The untimely closure of a printing company has left many county clerks state wide anxious over demand. An alternative supplier of the special security paper is being sought but one of the few companies that appears to be able to cope with the demand of birth and death records, along with marriage certificates, is in Canada.

Clerks in San Bernardino and Riverside confirm they have stocks to last until year end. The paper is produced by the Intaglio printing process. Copies of these vital records may well be limited or restricted within the coming months.

The word Intaglio means ‘to cut’ (Italian) and first saw it’s origins back in the 15th century. The image is either etched or cut on to a plate prior to printing. The grooves or cuts hold the ink under the surface of the plate. Moist paper is then placed on to the plate, the ink is then transferred on to the paper as a result of high pressure rolling.

The intaglio process is entirely different from the typical relief printing that relies on raised blocks. Asides from birth and death records the process is also used for high security items such as stamps and currency.
As an example (and typical state wide) California’s 58 counties are required to print marriage certificates along with birth and death records with the Intaglio process. The Intaglio process is also considered a very effective anti counterfeit tool.

Counties appear not to have a back up plan as the plant in Ohio closed last month without warning. One county in Northern California (Stanislaus) is restricting the public to 1 copy only of marriage certificates, birth records and death records.

There are currently no plans to ration birth or death records in San Bernardino and Riverside. Both counties hope to have an alternative supplier in place by year end. A legislative fix may also be initiated that will find a balance to protect identities against demand and ensure records are available as required. In 2015 both counties went through around 170,000 sheets with a combined spend of $22,000.

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