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Why create a plating archive online?
Because nobody has yet, as far as I can tell.
Also it has been 42 years since Mortimer L. Neinkens' book "The United States One Cent Stamp of 1851 to 1861" was published (1972). It is still to this day the bible of the 1¢ Franklin issues. I believe it is out of print and when one does find a copy of it, it is terribly expensive. The other bible of this issue is "The United States One Cent Stamp of 1851 to 1857" by Stanley B. Ashbrook, published in 1938, set the bar for all others to reach and started this whole journey.
What I need are color photographs of the real thing. I own both books, and refer to them often. The ink drawings that Stanley B. Ashbrook drew by hand are in themselves works of art. But ink drawings in the computer age only can convey the idea so far. Many of the plating drawings are small and can be hard to interpret. The black and white drawings also can't clearly define the subtle blurs, curls and almost invisible plating marks found all over these issues. We live in a colored three dimensional world and the technology is here now to enhance these 2 books and spread the joy of plating around a little.
|So Why Not Do it Online?
I am going to try.
I am not a very good postal historian, but I am an OK electrical engineer, forensic macrophotographer, image processor, chemist, scientist, 1¢ Franklin plater and sloppy speller. Any postal history you might read on my website I lifted from various research books in my library. What I need ARE color photographs of the real thing. So that's how and why this archive has come about.
|What I Dig the Most
What I dig the most is plating the piles of 1¢ Franklin's that people send to me. Sometimes I can and sometimes I can't. Lets face it, cancellations can get in the way. But when they don't, it is quite a thrill to know exactly where that little blue piece of paper came from. The Franklin's that I can't plate in an hour or 2 will end up in the "Floobydust" section of this archive. I invite other platers of this issue to help solve the mystery of their position on the plate.
|Can't Do It Alone
I am hoping that others will contribute, loan their collections for photographing and join the quest to archive the 2400 other positions that are currently not in the archive yet. It took Ashbrook and Neinken 40 years to do what they did. But that is because they didn't have the internet and had no reference to start with. We live in a global community now connected instantly by a click of a button. Be sure to read about the people who have contributed so far to the archive on the "Acknowledgments and Contributors" page.
|Push the Technology Envelope
Be sure to read the "How This Is Done" page on the process I use to photograph and suck images into the computer at 3 times the resolution of any commercial flat bed scanner on the market. It's nothing that "cutting edge" but 2400 dpi isn't quite enough resolution for my taste in photographs.
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