How did color oddity occur?

Q&A

An item shown here has a color oddity. How can it be explained? Here is the background:

On August 17, 1959, the Republic of Korea (South) celebrated the 10th anniversary of joining the World Health Organization with the issuance of a 40h stamp that was perforated 13½, plus a corresponding imperforated souvenir sheet. Both were printed in pink and rose violet on paper watermarked with the Communications Department Symbol. The vignette features the WHO emblem and a family with arms uplifted in praise.

Fig. 1: A 1959 souvenir sheet (Scott 292a) celebrating the 10th anniversary of Korea’s joining the World Health Organization.

A recently discovered souvenir sheet oddity with an evident lighter color (Fig. 2) was submitted to the American Philatelic Society Expertizing Committee (APEX). The APEX certificate (236713) issued March 19, 2021, opined: “Korea, Scott 292a (lighter color but no missing color), unused, never hinged, original gum. Genuine.”

This anomaly has never appeared in the Korea Stamp Society publication, as far as I am aware.

Fig. 2: Similar sheet with odd coloring and shading, including a hard division on the ribbon at the bottom right.

The abnormal sheet has an indistinct, washed-out appearance of the white numerals, the letters WHO, and other vignette details compared with the corresponding regions of the regular well-defined design. I call the lighter color yellowish-tan.

Moreover, the ribbon across the bottom on the atypical sheet shows partially as a pale pink over to the aberration in color to within 15 millimeters at its right end. It looks like the yellowish-tan color may have been applied first in the production process. If so, why? It is difficult to envision that this color was perhaps intended as background highlighting. Perhaps there was an ink reservoir supply issue.

There likely exists similar variant souvenir sheets produced and subsequently cut from the same print run. Perhaps a knowledgeable reader will shed meaningful light on this curious color oddity.

(This question was published in American Philatelist of September 2023, page 791. The KSS is an affiliate of the American Philatelic Society.)

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Millard Beatty
I am retired and enjoying writing for personal pleasure on topics related to stamps of general interest.

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