A denomination of this size would have seen little postal use, being used only for registered letters that had a high insurance value, larger parcels or bulk mailing receipts. This was a revenue issue as well, since it was inscribed "postage and revenue", and so some stamps would have seen revenue use, though interestingly, I have not come across many examples with fiscal cancellations, which suggests that they were not often used for this purpose, unlike the high value stamps of many other colonies were. Thus it is likely that many fewer printing were made, perhaps as few as 14 and as many as 20, but unlikely more than this. Given the low rate of usage, it would be my expectation that there would be many late usages as stamps from the "bottom of the post office drawer" finally got sold and used up. Consequently, I would expect the remainder total of 18,060 stamps to have come from a large number of the printings that were left over when the next supply was received by post offices and placed on top of the old stamps.
I have 42 stamps in total of this value in my collection. Three of these are mildly affected by water and one is severely affected and is of limited use in identifying specific printings. As before, I will look at the different states of the plate and then at the head and duty plate shades.
As it turns out, I did identify 20 separate printings:
- 4 from the first state of the plate (approximately March 1887 - about 1890).
- 5 from the second state (1890 to about 1893).
- 8 from the third state (1894 to about 1899).
- 3 from the fourth state (1899 to 1900).