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Color Guide for the Classic Issues of Nepal

Printed From: Rainer's Stampcorner
Category: Nepal
Forum Name: Classic Stamps (Kukris issues)
Forum Description: Please use it for all topics related to the Classic Stamps (Kukris issues)
Printed Date: 19 January 2020 at 1:55am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.09 -

Topic: Color Guide for the Classic Issues of Nepal
Posted By: Rainer
Subject: Color Guide for the Classic Issues of Nepal
Date Posted: 15 October 2005 at 4:22am

What Color Guide is recommended to classify the colors of the Classic Issues of Nepal? I use Methuen's Guide for Tibet but as far as I recall, I have never heard anything which one should be used for Nepal. I am aware that not so many color variances exist but a common guide to classify them internationally should be used.

Posted By: colinhepper
Date Posted: 11 November 2005 at 11:57am

This problem has been discussed many times in the past and as far as I can remember Thomas Matthisen who was the editor of Postal Himal at the time came up with a recommendation.  This will have been recorded in some of the earlier issues of Postal Himal and when I return to England in December I will have a look through the early issues to see if I can find any reference.

As I don't have the book with me here in Spain, did Hellrigl & Vignola give any reference in their book on the classic issues?



Colin hepper


Posted By: Rainer
Date Posted: 12 November 2005 at 12:35am

Dear Colin,

It would be nice if you could check your references. I do not have the back issues of Postal Himal available here.

Hellrigl & Vignola did not gave a reference in their book on the classic issues.

Posted By: greenfingers
Date Posted: 01 April 2006 at 6:50pm

Hi Rainer & Colin, I have used the Stanley Gibbons Colour Key (SGCK), but recognise that its colours are of an intensive hue and matching the fine colour hatchings on the classic Nepal issues is difficult. It relies on a circular hole with each of its 200 depicted colour patches that you overlay on the dominant stamp colour, but given the fine etching nature of these issues it is not reliable, unless one were to use some kind of tranparent white dot matrix (that is used by colour compositore degitally to reduce hue) to create a colour dispersal similar to that on the stamp. I've found Venetian Red on the 1917 telegraphic issues the hardest to reconcile as the SGCK  makes it looka  rich salmon to me and nothing like reliable Ventian Red stamps that I have in my collection. Any help would be much appreciated.

Cheers Malcolm Campbell

in Australia

Posted By: Rainer
Date Posted: 02 April 2006 at 1:57am

Dear Malcom,

welcome on board.

For me it seems the only solution to translate or link the Stanley Gibbons Colour Key (SGCK) into a neutral colour reference like Methuen handbook of colours, as used for Tibet.

In regard to the 1917 red, I might be able to help, having in my collection some of the largest known multiples of this rare stamp. I can cross check the colours and give a hint on Methuen Codes.


Posted By: mflint
Date Posted: 05 June 2006 at 11:38am
I just inherited a collection of older Nepal stamps, going back to pre 1900,
along with a bunch of "Postal Himal" issues from the late 1970's. I'll dig
through them and see what I can find on colors as well. I haven't spent much
time on them yet, but I'm baffled by the color variations myself. I don't have
a lot, maybe 20-30 of the old style of stamps.

Another thing I find difficult is how to guage the thickness of the paper.
Sometimes it seems as though an imperf (canceled) stamp might be stuck to
some additional native paper. Should I soak it and find out? I'm nervous to
do anything to them.


Posted By: Rainer
Date Posted: 05 June 2006 at 1:23pm


I have bad experience with soaking native paper stamps. The paper turned our very hard after drying.

BTW: Welcome on board.


Posted By: mflint
Date Posted: 10 June 2006 at 12:47am
Well, I've tried to go through the Nepal Study Circle Newsletters. They're
in a binder, about 3" thick, from 1976 - 1989. There's a lot to go
through. I found a few interesting things. In November 1978, the
question of color comes up. "The Color Handbook" from Collectors
Institute, Ltd. is mentioned, but even if I had that book, I haven't found a
chart that translates "milky blue" into a color code.

In a later set of issues from 1986, there are four articles entitled,
"Building a Nepal Collection" by F.A. Westbrook, Jr. Each article focuses on
a different value of the earliest stamps. They talk a little about the
differences between them, but conclude that unless you have full sheets
to look at, it is virtually impossible to catalog an individual stamp. The
variations in paper quality and ink color (even across one sheet of
stamps) can be great.

In addition, the fact that the dies were cleaned and reused later makes it
even more difficult to judge by clarity of the stamp. There are a few
differences, however. And cancellations can help as well.

I'll keep looking...

Posted By: colinhepper
Date Posted: 14 February 2011 at 7:55pm
You are a long while getting an answer, but in PH (newsletter) 17 the recommendation was to use the Methuen Handbook of colour by A.Kornerup and J H Wanscher, 3rd edition, 1266 colour plates.

I have another one very similar 'The Colour Handbook' Universal Identity System with 1500 different colours. You can accurately define a stamp colour with it but it the shades are given numbers which is  OK but unless everyone uses the same reference it is a waste of time.

Colin Hepper


Posted By: Rainer
Date Posted: 02 March 2011 at 8:49am
Below post is an extract from the post in the NTPSC members only section and i will repeat it here.
I would also love to have the color codes based on an "easy to get" color hand book. Methuen is definitely nice, but almost impossible to get. These days I like the DuMont colour atlas I have in German language. It contains 5500 color shades and costs only about US-$ 30-35

Since long I plan to make a cross reference between Methuen and DuMont but this has to wait until summer for better light. Unfortunately, it seems that book is available in German language only... but since the color plates are coded, it could form an international basis.

Posted By: doughallnh
Date Posted: 05 March 2011 at 12:45am
Point 1 - I recall a number of articles in the American Philatelic Society monthly publication "The American Philatelist" about colors and color guides in recent years. One  caution that I remember - light. Two inks that appear to be the same color under one light ("soft" tungsten incandescent for example) will appear to be different colors under a different light (flourescent or incandescent-white or sunlightor white LED). This means that two collectors looking at the same stamp with the same color guide but with different lights illuminating the stamp may come up with quite different color names or codes to describe the color of the stamp. So even if everyone could agree on what guide to use, there also needs to be clarity about he lighting type that is used.

Point 2 - This discussion is a good example of why we should have all issues of Postal Himal posted online. Google would index all words in all articles and anyone could find all references to color guides in less than a second, wherever they had internet access. No need to page through hundreds of pages  in binders and hope you can spot the one place where color guides might be mentioned.

Doug Hall
APS #93077

Posted By: Rainer
Date Posted: 09 March 2011 at 8:03am

Dear Dough,

I know that APS article but it only refers, as I recall it, to standard color guides, usually not suitable for native printings since the standard color guides only have a relative limited number of color plates versus a higher number color shades on native prints. This is one of the reasons why Waterfall used the Methuen guide for Tibet. I would have no problem using the Methuen also for Nepal but the Methuen color handbook is meanwhile almost impossible to get at reasonable prices.

The problem with the light is something independent from the color guide used. There are daylight lamps available at very reasonable prices if someone is interested in but I have classified Tibet stamps since long and never run into a problem with light, you just need to be a bit careful when you check the shade.

Posted By: Ed Gosnell
Date Posted: 09 March 2011 at 1:55pm
Dear Rainer,
Do you have a web address where this Chart can be purchased?

Ed Gosnell

Posted By: Rainer
Date Posted: 09 March 2011 at 2:09pm

the DuMont guide (in German language) can be purchased as Amazon...

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