There is a common question that beginner philatelist ask: what is the stamp’s printing or production process? We’ll take on this subject from a different angle: Stamp test as a design and production process.
The stamp test process starts when there’s an agreement or government decree. The selected provider starts to design the stamp(s). Below are a few examples.
1863 First Issue hand-drawn watercolor essay of the basic design with blank value tablets. Stamp size on India mounted on card measuring 39x44mm. The color being the shade chosen for the 1/2r value. Extraordinary detail in the drawing, very fine. Certainly unique and absolutely gorgeous.
Cocos Island, production file. Containing an enlarged original model of vignette on thick card measuring 320x177mm. 10c model with hand painted frame. Most initialed and approved, plus a few notes, fine-very fine; ex-American Bank Note Company archives.
National Exhibition, production file. Hand painted model; ex-American Bank Note Company archives.
The design is approved and the printer starts with die proofs. They can be of either centers, frames or complete stamps and sends them to be approved.
When the die proof is approved by the respective government, the printer starts printing complete sheets (plate proofs). Usually in different colors to determine which one will be the final one.
Trial color plate proof sheetlet of nine. This impression was taken from the original die at a later date. It was prepared for Waterlow & Sons sample books. Very few intact sets of sheetlet remain today.
After these are approved, the stamps are printed for circulation.