The Printings Of The 6d Olive Green Queen Victoria Lagos Keyplate Issue Watermarked Crown CA 1884-1886
Today's post will pick up where last week's post left off with how to distinguish the six printings of the 6d olive green definitive of Lagos that was in use between 1884 and 1887 when it was replaced by the bi-coloured mauve and claret definitive stamp.
The six printings, which were released at the same time as the 1/- orange, were dispatched as follows:
- First printing - July 8, 1884 - 58 sheets of 60 stamps - 3,480 stamps.
- Second printing - December 16, 1884 - 62 sheets of 60 stamps - 3,720 stamps.
- Third printing - July 13, 1885 - 60 sheets of 60 stamps - 3,600 stamps.
- Fourth printing - December 29, 1885 - 61 sheets of 60 stamps - 3,660 stamps.
- Fifth printing - June 30, 1886 - 58 sheets of 60 stamps - 3,480 stamps.
- Sixth printing - October 12, 1886 - 76 sheets of 60 stamps - 4,560 stamps.
3. My general observation, from experience, that the first printings are always scarce to rare in mint condition, but abundant in used condition, as most would have been used for postage. The later printings are always much more common in mint condition, and much scarcer used. So I used the relative quantities of mint and used stamps to help me decide on the order of the printings.
Unlike other posts, I am not going to show back scans of every single stamp, as they do not give much more information than what we can glean from the shades, the general characteristics of gum and the cancellations. Instead, below is a scan showing the three different kinds of gum as found in the second, fourth and sixth printings:
As the scan clearly shows, the early crown CA gum is visibly crackly, and quite different in appearance from the later gum, which is completely smooth, and is often toned as well. The middle stamp is the single gum from the fourth printing, while the stamp on the right is the double gum from the sixth printing. In terms of appearance, the single and double gum look more or less the same. The only difference is that the double gum is thicker, and it tends to cause the stamps to curl from side to side.
First printing - Dispatched July 8, 1884
I have a single mint example with disturbed gum that is in a shade completely unlike any other stamp in my stock. The colour is a pure deep sage green, that contains no hint of brown, nor any hint of yellow. The duty plate and head plate colours are identical, even under a 10x loupe. I believe this to be the first printing, merely because of how rare it is. Here is a scan of this single mint stamp:
Second printing - Dispatched December 16, 1884
The second printing and third printing are very similar in shade, but it is the sheer abundance of used examples from this printing that led me to assign this to the second printing, as well as a single cancelled example with an early CDS that had an unreadable date. With a loupe, it just looks like it might be an 1885 date. The letters in "Lagos" are the wide type that are characteristic of the early CDS's as opposed to the CDS cancellations of the late 1880's and early 1890's, which had narrower letters.
The shade of this printing is almost an exact match for the yellow-olive swatch of the Gibbons colour key. It is still very green compared to the later shades, but compared to the sage green of the first printing, we are just beginning to see the first traces of brown in the colour. The gum on the mint examples that have gum is the crackly gum that is characteristic of the early printings. The duty plate and the head plate colours once again, are identical on this printing. I have 4 mint and 17 used examples of this printing. Here is a scan of the mint stamps:
Here you can see that there is definitely yellow and a bit of brown to the colour, and that the head and duty plate colours are the same.
Here are the used examples:
There is a full range of cancellations shown here, including some CDS's dated in 1892 and 1893, which suggests that this was not a value that saw a lot of use. There are several 8-bar and 9-bar oval cancellations, which hasn't been seen with this degree of balance on any issues before. The third stamp from the left on the second row is the potential 1885 date. You should clearly be able to see what looks like "Ju 19". If you look just under the "9" with a loupe, you can see what looks like a "5". These cancels were long gone by 1895, so the only logical guess is that this is an 1885 cancel. Since the next printing wasn't sent out until July, this means that this stamp must come from the first or second printings. Given that it is so different from the stamp that I have already assigned as the first printing, then it must be a second printing.
Third printing - Dispatched July 13, 1885
The third printing has the same type of gum as the second printing and the colour is very similar, being a shade of yellow olive. The main difference is that the head plate colour is slightly paler than the second printing, and the duty plate colour is every so slightly paler than the head plate colour. I have seven mint examples, including the famous value omitted stamp that was sold at the 1971 Danson sale, and two used examples.
Here are the scans showing the mint stamps:
Here are the two used examples:
Fourth printing - Dispatched December 29, 1885
This printing is very similar in shade to the third printing, but is just a bit yellower. Like the second printing, the duty plate and head plate colours are the same. The main distinguishing characteristic is that the gum, is the smooth, toned gum of the later printings. It seems to be a relatively scarce printing, despite its initial dispatch quantity, as I have only a single mint example in my stock, and three used examples.
Here is the single mint example in my possession:
Here are the three used examples:
So actually, I only have two used examples of this printing, both of which are on the right.
Fifth printing - Dispatched June 30, 1886
This shade is a definite shade of brown-olive. It is not as deep as the Gibbons brown-olive swatch, and a portion of the printing was made in ink that is closer to the olive green swatch than the brown olive swatch. The head plate and duty plate colours on this printing are identical. I have 15 mint examples, being roughly evenly split between the two shade variants, and three used examples.
Here are the mint examples from the brown olive group:
Sixth printing - Dispatched October 12, 1886
Stamps of this last printing are distinguished by the double gum and the amount of yellow in the shade, which is more than any other printing. The colour is still closest to the yellow olive swatch on the Gibbons colour key, but in this printing, it is much yellower and browner than the stamps of the other printings. Once again, the head plate any duty plate shades are the same on this printing. As expected mint examples are common, and used stamps are very scarce, with 17 of my 20 examples being mint.
Here are some of the mint stamps:
Hopefully you can see that this colour is very yellowish and brownish compared to the other stamps. Notice how the duty and head plate colours are the same as well.
Finally, here are the three used stamps in my stock: