Cancellations and Postal History of the 1904 King Edward VII Issue of Lagos
Before I get into the specific cancellations, a word on the rarity of the high values in postally used condition. This issue had a useful life of no more than 9 or ten months. Last week we saw that there were no more than between 720 and 1,680 stamps issued in total - mint and used. The high values would have seen very little usage, as they would really only have been required on very valuable registered items. So it is highly doubtful that more than 5% or 10% of these stamps would have been used during the life of this issue, so the number of total extant used stamps is probably not more than 150 or so of each of the 5/- and 2/6d and maybe 75-100 of the 10/-. In addition to the overall rarity, is the fact that the green ink used for printing is doubly fugitive and fades with exposure to water. Thus, most of the used examples would have faded when they were soaked off envelopes. So, examples with full, original colour are extreme rarities that are vastly undervalued in the standard catalogues.
Without further ado, I present to you the cancellations and covers that I have of this issue.
Halfpenny Deep Dull Green and Myrtle Green
In the above scan, we have two Abeokuta CDS cancels dated August 5, 1904 and September 29, 1904. The middle stamp is badly faded through exposure to water and provides an excellent illustration of what I was just talking about with respect to the green ink. On the right we have a Lagos CDS cancellation dated June 10, 1904. The Abeokuta cancellations are noted to be reasonably scarce in the Proud Bailey handbook.
This a a selection of about half of the Lagos CDS cancels in my collection. I have another half dozen or so just like the ones shown here. They are generally not rare. The cancellation with the larger letters fourth from the left and the Post Office cancellation are a little more unusual, but again, not rare by any means.
Another selection of nice Abeokuta strikes, including one from March 11, 1904, which is quite an early date, as most of these are from June to August. Two types are shown here, both of which are listed in Proud. The smaller type is actually scarcer than the larger type, and is valued 4 times higher.
Here we have four stamps, two of which are type 1, with the thin lettering and two of which are type 2, with the thicker lettering. The two type 1 stamps are cancelled with Lagos and Abeokuta CDS's, while the type 2's are cancelled with Calabar and Onitsha CDS's. The dates are not clear, but are likely in 1904.
Here, we have some nice legible strikes of the Lagos CDS. As you can see these are generally all dated late in 1904.
The front of a registered envelope, printed in a deeper shade of the grey blue, but the same size as the mint envelope shown earlier. This was sent to Accra, Gold Coast on October 15, 1904. Accra, was considered to be an inland destination, even though it was another colony, and was this rated at 1d, so that the registered envelope required only a single 1d stamp.