched into a book volume. A plate # was printed in the upper right corner in Roman numerals. Generally, plate #s ending in I or VI (1 or 6) had one large bird on each print, which took up most of the sheet of paper, as ALL birds were printed life sized. Prints ending with plate #s of II or VII (2 or 7) generally had images of one medium sized bird. The remaining prints, or about 60% of all Havell Edition prints, had relatively small images of songbirds on a large sheet of paper. It was not uncommon to trim or fold these prints so they would fit into a smaller less expensive frame. If more than 1” or 2” of the above dimensions have been trimmed from these very rare original prints, their value would be appreciably reduced. If an original Havell Edition print were trimmed so that there was no evidence of the plate mark or watermark, this is one rare case where you cannot positively self-authenticate the originality of the print, and the print should be professionally authenticated. Fig. 2 shows an original Audubon Havell print.
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Incidentally, holding a sheet of watercolor paper so the watermark reads correctly, doesn't mean you've the "right" side of the paper facing towards you. How it's done differs between manufacturers. Neither is the absence of a watermark a sign that it's a cheap 'n nasty piece of watercolor paper.
Sometimes this usage was varied; for example, papers were sometimes made with double watermarks so that when the sheet of paper was folded, each folio showed a watermark in the center.| |Beginning in the sixteenth century, in addition to these watermarks, many papers also were given smaller, secondary marks called countermarks.
(This could be back-breaking work for the laborer in the paper factory, for the mold full of paper pulp was heavy, and the larger the sheet of paper, the heavier.) As the remaining liquid in the pulp drained out through wire mesh, the pattern of the mesh was imprinted in the paper as thin spots which remain visible today when the paper is held up to the light.| |From the thirteenth century on, Greek manuscripts were written increasingly on watermarked paper imported from Italy, and soon from other sources in Western Europe.
Frequently the two matched watermarks will occur in each gathering of a codex in alternation, just as they were made by the papermaker.The paper-making process was hard on the molds, and especially on the filigrees that produced watermarks.
So, you may want to start or advance your paper money collecting into collecting notes by:
- Topic (birds, nudes, sailing ships, famous people, views, militaria etc.)
- Time period (WWII, 20th century, only notes dated 1999 etc.)
- Country (your native or favourite country)
- City (city that issued the note, that applies to local issues)
- Continent (Africa, Europe, Antarctica etc.)
- Features on a note (holograms, security insertion strips, paper kind)
- Material used (paper, plastic, mylar, cloth etc.)
- Signatures (there are so many varieties)
- Serial numbers (111111 or 000001 or 123321 or specimens 000000 etc.)
- Name of Printer (company or government who printed the note)
- Influence zone (for example: France and (former) colonies)
- Size (collect only large size notes or notes that don't exceed certain size etc.)
- Condition/grade (collect only Uncirculated or only circulated notes etc.)
- Science (collect notes that feature biologists, astronomy, engineering etc.)
- Watermark (type of watermark or a picture on it)
- Type (Counterfeit/Bogus/Forgery notes; Specimen notes; Error or Trial notes....)
Some banknotes become very popular and even scarce or rare as soon as they are issued.
(Read on, for .) While this archive includes prints of some examples of Arabic paper, it is primarily watermarked papers which will be found here.European paper was made in a rectangular mold something like a tray, consisting of a frame (deckle) which determined the size of the paper, and a bottom made of a wire mesh.
There were up to eight different octavo editions, each containing 500 different hand colored stone lithographs. There is no plate mark or watermark. The paper is white and somewhat stiff like card stock. Each print should measure about 6-1/2" x 10-1/2" after being removed from its original book volume. Each print should have what is called a binding edge or strip along one edge of the paper, with tiny holes or slits as evidence of the print having been stitched into a book, and a narrow strip where a tissue guard was glued on to protect the image. It is common and routine for dealers and other sellers of original Audubon octavo prints, to sell them with the binding edge intact (see left edge in Fig. 6). If these prints have been trimmed, and the binding edge is missing, the value of these prints is somewhat reduced. All prints have a plate number printed in Arabic numerals in the upper right corner. Larger reproductions of these prints are seldom seen. However, several picture books were published after the 1930s in which some or all 500 of the prints were produced as inexpensive color offset lithographs on inexpensive paper. Individual original octavo prints retail from under $50 each up to around $3,000.00 each. 1st edition prints, of a particular bird, are more valuable than the 2nd or later edition prints of the same bird.