Today's post will look at the printings of the third value in the second Queen Victoria series of 1876-1880: the 3d red-brown. This stamp overall, is the second scarcest of the six basic denominations, with only 30,120 stamps being printed over four different printings.The last of these, and the only one to be comb perforated, is also a separately listed stamp in Stanley Gibbons, due to the fact that the colour, which is chestnut, instead of the normal red-brown, is a very distinct and different colour.
This leaves really only three printings, which all came from the first three London dispatches of stamps for this issue, which were:
May 9, 1876
June 12, 1877
August 28, 1878
All three of these are line perforated, so the characteristics that we will be relying on to separate them will be:
- Shades, particularly differences between the colour of the head plate and the duty plate (words of value).
- Cancellations - those from the first two printings should be cancelled predominantly with the Lagos diamond barred grid killer, while the last one should be cancelled with primarily the barred oval killer.
- Paper differences. We should generally see no obvious mesh in the paper, with the watermark being barely visible. Papers that show a clear watermark or clear vertical mesh are suggestive of later, rather than earlier printings.
- All the used examples that I have seen are cancelled with the Lagos diamond barred grid cancel.
- The colour of the head plate is a milky red brown, while the duty plate is a deeper, richer red brown.
- The watermark is more clearly visible on this value for some reason than other values of the set printed at this time, but the mesh, while visible, is not obvious.
Now, let's take a look at the back of this chestnut stamp: