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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Distinguishing the Four Printings of the 1/- Orange Surface Printed Lagos Stamp Watermarked Crown CC and Perforated 12.5

Today's post will deal with the sixth and final value in this first issue of Lagos: the one shilling orange. This stamp had the fewest number of printings, with only four dispatches between November 18, 1874 and May 13, 1875.

This post will attempt to explain how to distinguish the four printings of these stamps using the following characteristics:

1. Cancellations.
2. Colour shades.
3. Paper differences.
4. Plate characteristics.

The discussion in my first post about the 1d, where I talk about the significance of the various cancellations used on this issue applies equally to this value as well. I am not going to repeat the details of that discussion here, but will instead provide a link to that discussion:

http://naijastamps.blogspot.ca/2016/10/distinguishing-six-printings-of-1d.html

However, the dates found on the Lagos CDS cancellations can be utilized to distinguish the various printings as follows:

  • First printings will generally be cancelled before May 1875. All the used examples that I have seen have Lagos CDS cancellations, and none have the later barred diamond grid cancel of Lagos, which did not appear until February 1876.
  • Second printings are generally cancelled late in 1875, like after September and up to January 1876. There are a fair number cancelled with the Lagos diamond barred grid.  
  • Third printings are also cancelled in the later half of 1875, up to January 1876, when they have CDS cancellations. By the time this printing appears the majority of used examples will be cancelled with the Lagos barred diamond grid.
  • Fourth printings will likely all be cancelled with the Lagos barred diamond grid killer, or at least all of the examples I have seen are cancelled in this manner. 

Unlike the other values which saw fairly heavy use, the 1/-, being a relatively high value for the time saw relatively less use. This means that it took many of the post offices much longer to exhaust their supplies than with the other values. The result is that cancellation dates cover a wide range with each printing, and overlap. In fact, it would appear that even though the last printing was dispatched in May 1875, it was not used until more than six months later, while the supplies of the earlier three printings were used up. Fortunately the other characteristics of the stamps supply us with enough clues to reasonably identify all four printings with reasonable certainty.

First Printing - Dispatched November 18, 1874

This first printing is fairly easy to identify because the G in the word "shilling" lacks a crossbar serif, whereas all the other printings have this serif. The colour is a pale dull orange, which sometimes contains a bit more yellow. There were 52 sheets of 60 printed, being 3,120 stamps. The scans below shows the front ad back of a particularly nice mint example:



On this scan, you can clearly see the lack of a crossbar serif on the G, as well as the dullness of the orange shade. The width of the letters of "one shilling" is 15.5 mm. This is a very rare stamp: with only 3,120 originally printed, it is highly doubtful that more than 150-200 would exist today in the full range of condition grades.  The colour of the head plate and the duty plate (words of value) is identical, which strongly suggests that they were printed in one operation. 


Here is the back of the stamp. It has about 75-80% of its original gum and as you can see, it is smooth and colourless. The paper is smooth and thick, showing no signs of mesh, which is consistent with the other values printed at this time.

The next two scans show a nice used example:


February 25, 1875 is a fairly early date, despite being just over 3 months from the date of dispatch. The other dated examples I have of this printing are March 3, 1875 and April 3, 1875.


Again, we see the smooth appearance of the paper from the back, with no distinct mesh.

Second Printing - Dispatched December 14, 1875

This printing also consisted of 3.120 stamps, being 52 sheets of 60. It is easy to identify because the shade is similar to the first printing, except that the orange is just a touch brighter, the lettering of the duty plate is thin just like the first printing, but the "G" of "shilling" has the distinct crossbar serif. The width of the letters "one shilling" on this, and the next two printings is 16.5 mm against the smaller 15.5 mm of the first printings.

The scans below show the front and backs of three typical used examples:


See the similarity between the shades of these three stamps and the first printing? The stamp on the left is a little bit yellower than the other two, but all three of these are more similar to the first printing than they are to any of the other printings.


Once again, all of these have the smooth wove paper that shows no distinct mesh.

