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Printings of the 1/2d Green and 1d Carmine Queen Victoria Keyplate Stamps of Lagos 1887-1904 Part Two

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Today's post will launch right into an examination of the printings of the 1/2d green and 1d carmine Queen Victoria keyplate stamps that were made from the first state of the plate. By my reckoning in last week's post, it was my opinion that each of these denominations should have had approximately 12 printings each, made between March 1887 and either December 1889 or January 1890.

So the starting point in identifying these is to look through my many mint and used examples for stamps that were clearly printed from the first state of the plate. As stated in all my previous posts, the first state of the plate is characterized by the almost complete lack of wear in the design, and by the following characteristics:


Generally speaking, the horizontal shading lines in the background of the portrait medallion, will all be clearly separated from the other lines, and will be more or less the same thickness, from the top of the medallion, to the bottom. All of the hairlines in the hair …

Printings of the 1/2d Green and 1d Carmine Queen Victoria Keyplate Stamps of Lagos 1887-1904 Part One

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Today, I circle back and begin the arduous task of unravelling the tremendously complex labyrinth of printings for what were the two most commonly used stamps of Lagos between 1887 and 1904: the halfpenny green and the 1d carmine.

According to Ince, there were a staggering 42 printings of the halfpenny and 49 printings of the 1d carmine. Some of these were made before the introduction of the bicoloured series in March 1887, when the monocoloured crown CA stamps were first issued in 1884, and some were made after July 1901, when plate 1 had been retired and plate 2 was brought into use.

The breakdown of printings is as follows:


Before March 1887: 6 printings of the 1/2d (24,300 stamps) and 11 of the 1d (41,400 stamps).Between March 1887 and August 1901:  34 printings of the (1/2d 805,980 stamps) and 36 printings of the 1d (687,660 stamps).Between August 19, 1901 and August 29, 1902: 2 printings of the 1/2d (219,780 stamps) and 2 printings of the 1d (375,900 stamps). There are several i…

Printings of the 10/- Green and Brown Queen Victoria Keyplate Stamp of Lagos - 1887-1903

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This week, I will deal with the last of the high value keyplate stamps from this series: the ten shilling green and brown. This is on a par with both the 2/6d and 5/- in terms of absolute scarcity, but because it is a higher denomination, the standard stamp catalogues ascribe a higher value to it.

According to Ince, the total number of stamps printed and sent to the colony between March 1887 and August 19, 1901 was 24,720, of which 13,620 remainders were sent back to London in 1905 for destruction. This leaves a net issue quantity of 11,100 stamps, which makes it slightly less scarce than the other two high values.

This stamp, being half a pound, would have seen very little postal use indeed, and consequently, genuine used examples are genuine rarities. One has to be very careful of altered halfpenny stamps that have had the words "Half Penny" erased and the new value "Ten Shillings" drawn in. One also has to watch for fake cancellations on mint stamps. I have exa…

Printings of the 5/- Green and Blue Queen Victoria Keyplate Stamp of Lagos - 1887-1903

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Today, I look at the printings of the next high value stamps in this series: the 5 /- green and blue. According to Ince, 28,320 stamps were dispatched to the colony between March 1887 and August 1901, while 18.900 remainders were destroyed. This makes the net issued quantity of 9,420 stamps, almost identical to the 2/6, yet curiously the catalogue value of this stamp is significantly higher than the 2/6. In any event, the catalogue values are extremely low relative to the true scarcity of these stamps.  If we assume a survival rate in all grades of 10%, which is likely very generous, given that this is a West African crown colony, and not England or Canada, or some other country with a temperate climate and a population that is accustomed to preservation, then there are probably no more than 950 stamps in existence now - both mint and used.

As was the case with the 2/6 stamp, a denomination of this size would have seen little postal use, being used only for registered letters that ha…