I have 78 mint and used stamps of this value, which I sorted into the same five groups that I had identified in last week's post. This is the starting point for this week's post. I will now sort each of these five groups further by the shades of the head plate and duty plates (words of value) into printings. Once identified, this post will illustrate them and describe their characteristics. Once again, I do not have a sufficient number of dated used examples to be certain about the order of the printings, so when I refer to a printing as the "fourth printing", I mean the fourth printing that I identified - not necessarily the fourth printing made.
Group One - Printings 1-3
Like the first printings of the 5d, these first three printings show only minimal plate wear, with slight merging of the first three lines at the very top of the hair. Most all of the other details are clear.
Group 2 - Printings 4-7
In this group of printings, like the 5d value, there is a slight loss of sharpness, with the most noticeable being the first shading lines near the jewels of the crown.
The head plate colour of this printing is closest to slate lilac, but is just a touch more rosy than the swatch in the Gibbons colour key. The duty plate colour is a deep aniline crimson, and does just show through on the back.
Group 3 - Printings 8-11
Like the 5d last week, the printings of the third group are characterized by the lack of detail in the hair in the back of the head, the merging of the top four or five hairlines at the top of the head, and the merging of most of the lower hairlines up to about half way up the jewels in the crown.
On this printing the head plate colour is closest to the dull purple swatch on the Gibbons colour key, but is noticeably paler. The duty plate colour is crimson, which is not aniline, as it does not show clearly through the back.
This is one of the more common ones in my stock, with 9 mint and 2 used examples. Here they are:
Group 4 - Printings 12-16
These printings are characterized by the fact that while nearly all the detail in the hair up to the top of the crown is gone, there is still a narrow band of detail visible between the top of the crown and the top of the head. Also, the horizontal shading lines in the lower horizontal band of the crown are still visible, but just beginning to merge into one another.
The cancel on the used example looks very strange, and there is better than even chance that is not actually genuine, given that used examples of this stamp are worth more than ten times as much as mint examples.
Group 5 - Printings 17-19
These last three printings all possess a coarseness of appearance that none of the preceding printings have. The detail in the hair at the top of the head is almost completely gone, and most of the shading lines in the lower horizontal band of the crown are completely merged together.
This is the last of the printings to have the duty plate printed in a deep magenta colour. The head plate is closest to slate lilac on the Gibbons colour key. The used example next to the mint one is postmarked June 24, 1902, which is perfectly consistent with its classification as a printing made between 1900 and August 1901, which is when these last printings were likely made.
I have seven examples of this printing, of which three are used. All of these are shown in the scan below:
The dates on the cancellations are difficult to read, but they all dated between December 1902 and September 1903, so there is a good possibility that this is the last printing that was sent to the colony on August 19, 1901.
On this printing, the head plate colour is pale dull purple, while the duty plate colour is non-aniline crimson.
After careful examination of the stamps and careful study of the degree of plate wear, it appears that this stamp had almost as many printings as the 5d. In fact, it seems as though it had one more, with 19 printings made during the seven year period that it was printed. It is not a common stamp to find in used condition, which makes dating the printings difficult. For instance, almost none of the stamps in groups three and four of this value are used. Despite this, it would seem, that the approximate date ranges that I gave for the five printing groups of the 5d would apply here also. They were:
- Group one stamps would appear to be from early to mid 1894.
- Group two stamps would seem to be from late 1894 to mid 1895.
- Group three stamps would seem to be from mid 1895 to about the end of 1897.
- Group four stamps would appear to cover the period from, 1898 to the end of 1899.
- Group five stamps would appear to cover the period from 1900 to the the last shipment in August 1901.
Next week I will look at the last of these three stamps: the 10d lilac and yellow orange. This should enable me to reach some pretty solid conclusions about what the main groups of printings were between 1894 and 1901 and their identifying characteristics. Armed with this information, I can begin looking at the 3d and 2.5d stamps that were issued in 1890-1891 with a view to identifying the pre-1894 printings, and then doing a good sort of the 1894-1901 printings.