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Thread: How do sellers handle paper age?

  1. #1

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    How do sellers handle paper age?

    I was wondering how sellers handle paper as it ages. Generally paper doesn't have an expiration date like film. Is there any manufacturer or distributor standard for how long a paper can be sold as new? And if paper is removed from seller's shelves as it ages out what happens to it? I've seen expired film being sold. It's listed as expired and has a price reduction. Never have seen paper sold this way. I've seen some very cheap paper prices online and it's got me thinking.

  2. #2
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: How do sellers handle paper age?

    For what it's worth, here's an online tool to look up the batch production date. However I guess it's only good for 2013 paper and older now that I look at it again.
    https://www.palomarkovic.net/mobile/BatchNumberDecoder/
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Portfolio
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  3. #3
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    Re: How do sellers handle paper age?

    In a discussion on Photrio the other day about a batch of Ilford MG IV RC postcard paper that had gone bad, the following comment from Harman technical support was posted:

    We typically guide that paper performs optimally for 3 years upon purchase (that’s based on us assuming the dealer is selling items they’ve not long receive off the distributor/us).
    After that time point, the paper will slowly deteriorate – it loses speed, loses contrast, loses blacks and gains base fog. It can also result in blacks spots, mottle, or yellowing/colouration changes arising.


    Ilford MGIV RC Portfolio Postcard Paper - Quality issues

    My experience has been that Ilford paper lasts far longer than that - I've never had a batch of any Ilford paper become unusable even after seven or eight years, though sometimes it loses a bit of contrast. On the other hand, the Agfa papers that I used back when they were still in the business would be fine up to some unpredictable point and then very quickly become unusable. I don't have enough experience with other current paper brands to say anything about them.

    No doubt storage conditions matter. It's also possible that more recent Ilford formulations aren't quite so stable as the older ones.

    So my conclusion would be that old paper is a gamble. It might be fine, but you can't count on it.

  4. #4
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: How do sellers handle paper age?

    Sounds reasonable, it will age, as everything does

    However once I got a large amount of old paper, hauled in my bicycle trailer

    One box fell open into a fan of edges. When I next looked at it, I realized the old paper may still be good for other photo experiments, as the paper had really interesting gradations.

    I am thinking perhaps still good for photograms and I think some use old paper for carbon tissue transfers...
    2022

  5. #5
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: How do sellers handle paper age?

    Dealer or distributor policy is dicey at best. I've seen 30 year old paper still for sale, and not even discounted. If anyone ever buys it, it won't be much good. Should have been liquidated long before.

  6. #6

    Re: How do sellers handle paper age?

    You never know until you test it. I received a large lot of Forte Elegance multi grade paper circa 1999 - 2001 that I was told from a highly reputable friend that it was kept in cold storage and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it prints. Unexposed developed sheets that are fixed are indistinguishable with the paper backing to the naked eye. On the other end of the spectrum I have Grade 1 Azo from 1954 that prints as good as the day Kodak shipped it.

  7. #7

    Re: How do sellers handle paper age?

    I was given a few packages of Agfa Portriga Rapid 2 years ago, and I have made 4x5 and 5x7 contact prints on it, and it performs almost as it did when new, just a bit of contrast loss. That paper is likely from the 1990s.

  8. #8

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    Re: How do sellers handle paper age?

    It depends on the paper. Kodak's excellent Polymax paper didn't keep worth beans. Did not matter if you kept it in the fridge or the freezer. (Developer incorporated?) I am still using my frozen supply of Forte and it prints like new. I have some 15 year old Seagull in the blue box, still looks great. It depends.

  9. #9
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: How do sellers handle paper age?

    I have 700 Sheets of undated AZO 8X10 and it sure seems fine, but I never used AZO before a few years ago

    I found it above a Detroit bar in winter with broken windows, laying on floor. One box sealed

    I also have NOS ASO 2-1/4 X 3-1/4 box of 100 that looks far older, bought it on eBay last year for peanuts


    I am rationing it all for my old age
    2022

  10. #10

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    Re: How do sellers handle paper age?

    I already known about using older papers. I have a freezer full. I was wondering if someone who works/worked in a camera store darkroom department could explain if paper age was ever considered when selling. Or is it just left on the shelf until it sells. Ilford doesn't give any meaning to "they've not long receive". Of course storage is also very important. Not sure if any stores cold store B&W paper. Just curious how stores do it. I always check my Ilford paper comparing date from batch number to date I receive it. Usually around 6-12 months difference.

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