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Driving Towards The (Sketch Pad) Light

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Fenntucky Mike


I've been hating on how I examine watermarks for a long time now. Holding a note up to a light source, trying to see the whole note and probably craning my neck to get a good look. Taking a good picture while trying to view a watermark in that way is on par with a center ring circus act. I knew I wanted something that sat flat on a table, with a large surface, good white lighting and didn't cost an arm and a leg. Now, I didn't search the web for "flat light table thingy for banknotes" but I knew, in my head, what it should look like and eventually I would stumble across something. A few weeks ago, while Christmas shopping on Amazon for one of my sisters, it happened. Finally! After a year the answer to my sore neck had arrived!



A lighted sketch pad! I know that this is only new to me and probably not to most experienced collectors, but hey, I'm still excited. For $17 I immediately picked it up and anxiously awaited its arrival. Once received, I immediately set to work testing it out, and here are a few examples.





Nice! :cool: This is a BIG improvement, it's flat, sits on a table, the light (brightness) is adjustable, it's hands free, I can easily use a loupe and take pictures..... Yeah, this is WAY better. The only thing that is a little weird is that you see more of the opposite side of the note, which is not a big deal. You see the opposite side of the note when back lighting a note regardless, I just see more of the other side than normal because the note is so much better back lit, but I also see the watermarks ten times better. It's just something I'll adjust to after a short while and be better off for it. 

I like my banknote "gadgets", UV light, IR light and now this sketch pad. All things that I use often and because of them get a whole new level of appreciation for banknotes, enjoying them that much more. A notes design is something to behold, (not just the artistic aspect) the layout, the security features, the hidden little gems. A note really comes alive when you peel back the layers, especially moderns. 

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Another Forum member offered up a good suggestion for these, and that was to isolate the watermark or note by using some aluminum foil to block out the surrounding area, leaving the watermark area (or note) the only thing visible on the light pad. A definite improvement. (thumbsu

Without foil.




Watermark isolation.


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