I have a fairly significant quantity of the surcharge on hand, and it would seem to be a useful exercise at this point, to take these stamps and match them up to the printings that I have identified so far. By doing so, I can safely conclude that the stamps without the overprint that share the same characteristics will have been printed before February 1894. This should help isolate those printings that were made between February 1894 and March 1895, since none of those stamps will have a corresponding surcharged example. Furthermore, by studying the printings made over the six month period of the surcharge, it may be possible to identify printings of the 4d that were specifically attributable to the period from August 1893 to February 1894. In this case, I would expect to see a surcharge that always exhibits the same characteristics in terms of plate wear and shade.
So my first step in studying these, before I attempt to match them to the other printings that I have already identified, will be to study the surcharges themselves and attempt to group them into the six printings identified by Pemberton. That will be the focus of this week's post.
First Printing - Made From A Setting of Two - July 1893
In the first printing, the surcharge consisted of repeating pairs of two distinct surcharges. In both cases, the words "Half Penny" are 16 mm long, the space between them is 1.5 mm, and the bars obliterating the words "four pence" are 16.75-17 mm long and placed one above the other in such a way, that neither juts out significantly from the other on either end. The difference between the two surcharges in each pair is as follows:
- On the first surcharge there is no serif at the top of the left hand side of the "E", while the "P" is set slightly lower than the "E".
- On the second surcharge, the cross bar at the top of the 'L" slopes down at left. There is virtually no serif to the right of the foot of the right hand vertical stroke of the "H".
In my collection, I have a total of 16 stamps displaying this surcharge type. Eleven are mint, and five are used. The scans below show each group of four stamps more closely:
Here is the bottom row of mint examples. Note the similarity of the shades of the first three stamps.
Here is the second row of mint examples from the bottom left. Again, all stamps but the third, which is badly tropicalized are of similar shade.
The top row of used examples. The first stamp from the left bears an October 3, 1893 Lagos CDS, which opens up the possibility of this being from either the first or second printings. The second stamp from the left is cancelled with a lovely August 12, 1893 Lagos CDS, which places it squarely in the first printing, in all liklihood, as the earliest known use for this issue was August 2.
Finally, the two stamps on the end of the block both show very slight doubling of both the letters and the surcharge bars. However, in my opinion, the doubling is not strong enough to constitute a true double surcharge variety, as listed in Gibbons. Here is a close up of those two stamps:
The pair and the single in the middle are both dated January 1894, which is well within the date range given by Pemberton for this printing. The pair however is very curious because it does not correspond to the previously identified types. Let's take a closer look at it:
Here I have 19 regular mint examples of this surcharge, three with doubling of the surcharge, and one with an inverted "V" in place of the "A". The mint examples show a range of shades, which indicates that stamps from several printings made to 1893 were used for the surcharge. I also have six used examples of the regular surcharge, which will be shown below. The number of examples with this surcharge is the largest, which does support the notion that the third printing was indeed, the most common of the six documented.
Here is the first group of mint examples. Note the general misplacement of the letters in relation to the surcharge bars. The more misplaced ones are more likely to be from the third printing, than they are from the fourth printing.
Here are the next three mint regular stamps. Here there is a wide range of shades and a considerable amount of slippage in the typeface of the first example on the left.
And the last four of the regular mint examples. The typeface is fairly clean for the first and fourth examples, and quite battered on the second and fourth examples. This would suggest that the first and third examples are likely from the third printing.
Here are three examples that all show some degree of doubling of the surcharge. The first two show no doubling of the bars, and only partial doubling of the letters, but the doubling is far enough upward that it is more spectacular than the usual more common kiss prints. The third used example has a distinct second impression of the entire words, as well as very slight doubling of the bars. This used example appears to be cancelled either in October or November 1894.
- Surcharge 5 has a smudged dot in the centre loop of the "P".
- Surcharge 6 has almost the same characteristics as surcharge 2, except that the letters "N", "N" are spaced wider apart than normal. Normally, the tops of the two "N's" almost touch, whereas with this type, there is an actual space between them.
The dot inside the P is very clear on all but the last stamp, where it is fainter. However, with a magnifying glass it is clearly visible.
Here are my two used examples, both of which appear to be cancelled with 8-bar oval obliterators.
Now, let's look at surcharge 6. I only have two used examples as shown below:
The stamp on the right is cancelled with an 8-bar oval obliterator, but the left stamp is cancelled with a November 19, 1894 Lagos CDS, which is consistent with this being a later printing.
I have one used pair which consists of surcharge 4, followed by surcharge 1 as shown below. Pemberton had originally asserted that this printing was supposed to consist of surcharge 1-surcharge 2-surcharge 4 in a repeating pattern, but that the actual type used was surcharges 4, 5 and 6 in an indeterminate order. However, the existence of this pair would seem consistent with Pemberton's original findings, and would suggest that it is from the fourth printing:
I have eleven mint singles and eight used singles. The scans below, show each of these groups of stamps more closely:
Here are the first four mint examples. The third stamp is badly faded, but note how the shades of this group are generally paler, or duller than the earlier printings. This suggests that these were made from later printings of the 4d.
Here is the second group of mint examples, with the middle two being kiss prints that show some doubling of the letters.
Here are the last three mint stamps, with the middle example showing a clear kiss print also.
Here are the first four used examples. The first CDS example is cancelled in 1894, but the second one is dated August 1893, which again suggests that this printing may have actually been made concurrently with the others.
Here in this group of four used stamps, we have dates ranging from September 1893-December 1893. So again, it is possible that this printing was made quite a bit earlier than I thought.
Here is a nice mint block of 6, from the left side of the sheet, showing incomplete "LF" of "Half" on the lower right stamp.
- Surcharge 8 has a upper bar measuring 16.5 mm, and lower one 17 mm, with the later projecting slightly at each end.
- Surcharge 9 has both bars 16.5 mm, with the upper one jutting slightly to the right.
- Surcharge 10 has the upper bar measuring 17 mm and the lower one being 16.5, with the lower one overlapping slightly at the left, and the upper one overlapping at right.
You can see that there is a second impression located just below the first, and a third impression located above the first.