Third Printing - Dispatched February 3, 1875

This was the scarcest of the four printings, with just 3,000 stamps printed. This printing is similar to the second printing except that the shade is both deeper and brighter, or in some cases contains a hint of brown. The paper also can be either the usual smooth wove, or it can be the wove that shows distinct vertical mesh. Again, the colours of the head plate and duty plate are the same.

Here is my only mint example:


Here you can see the very distinct crossbar serif on the "G" and the shade is much deeper than the first and second printings. This one actually has a very slight hint of brown.

Now for the back of that stamp:


This example unfortunately has retained very little of its original gum, however, it is still  very rare and desirable stamp. On this example you can just make out the vertical mesh of the paper.

Here are some CDS used examples:


The stamp on the left contains more yellow than the one on the right, but both are still deeper and brighter than the stamps from the first two printings. These are dated July 16, 1875 and November 13, 1875 respectively.



This example, dated October 25, 1875, is the brownish orange shade. 

The backs of these stamps show both the smooth wove paper with no mesh, and the wove paper showing distinct vertical mesh:


The yellower shade, dated July 16, 1875 is printed on paper that shows no distinct mesh. The deeper orange shade dated November 13, 1875 is printed on paper that shows distinct vertical mesh. 


The paper of the brownish orange shade shows a hint of vertical mesh. 


Fourth Printing - Dispatched May 13, 1875

This is the most common of the four printings, with 6,360 stamps being printed. Most used 1/- stamps  that you are likely to find will be from this printing. There is quite a bit of variation in the orange, although all the shades are intense. I find the biggest identifying characteristic is the lettering of the duty plate which appears thick, heavy and slightly deeper than the head plate colour. The corners of the letters are softer and more rounded than the thinner letters which had sharper corners.

Below is one of two mint examples from my stock:


Notice the rounder, softer appearance of the lettering. It is particularly noticeable on the "G".

Here is the back of the stamp:


This example only has a small amount of its original gum, but the paper has reverted back to being the smooth wove paper with no distinct mesh.

Here are four used examples, all with the Lagos barred diamond grid killer that nonetheless show the range of shades found on this printing:


The stamp on the left is a deep, bright orange, while the stamp to its right is a bright yellow orange. The two stamps at right both contain a hint of brown to the orange. However, all four of these show the thick, softer duty plate lettering that is characteristic of this printing.

This value actually illustrates how insisting on CDS cancels for used stamps can be quite limiting. Every example of the fourth printing I have seen is cancelled with the diamond grid killer. So if you were to insist on CDS cancels, you would likely not be able to complete  collection of used examples of all four printings, simply because the CDS ceased to be used as a cancelling device in February 1876.

This concludes my coverage of this value, and thus the first issue of Lagos. In 1876, De La Rue changed the perforation of its stamps from 12.5 line to 14. As we shall see, until 1880 the method of perforating was line, but in 1880 printings were made that were comb perforated. My next series of posts will look at these second issues, being those watermarked crown CC and perforated 14. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Our Donation Button Has Been Added

Those of you who read this blog may now notice a Paypal donation button has been added in the right margin of the navigation bar.

I want to emphasize to all of you that I am not expecting anything from my readers. I write this blog because of my desire to share my philatelic knowledge and experience with the philatelic community at large.

Nevertheless I do recognize that there are some of you who may feel that you have derived such enjoyment or value from reading my posts that you wish to contribute to my ability to continue to write them in some way. Therefore after much discussion with my partner, I have added a donate button to the blog.

But, please, please. please do not interpret its presence as a request for a handout. It is not. I want everyone to enjoy reading my posts without feeling that they are in any way obligated to donate anything.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Distinguishing the Seven Printings of the 6d Green Surface Printed Lagos Stamp Watermarked Crown CC and Perforated 12.5

Today's post will deal with the fifth, and along with the 4d, one of the most complicated denominations of this first issue of Lagos, the 6d green. Seven printings were made of this stamp between May 12, 1874 and May 13, 1875.

