- Any stamp cancelled with an 8-bar oval killer will likely be from before 1887.
- Any mint stamp that either has no gum, brownish gum or crackly gum is likely to be from the period before 1887.
- The last three printings before 1887 will have the later double gum and these will be more difficult to identify with certainty.
- In addition, as was discovered in my last post, the plate 1, should show very little wear through to the end of this period, with most if not all, of the shading lines in the Queen's hair, as well as the back of her head being clear and distinctly separate from one another. The signs of wear to the plate manifest themselves as a thickening of the fine details in both the hair and diadem, as well as a merging together of the separate shading lines. On the most worn examples toward 1900, the hair, diadem and especially the back of the Queen's head appear as one solid mass of colour. After 1900, plate 2 was introduced, and the impressions go back to being as clear, and sharp as the early printings, except that all the other characteristics with respect to paper, gum and shade are all off. So clear, unworn examples that have the earlier 8-bar oval killers should be from this period.
- First printing - July 8, 1884 - 55 sheets, or 3,300 stamps.
- Second printing - September 24, 1884 - 60 sheets, or 3,600 stamps.
- Third printing - December 16, 1884 - 57 sheets, or 3,420 stamps.
- Fourth printing - April 21, 1885 - 58 sheets, or 3,480 stamps.
- Fifth printing - July 13, 1885 - 60 sheets, or 3,600 stamps.
- Sixth printing - September 29, 1885 - 60 sheets, or 3,600 stamps.
- Seventh printing - December 29, 1885 - 62 sheets, or 3,720 stamps.
- Eighth printing - March 29, 1886 - 61 sheets, or 3,660 stamps.
- Ninth printing - June 30, 1886 - 60 sheets, or 3,600 stamps.
- Tenth printing - October 12, 1886 - 75 sheets, or 4,500 stamps.
- Eleventh printing - December 13, 1886 - 82 sheets, or 4,920 stamps.
- Any dated CDS cancel prior to 1887.
- Any 8-bar oval killer cancel.
- Any mint stamp that has brownish single gum.
- Any mint stamp having crackly or slightly crackly gum.
- Any stamp having a deep or dull shade, as the later printings tended to be both deeper and brighter.
- Any early looking stamp with a very clear printing impression.
Stamps 2 and 3
Stamps 5 Through 9
These three used examples are printed in the same shades. The middle stamp shows more plate wear than the mint stamp above, and may actually be from the 1887-1900 period. The two end stamps are cancelled in that middle period, but both have the clarity of detail associated with the earlier printings. As I have written many times before, it is entirely possible for a few stamps from the April 1885 printing to be cancelled as late as 1890 or 1892. Stamps received by the post offices are usully sold on a last-in-first out basis, as new sheets received are simply placed on top of the old ones and the stamps are sold from the top sheet on the pile. Thus it is possible for a postal clerk to have a sheet or two from an earlier printing that sits at the bottom of the drawer and doesn't get sold completely before the next shipment arrives. Of course some clerks might put the old sheets on top if they had already started to sell from them, but I'm guessing that if a sheet was intact, that they likely wouldn't place it on top of the pile. I'm not sure how many post offices there were in Lagos at this time, but I'm guessing with a printing of 60 sheets or so, that each post office probably received 2 or 3 sheets,
- First printing - July 8, 1884 - stamp 14.
- Second printing - September 24, 1884 - stamp 11, I think based on it's similarity to the first printing. However, it could also be an example of the third printing.
- Third printing - December 16, 1884 - could be stamp 11.
- Fourth printing - April 21, 1885 - stamps 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.
- Fifth printing - July 13, 1885 - stamp 13.
- Sixth printing - September 29, 1885 - stamps 15 and 18.
- Seventh printing - December 29, 1885 - stamp 12.
- Eighth printing - March 29, 1886 - stamps 16, 17 and 25.,
- Ninth printing - June 30, 1886 - stamps 2 and 3.
- Tenth printing - October 12, 1886 - stamp 4.
- Eleventh printing - December 13, 1886 - stamps 10 and 19 through 24.