World Stamps

By Donna Houseman

A symposium where philately and science meet

December 28, 2016 01:00 PM

  • A limited supply of softcover books are available for the second International Symposium on Analytical Methods in Philately. A PDF file is available free online at the Institute for Analytical Philately’s website.

By Donna Houseman

The second International Symposium on Analytical Methods in Philately, sponsored by the Institute for Analytical Philately (IAP), took place Nov. 17-18, 2015, and the proceedings of the symposium are now available in a limited-edition softcover book and online as a PDF (portable document format) file. The proceedings are edited by John H. Barwis and Thomas Lera. Hosted by the IAP and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, the second symposium took place in Itasca, Ill., prior to the Chicago Philatelic Society’s annual show, Chicagopex.

The IAP is a not-for-profit group of researchers and managers who have come together to apply scientific methods and technical research to stamp collecting. The purpose of the institute is to promote research to solve philatelic questions and problems through science and technology.

The symposium focused on techniques that have become available in recent years. The book and the PDF document contain papers presented at the symposium, and the papers cover a broad spectrum of topics of interest to stamp collectors. As an example of how studies are presented at the symposium, consider the presentation on “Resolving the Scanner Dependency in Color Matching” by John Cibulskis.

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Cibulskis’ goal was “to be able to present the stamp color (or color variety) in terms of its RGB values which can be used by philatelists using a variety of different scanners.” He compared color files from the Michel Color Guide Version 38 to generate scans on three low-priced and moderately priced scanners. The color guide is intended to match colors to those listed in the German-language Michel stamp catalogs.

Cibulskis explained in detail the processes he used to determine if scanner calibration using the color guide is possible. He used three scanners: a Canon LiDE 120, an Epson Perfection V600 Photo, and a HP Photosmart 6520. He concluded, “Scanner calibration using the Michel Color Guide is feasible and effective.” For details on his analysis, read the PDF file for the 2015 symposium that can be found online at analyticalphilately.org under the tab Symposia.

The IAP provides research grants and technical support to assist qualified stamp collectors in performing scientific and technical research. Grants ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 are available to help fund “travel, lodging, and laboratory use.”

The next international symposium will take place Oct.13–15, 2017, in London, England.