This post will attempt to explain how to distinguish the seven printings of these stamps using the following characteristics:

1. Cancellations.
2. Colour shades.
3. Paper differences.

The discussion in my first post about the 1d, where I talk about the significance of the various cancellations used on this issue applies equally to this value as well. I am not going to repeat the details of that discussion here, but will instead provide a link to that discussion:

http://naijastamps.blogspot.ca/2016/10/distinguishing-six-printings-of-1d.html

However, the dates found on the Lagos CDS cancellations can be utilized to distinguish the various printings as follows:

  • First printings should be cancelled between late July 1874 and September 1875, though some may be cancelled as late as January 1875.
  • Second printings should be cancelled between September 1874 and December 1874. 
  • Third printings will be cancelled between early October 1874 and January 1875.
  • Fourth printings will be cancelled between December 1874 and September 1875.
  • Fifth printings  will be cancelled between February 1875 and October 1875.
  • Sixth printings will be cancelled between April 1875 and August 1875, with the later 1876 Lagos diamond grid cancel being common. 
  • Seventh printings will be cancelled after July 1875 to early 1876. All the used examples I have seen are cancelled with the Lagos diamond grid cancel. 



There appears to be quite a bit of overlap in the usage dates, which suggests quite strongly that the subsesquent printings were ordered, and received well before the earlier supplies had been fully exhausted. Indeed, my classification of the printings is my best guess, based on the relative number of different dates in each group. Thus each printing may have stamps dated in July 1875 for example, but if most of the dates in one group are later than most of the dates in another, then it is reasonable to conclude that the stamps of the first group are from a later printing than the group with the mostly earlier dates. One thing that makes this value more difficult to sort is that the number of shades on this stamp is greater than the number of printings. However, many can be grouped in such a way that the number of groups corresponds to the seven printings. 

First Printing - Dispatched May 12, 1874


The first printing is the scarcest of the seven, consisting of a mere 34 sheets of 60, or 2,040 stamps. It is identifiable by the shade, which is deep green and dark green. The head plate is printed in deep green, while the duty plate (words of value) is printed in a slightly darker shade. This suggests printing in two operations. I identified this as the first printing on the basis of the fact that it has the earliest cancellation I have seen - June 18, 1874, which pre-dates the dispatch of the second printing. 


Here is the back of that stamp. The gum is smooth, thin and colourless, as is the case with gum during the crown-CC period. This paper is smooth, with no distinct mesh. 

The scan below shows two used examples, one having the June 18, 1874 Lagos CDS, with timecode B, and the undated Lagos CDS, also with timecode B:


 
And the backs of these stamps:



As you can see, the paper is smooth, with no clear mesh being visible - consistent with other first printings of the series.

Second Printing - Dispatched August 13, 1874



This printing is the second rarest, with only 36 sheets of 60 being printed, or 2,160 stamps. On this printing, the colour of the head plate, and the duty plate (words of value) are the same deep green shade. This tends to suggest printing from a single operation, from a single batch of ink. However, the words of value are sufficiently out of register with respect to the value tablet, as to suggest that this printing may have been completed in two operations. 


 Here is the back of this stamp. Again, the gum is smooth, thin and colourless, as is the case with gum during the crown-CC period. This paper is smooth, with no distinct mesh. 

Below is another mint copy of the second printing, this time in a slightly deeper shade of green:



And the back, showing the same paper and gum characteristics:



The scan below shows a used example, cancelled with a November 3, 1874 Lagos CDS cancel. 


Again, the thing to focus on here is the similarity of the head and duty plate colours. 

And the back:


Again, the paper is thick and smooth, with no distinct mesh. 

Third Printing - Dispatched September 14, 1874


The third printing consisted of 42 sheets of 60 stamps, or 2,520 stamps. The giveaway is the distinct bluish sea-green colour, which is the same for both the head plate and the duty plate. Unfortunately, I do not possess a mint example of this printing to show you here. This used example, cancelled January 8, 1875 is the earliest date that I have. 


