The last printings examined showed plate wear that is consistent with the 4th state of plate 1, which is so say that all of the detail in the hair behind the head is gone, as is most of the hair detail above the crown. The crown itself shows merging of the finer shading lines into solid masses of colour, and finally the horizontal shading lines in the portrait are of uneven thickness. There should normally have been a very worn 5th state for printings made between 1899 and 1900. However, I have not seen any such examples on this value. Instead, the next printings display all the characteristics that are consistent with the earliest states of the plate. This suggests that plate 2 was indeed used for this value, even though no record of plate 2 for this value exists. All the cancellations that are dated, show dates that are after 1900, which supports this notion as well.
In total I have identified five possible printings from this group, bringing the total number of possible identified printings for this value to 42. In this group, I have found one possible plate variety involving very slight doubling of the letters in "Penny", which I will illustrate here.
Thirty Eighth Printing
Thirty Ninth Printing
It is on this printing that the first of two possible constant varieties involving doubling of the duty plate numbers and letters appears. The third stamp from the left shows the start of a second impression of the top of the "2" and the bottom of the "1" of "1/2", right above the top of these numerals. This is not a common variety and was not seen at all on any of the earlier printings. You can see the variety in the following scan:
Forty First Printing
Forty Second Printing
On this printing, the head plate is dull ultramarine, while the duty plate colour is closest to Gibbons's ultramarine. I do not have any mint examples, but I do have six used examples, four of which are type A, and two of which are type B. All of the cancellations are either Lagos or Ibadan, and all are dated between September 16, 1901 and December 9, 1903.
This concludes my examination of the printings of this value. Next up is the 2d lilac and blue.
The 2d Lilac and Blue
This stamp exhibits many shades of both the head and duty plate. The lilac of the more common later printings tends to be either reddish, greyish or pale, while on the early printings, which are also much scarcer, it tends to be quite deep and brownish. The duty plate exhibits the most variation, with the early printings being in either deep blues, cobalt blues or grey-blues, which progresses to royal blues and deep ultramarines, until the more common late printings are usually shades of ultramarine.
In total. 448.800 were sent out to the colony, with the number of remainders destroyed being a staggering 244,260, more than any other value. This tends to suggest that either this was not a very popular value, or that the majority of the remainders come from the last one or two printings. Given how very prevalent the more common ultramarine shades are, I would venture to suggest that like the 1d and 1/2d stamps, the bulk of the total printing comes from the last one or two printings, with the remainder being spread among the earlier to mid-period printings. The first printings were sent in March 1887 and the last printings were made and sent out in August 1901. This represents 58 calendar quarters in which it is possible that separate printings could have been made, through it seems highly unlikely to me that this many printings were actually made. My initial sort of the mint and used examples that I have suggested to me that there were a maximum of 45 printings.
There are a number of constant plate flaws on this value that first surface on the earlier printings of the 2d value, some of which originated with the very first printings back in 1874. Many of those occur on printings in this colour and will be shown in the subsequent posts detailing the printings of this value.
Most of the early printings of this value prior to 1895 in used condition are cancelled with either the 8-bar or 9-bar oval killer. However, after 1895, more and more of the used stamps are cancelled with Lagos CDS cancels, until nearly all of the used examples after 1897 are cancelled in this manner.
This stamp seems to follow the usual progression of plate wear from the early state of the plate, in which nearly all the detail of the hair and crown is clear and visible, to the last state (the 5th state) in which almost no detail is visible in the hair. Most of the stamps that I looked at dated between 1900 and 1903, appeared to be from this late state. So it does not appear that plate 2 was used for this value, which is consistent with the fact that all recorded printings are from plate 1.
Group 1 - Early Printings From the First State of the Plate - Printings 1-10 - March 1887 to About September 1889.
Generally, all of these printings will show full detail in all the Queen's hair, including the back of the head, both above and below the diagonal ribbon, as well as at the top of the head above the crown. The jewels of the crown itself will all be clear and distinct, with no merging at all of the horizontal shading lines in the bands of the crown. Due to uneven wear of the plate, a few examples in the sheet, may show very slight merging at the top of the hair, or at the back of the head, however, all the other detail will be clear, and the horizontal shading lines of the medallion will, in all cases, be of uniform thickness and evenly spaced apart.
I have identified a total of ten printings that generally meet these characteristics, all of which show an array of different head plate and duty plate shades. The remainder of this post will examine these in detail.
I have four mint examples as shown above, including one specimen overprint without gum.
I have one mint example as shown in the scan above.
For this printing, I have one mint example, and two used examples, both of which are canceled with a strike of an 8-bar oval obliterator.