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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The 1973-1986 Definitives - The Devil is in the Details!

In my first post dealing with this issue, I talked about how some of the printings could be distinguished by some differences in the designs, and went on to show those differences on the 1k and 18k values. However, differences exist on more than half of  the values in the set.

The reasons for the existence of the photogravure and lithographed stamps is somewhat conjectural, as the official first day cover issued in 1973 contains many of the lithographed printings. One possibility is that the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company was unable to obtain satisfactory results with the photogravure process, and only attempted to produce stamps using this method from January 1973 until the lithographed stamps appeared in April 1973. It is curious though that used examples of the photogravure printings can be found used as late as 1980, although this may simply reflect the fact that small Nigerian post offices simply kept their stocks on hand until sold.

The following images show the differences for all values in the set:



1. On the top stamp, the hide at the extreme left is solid dark brown, whereas on the bottom stamp, the hide is ochre with brown shading.
2. The tree trunk onto which the leftmost hide has been tied is a solid line. On the bottom stamp, it is broken in sections. 
3. The appearance of the shading at the right hand portion of the design is completely different on both stamps. 
4. The strings attaching the hides to the frames in the middle of the design are much clearer on the bottom stamp. 
5. On the bottom stamp, there is a tree trunk visible in the back foliage. On the top stamp, this tree trunk is missing. 
6. The imprint at the base of the design is narrower on the top stamp, and is printed in the same dark brown colour as the rest of the design. On the bottom stamp, the imprint is wider and printed in the lighter background colour. 



1. The border at the top of the design on the top stamp is much narrower than on the bottom stamp. 
2. The black shading on the gas storage tanks ends in jagged lines on the top stamp, whereas on the bottom stamp, the lines are smooth. 
3. The imprint at the base of the bottom stamp is much wider than on the top stamp. 



1. The right front leg of the calf that the herdsman is holding, is shaded in solid black on the top stamp, whereas the shading on the bottom stamp is an even brown. 
2. The imprint at the base of the bottom stamp is much wider than the imprint on the top stamp. 



1. On the top stamp, there are black splotches in the background behind the cheetahs, whereas on the bottom stamp there are fine black diagonal shading lines.
2. The detailing of the shading on the log is much clearer on the bottom stamp than on the top. Now this characteristic shows a lot of variation on the lithographed stamps. On early printings, the detail is sharp and visible, but as the printing stones wore, the detail got coarser and coarser, so that the log shading is not a good guide to distinguishing lithographed from photogravure issues.
3. The imprint at the base of the bottom stamp is wider than the one on the top stamp.





1. The lines of the windows are clearer on the bottom stamp.
2. The leaves are more clearly visible on the bottom stamp. 
3. The imprint at the base of the top stamp is printed in the blue background colour, whereas it is black on the bottom stamp, and wider. 



1. There is an extra row of oil drums on the bottom stamp.
2. The imprint on the bottom stamp is narrower and smaller lettering than the top stamp. 



1. The horizontal lines of the blinds are solid on the top stamp, but broken in places on the bottom stamp. 
2. The technologist's hand on the top stamp is brown, and the fingers of both hands are visible. On the bottom stamps, the hands are a solid black mass. 
3. The collar of the shirt and the lapels are clearer on the top stamp. 
4. The liquid in the flasks on the top stamp is a grey violet, whereas it is black on the bottom stamp. 
5. The wire basket appears more complete in the top stamp. 
6. The imprint at the base of the top stamp is wider than at the bottom. 



1. The leaves in the foliage on the bottom stamp are clear, whereas on the top stamp, they appear as solid black detail.
2. The coloured border at the bottom of the lower stamp is wider than the top stamp. 
3. The scales of the fish are more clearly visible on the bottom stamp.
4. The imprint at the base of the bottom stamp is wider than on the top stamp. 




1. The background colour on the bottom stamp is black, although another photogravure printing is found in dark brown.
2. The turban, the face, the hand and arm, the shirt and the pot all show more detail on the bottom stamp.
3. The imprint on the top stamp is wider than on the bottom stamp, and is printed in the yellow-green colour of the background, whereas on the lithograph it is either black or dark brown.



1. The traffic on the bottom stamp is driving on the left, and the freeway sign is narrow. On the top stamp, the traffic is driving on the right, and the freeway sign to Apapa is wider.
2. The left lane of the top stamp shows horizontal black lines across the pavement, which are missing on the bottom stamp.
3. The imprint on the top stamp is wider than the bottom stamp.

Here you have the main differences between the printings of these fascinating stamps.

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