Once again, the paper is smooth, and shows no distinct mesh pattern. 

Fourth Printing - Dispatched November 18, 1874


The fourth printing is the third most common, with 54 sheets being printed, or 3,240 stamps. Unfortunately, I do not have any mint examples of this printing to show here. This printing shows the most marked difference between the colour of the head plate, which is a dull sea-green, and the duty plate, which is a deep bright green with a slightly yellow tinge. This example, dated January 28, is cancelled a little over 2 months after the shipment was dispatched. 


In common with the other printings, the paper continues to be smooth, with no distinct mesh pattern. 

Fifth Printing - Dispatched December 14, 1874


The fifth printing consisted of 54 sheets, or 3,240 stamps. The duty plate continues to be the deep, bright yellow green found on the previous printing, but the head plate colour reverts back to the deep green that we saw on the first and second printings. 

Here is the back scan, showing the same paper and gum characteristics as the other printings:


Here is a used example, cancelled with a March 26, 1875 Lagos CDS cancellation:


Again, the back scan shows the same, smooth paper, with no distinct ribbing:


Sixth Printing - Dispatched February 3, 1875



This second last printing, like the fifth printing consisted of 54 sheets, or 3,240 stamps. Like the third printing, it seems to have been printed in one operation, as the head plate and the duty plate are both printed in the same deep dull green, and the words of value are generally very well centered within the value tablets, which suggests that they were laid out prior to printing. 


The paper is smooth, but we can just begin to make out the vertical mesh. Here is another example, cancelled on December 13, 1875, that shows more obvious mesh:


Finally, I show you an example cancelled with the Lagos barred diamond grid cancel, that replaced the Lagos CDS's in February 1876:


And the back:


Once again, the paper begins to show evidence of vertical mesh, though it is still very smooth. 

Seventh Printing - Dispatched May 13, 1875



This is easily the most common printing, with 106 of the 377 total sheets printed being from this printing. Despite this, I have only three examples, and all of them are cancelled with the Lagos diamond barred grid cancel. The distinguishing characteristic is again the shade, which is a pale dull green, which lacks any blue, and possesses none of the vibrancy of the earlier deep green. The head plate and duty plate are both the same colour. The back of the stamps show similar paper characteristics to the earlier printings, though the paper does appear to be a bit on the thinner side, with the watermark being more clearly visible than before:


This concludes my discussion of this value. I most likely will update it, and may change the designation of certain printings as I examine more examples and more information comes to light. I would greatly appreciate any information you may have, or scans that would help provide further evidence in regard to the correct classification of the various printings of these stamps. My next post will deal with the last value of this first issue: the 1 shilling orange. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Please Bear With Me Until Next Week - More Posts Coming!

Hello everyone! In my last post I had said that I would publish my next post by now. Unfortunately we ran into considerable problems in closing our home purchase here in Saint John. These problems delayed our move by 9 days, so that we only just got to move into our new house on December 9, instead of November 30 like we planned.

I have managed just yesterday to get our new office organized, and I will show you where we keep our stock, on which these posts are based:


A view from the door showing our desks with lots of space. 


My work area, with supplies and accessories behind me. 


The stock closets and shelving with Nigerian postal history. There is more in the closets, but there are over 50,000 covers here, all from the Youth Mission in Finland, and all dating from 1972 onwards. So there is a major basis for a detailed study of postage rates, postmarks and frankings. 


Viktor watching me from my desk. 


The British West Africa stock on the top shelf, Pre-1936 Nigeria in the albums, and Canada to 1971 in the boxes on the bottom two shelves. 


Commonwealth and world on the top shelf, Nigeria from 1936 to date in the albums, and the rest of Canada from 1971 on on the third shelf.

I have a backlog of work to catch up on and other matters to attend to relating to the move before things resume our normal pattern next week. I will therefore expect my next post to be either on Monday or Tuesday, and the issue I will be talking about will of course, be the 6d green Queen Victoria surface printed stamp, watermarked crown CC and perf. 12.5.