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2012 Funded Research Projects

The Smithsonian National Postal Museum and The Confederate Stamp Alliance Scholarship Committee selected Harry G Brittain, Ph.D. for his proposal “Infrared Spectroscopic Study of the 10-Cent Jefferson Davis Stamps Issued by the Confederacy during 1863-1864.”

While a great deal of scholarship has been conducted on the engraved stamps issued by the Confederate States of America during the 1863-1864 time period, very little forensic analysis has been conducted on these stamps. Using Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy coupled with Attenuated Total Reflectance (ATR) sampling, recent studies conducted have enabled an identification of the components contained in the inks used in the two printings of the Confederate CSA-13 20-cent George Washington stamp [“The Use of Instrumental Analytical Technology for the Study of Postage Stamps of the Confederacy”, lecture presented at NAPEX 2012, McLean, VA, June 2, 2012].

It is proposed to conduct FTIR-ATR studies on the 10-Cent Jefferson Davis Stamps issued by the Confederacy (CSA-11 and CSA-12), and to determine the nature of the printing inks used in these issues. To this end, the P.I. has acquired 19 CSA-11 blocks bearing the Archer & Daly imprint, 8 CSA-11 blocks bearing the Keating & Ball imprint, 10 CSA-12 blocks bearing the Archer & Daly imprint, and 14 CSA-12 blocks bearing the Keating & Ball imprint. Since these blocks represent the development of the inks used in the printings, their analysis will serve to create a timeline for the various types of inks used to print these issues. This information will then be used to assign approximately printing timelines for issues not containing an attached imprint.