The Printings of the 4d Lilac and Black Queen Victoria Keyplate Stamp of Lagos - Part Seven
The postage rates were such in the colony throughout the period that the 4d value would have been in high demand the entire time, for one reason or another. Thus it is curious that out of 258,540 stamps 107,880 would remain unsold at the beginning of 1905. The only plausible explanation for this is that sometime after 1900, the procedure that the Crown Agents followed for supplying stamps to the colony was altered, to send a much larger quantity of stamps less frequently to the colony rather than having many, many small printings every quarter. This would appear to be borne out by what actually did happen with the halfpenny and 1d stamps. These two values each had over 45 printings up to 1901 numbering between approximately 830,000 and 730,000 stamps respectively. The 1901 and 1902 printings of these two values, which were the last ones sent each numbered 219,780 and 375,900 stamps respectively - in other words 25-30% of what the total number had been for all printings combined up to that point. Thus it is quite probable that of the 107,880 unsold remainders half or more may have come from the last few printings, while the rest would have been the unsold remainders of earlier printings. Indeed, the official records do show that the total number of stamps sent to the colony up to September 1893 totaled only 108,900 stamps - approximately 42% of the total printing.
It is likely not possible to assign each printing identified to a definitive order within the entire group, but it is possible to assign the printings to groups that can be arranged into a logical order, based on the following characteristics already examined:
- The state of the plate.
- The shades.
- Whether or not the printing exists surcharged.
- An 8-bar barred oval grid measuring 24 x 19 mm that was in use from July 1880 to April 1899.
- A 9-bar barred oval grid measuring either 26.5 x 20 mm or 24 x 19 mm, that was in use from May 1887 until July 1897.
- A Lagos CDS that is 21 mm wide where the "L" of "Lagos" and "W"of "W. Africa" are 4 mm apart, which was in use from July 1887 until November 1895.
- A similar Lagos CDS in which the gap between the "L" and "W" is 3 mm, that was in use from August 1891 to July 1896.
- A larger 24 mm wide Lagos CDS with a dot at each side of the circle, that was in use from March 1897 until December 1904.
- The 8-bar oval cancels were the earliest, and were all but gone by 1893.
- The stamps of the fourth state are likely to have been printed after July 1896. Those with the 9-bar type are likely printed before July 1897.
- Within the third state, the stamps with the 8-bar ovals will be earlier than the 9-bar ovals, and the earliest printings will be those with the 21 mm Lagos CDS.
- Non-surcharged stamps of the first state, printed in the deeper reddish lilac shades and the deep, dull purple shades, starting with those cancelled with 8-bar oval obliterators and ending with the CDS cancelled examples.
- Surcharged and non-surcharged stamps of the first state printed in the reddish lilac shades.
- Surcharged and non-surcharged stamps of the second state printed in the dull purple shades, starting with the 8-bar cancels and ending with the 9-bar cancels.
- Surcharged and non-surcharged stamps of the second state printed in the paler reddish lilac shades.
- Surcharged and non-surcharged stamps of the third state, printed in the deeper shades first, followed by the paler shades, and then, by cancellation type.
- The stamps of the fourth state for which I have used examples first, and then all the mint, arranged with the deeper shades first and paler shades last.
- The stamps of the fifth state, with the paler and greyer shades of lilac being issued first, and the redder shades being issued later.