February 3, 2011.
RIDDLE of the SPHINX........
Today, while looking at early Egyptian stamps Sphinx and Pyramid (Scott #13e) I noticed a rather unusually watermark. As per the catalogue, the watermark attributed is Wtmk 119 "Crescent and Star".
What was unusual is that the watermark seemed to be gouged into the paper as opposed to a thinning of the paper normally found. After further investigation, it did appear that the production of the paper must have stopped at the time in which the wet pulp was passing under the dandy role. As a result, once the process continued, some of the small fibers had now adhered to the role, thus leaving this impression. The other alternative was that someone had carefully picked out the fibers to produce the watermark image on and unwatermarked stamp. No other unwtmk listings could be found.
Finally, after looking deeper, it was noted that all of the small supply of stamps that I had of this issue also displayed similar characteristics. What appears to be a watermark is rather an embossing of the impression onto dry paper. Scans of the front and back of the item have been included.
I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who has a "true" watermark on this 1867-69 issue.