The Printings of the 10d Lilac and Yellow Orange Queen Victoria Keyplate Stamp From Lagos 1894-1901
I have 84 mint and used stamps of this value, which I initially sorted into the same five groups that I had identified in the posts dealing with the 5d and 7.5d, plus a sixth group: those that had all the characteristics of being from plate 2. I then sorted each of the first five groups further by the shades of the head plate and duty plates (words of value) into printings. I will now 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. In all, I believe I have identified 17 printings of this value.
Group 1 - Printings 1 to 3
Like the first printings of the 5d and 7.5d, 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, but are not as crisp as the stamps printed from plate 2.
I am fairly confident that this printing is actually the true first printing based on the fact that my two used examples are dated March 2, 1894, and April 16, 1894, just three to four month after the stamps were sent to the colony. The head plate is closest to reddish lilac on the Gibbons colour key, and the duty plate colour is orange-yellow on the colour key. The orange yellow is very bright and deep.
I have thirteen mint examples in my stock, four of which are shown below:
This printing is similar to the first, except that the head plate colour is a slightly redder lilac than the reddish lilac of the first printing, and the duty plate colour is a dirty orange yellow, that is deep, but not bright.
In this printing, the head plate colour is closest to the slate lilac swatch on the Gibbons colour key, but is quite a bit paler. The duty plate colour is definitely orange-yellow, like the first printing, except that it is not quite as bright as the orange-yellow of the first printing.
I have one mint single, and four used examples of this printing as shown below:
Group 2 - Printings 4 to 7
In this group of printings, like the 5d and 7.5d values, there is a slight loss of sharpness, with the most noticeable being the first shading lines near the jewels of the crown.
In this printing the head plate colour is a pale milky reddish lilac. It is pale like the third printing, but it lacks the slate undertone and is more reddish. The duty plate colour is the same bright orange-yellow as the first printing.
I have identified four mint and four used examples in my stock:
The stamp on the left is dated sometime in 1896, which makes sense for a fourth printing. The other two dated examples are very difficult to read, but the second stamp from the left appears to be dated 1903, which indicates another late usage. The third stamp does not have a readable date, but I can see that the date consists of only 2 numerals, which suggests that it is pre-1900, as dates after 1900 usually have the full four numerals of the year. The fourth example is cancelled with an 8-bar oval obilterator, which had been more or less phased out by 1898, so it is consistent with this being a fourth printing.
This printing is very similar to the fourth, but the colours of both the head and duty plate are very slightly different. The head plate is much paler and duller, containing a hint of rose, but also a hint of grey, except that is is not close to any of the grey-lilac or slate-lilac swatches on the Gibbons colour key. The duty plate colour is deeper than the normal orange-yellow, containing more orange. However, it does not contain quite enough orange to be yellow-orange. I have only one solitary mint example, and it is shown below.
The head plate colour of this printing is also a deep reddish lilac. But the duty plate colour is much closer to orange than it is to yellow. It is still closest to the orange-yellow swatch on the Gibbons colour key, not containing quite enough orange to be a match for the yellow-orange swatch.
I have five mint examples, including one with a specimen overprint, which suggests that the specimen overprints were not just produced when the stamps were issued, but were also made at later dates as well. These five mint examples are shown below:
I have three used examples of this printing, all of which appear to have been cancelled with 8-bar oval obliterators:
Group 3 - Printings 8 to 11
Like the 5d and 7.5d, 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.
The colours of the stamps from this printing are exactly the same as the fourth printing, with the head plate colour being a pale, milky reddish lilac and the duty plate colour being the bright orange-yellow.
I have four mint, and three used examples of this printing, which are shown below:
The head plate colour is still a deep reddish lilac on this printing, but the duty plate colour now moves firmly away from orange-yellow, to deep lemon, being closest to the lemon swatch on the Gibbons colour key.
I only have four mint examples of this printing, all of which are shown below:
The head plate of this printing is printed in a colour that is closest to the dull purple swatch of the Gibbons colour key, while the duty plate colour is almost a perfect match for the orange-yellow swatch. I have one single mint example shown below:
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 head plate colour of the stamps from this printing is pale milky reddish lilac, while the duty plate colour is deep lemon.
I have four mint examples from this printing, as shown below:
On this printing, the head plate colour is closest to dull purple on the Gibbons colour key, rather than the deep reddish lilac. The duty plate colour is closest to the orange-yellow swatch.
I have one mint example, and one used example of this printing, as shown below:
The colours of this printing are the same as the ninth printing, namely deep reddish lilac for the head plate, and deep reddish lilac for the duty plate colour.
Group 5 - Printing 15
This printing is distinct in that there is 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.
The head colour for this printing is deep reddish lilac, but the duty plate colour has reverted to orange-yellow.
I have two mint examples of this printing:
Group 6 - Printings 16 and 17
This group was not present in the 5d or 7.5d stamps that I examined, but it is the most distinct of all. All the details in the hair, crown and so forth are both clear, and completely crisp, in a way that the first printings are not. This clearly suggests that these stamps were printed from the new plate 2.
On these last two printings, the head plate colour completely changes away from lilac and towards deep purple. It is a problematic colour in the sense that it does not closely match any of the swatches on the Gibbons colour key. It is closest in to the deep purple swatch, but is definitely a duller colour, while it is not nearly as deep, nor as dull as Gibbons' deep dull purple. The duty plate colour is orange-yellow. I have one mint and one used example from this printing.