The Unwatermarked Queen Victoria First Waterlow Issue of Niger Coast Protectorate Part Three - The 1d Blue
Gibbons lists a pale blue and a dull blue shade for this stamp, though in reality, there are at least 7 shades that I have been able to identify. Four of these would be classified by Gibbons as pale blue, while the other three would likely be classified as dull blue. However, it is clear that there should be more shade groups included in the catalogue, since some of the stamps here completely do not fit either shade name.
The scans below show the shades I have identified:
The first stamp on the left is a perfect match to Gibbons's Prussian blue. The second stamp from the left is a little brighter, being a very close match to deep dull blue on the Gibbons colour key. The third stamp from the left is brighter still and a little lighter, being a very close match to Gibbons's dull blue. So these three stamps are what Gibbons would classify as dull blue. The stamp on the right does not really match any of the colours on the Gibbons key exactly. It is closest to light blue, but is duller and contains a hint more green. This is the first of the shades that would fall under the heading of pale blue in the Gibbons catalogue.
Re-Entries and Plate Flaws
Ince and Osborne identified 12 plate flaws, re-entries or other characteristic that can be used as the basis for plating these stamps. Some of the flaws occur on all stamps or several stamps, making them less useful for identification. However there are six positons that can be positively identified using some of these plate flaws.
The following occur on all or several of the positions in the sheet:
- All stamps in the sheet show an additional short vertical line at the top left corner of the picture.
- Positions 19, 33, 36 and 53: a single line of colour appears in the upper half of the left margin.
- Positions 13 and 23 a double line of colour appears in the upper half of the left margin.
- Positions: 3, 6, 8, 10, 20, 25, 42: a graver line extends from the upper arm of the "E" in Niger towards the loop of the "R".
- Position 12: similar to above except a line extends from the "R" back to the E, and these two lines join up.
- Position 44: similar to (5), but there is a heavy mark at the top right arm of the E, descending at 45 degrees, resembling a white triangle.
- Positions 9, 18, 21, 32, 43, 56 - an extra graving line appears on the right hand loop of the "R" in Niger, towards the "C" of "Coast".
- Position 30: similar to (7) above, but the line appears midway between R and C.
- Position 1: The outer vertical framelines at the top left are increasingly double as they descend.
- Position 11: Similar to position 1, except that there is also a line of colour in the upper left hand margin descending at 45 degrees.
- Position 39: two long lines of colour at left, from below N of "Niger", descending at an angle to intersect the outer perimeter line, and continuing down to the margin half way.
- Position 40: Extra lines to the oval at left and right just below centre. Extra line of colour to the frame at left opposite R of PRO and also on the right of the frame opposite of ATE.
- Positions 50 and 60: the oval surrounding the Queen's head has a double line on both sides just below centre. There is also an additional horizontal frameline at the top right corner, and extending to the right.
You can just make out the projection from the R in the above scan. In addition to this, the horizontal shading lines of the portrait oval just protrude into the oval frame just below Oil and opposite the star ornament at left, as seen in this close up scan:
As expected, the doubling appears much clearer on this stamp:
- The doubling only occurs on the right side.
- The doubling of the oval occurs both above and below the letters "ATE".
- Instead of a vertical line of colour inside the outer frameline, there is a slight extension of some of the horizontal shading lines into this frame.
This is one of the more common cancellations during this issue. The scan below shows eight examples of the CDS Cancellation, dated between May 1, 1894 and March 16, 1895, and two examples of the squarred circle cancellation:
This is one of the scarcest of the villages to find cancellations from or this time period. Proud lists any pre-February 22 1897 cancellations as being worth 10 pounds. This cancellation is doubly struck, with one impression being inverted relative to the other.
This is one of the scarcer villages for this issue, and accordingly I have only one squarred circle postmark for Opobo, dated December 14, 1894. This lists at ten pounds in Proud.
Old Calabar River
Interestingly, I have many more of these cancellations than any of the other villages, and yet Proud values them at six pounds each.