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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Printings of the 4d Lilac and Black Queen Victoria Keyplate Stamp of Lagos - Part Four

Last week I segued into the halfpenny surcharge issue of 1893, which utilized quantities of 4d stamps that were on hand, nearly all of which would have been printed before that time. I had hypothesized that by attempting to match these surcharges with some of the regular stamps that I had already identified, that I would be able to isolate:

1. Printings made after February 1894, where I have regular examples, but none that are surcharged. Note that it is possible that such printings could be from before February 1894, and were never surcharged, or I just don't have an example of one. However, there is a better than even chance that if a stamp only exists without surcharge, and it is from the third state of the plate, then it likely is from a later printing.

2. Additional printings made between July 1893 and February 1894 where I only have a surcharged example.

Last week I sorted the surcharged stamps that I have by their settings, and the printing that they came from. Over the next few weeks, I will attempt to assign each of these stamps to one of the printings that I have already identified in parts 1 and 2. Below I have reproduced most of last week's post, but have added in comments to indicate which printing each stamp corresponds to.

First Printing - Made From A Setting of Two - July 1893

First Surcharge


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. The last stamp on the right shares the same shade and plate characteristics as the fifth printing identified in part 1.

Printings identified: 5th printing.
Stamps not identified as to printing: 3


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. This stamp, upon close examination matches the characteristics of the first printing identified in part 1. The fourth stamp at the right is the same shade as the 27th printing identified in step 2, although the hair lines above the crown are a little more clearly defined on this stamp.

Printings identified: 1st and 27th printing.
Stamps not identified as to printing: 2


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 likelihood, as the earliest known use for this issue was August 2.

The first stamp from the left matches the shade and plate characteristics of the eighteenth printing. The second stamp from the left matches the plate and shade characteristics of the fifth printing identified in part 1. The third and fourth stamps from the left match the shade and plate characteristics of the ninth printing.

Printings identified: 5th, 9th and 18th printing.


These four stamps are all examples of the "kiss print", in which the letters of the surcharge show partial doubling, due to movement of the type.

The second stamp from the right is a very close match to the shade of the 18th printing that was identified in part 2.  The right stamp matches most closely the shade and plate characteristics of the 23rd printing that was identified in step 2.

Printings identified: 18th and 23rd printing.
Stamps not identified as to printing: 2

Second Surcharge

I have four examples of this surcharge on single stamps, as shown below:


This mint example shows the very clear lack of lower serif at the bottom right of the "H".



This stamp is the first clear example of a doubled surcharge, showing a clear and distinct second impression of the words, and slight doubling of the bars, just visible at the top right.  This stamp is very, very close in shade to the fifth printing identified in part 1, and it shares the same plate characteristics. 



Here are two used examples, the left stamp being cancelled August 29, 1893, which likely identifies this as an example of the first printing. It shares the exact same characteristics as the first printing that was identified in part 1. The stamp on the right matches that of the second printing identified in part 1.

Printings identified: 1st and 2nd printing.

I have been able to identify two blocks from this scarce printing, by virtue of the fact that the stamps show both types of surcharge in a repeating pattern of surcharge 1-surcharge 2. In addition, both blocks show some doubling of the surcharge on one or more stamps. In the first block, the doubling is more in the nature of a kiss print, through there is doubling of the bars. In the second block, there is a clear doubled surcharge, showing distinct doubling of all the letters. 

Here is the first block:


A lovely block of 6 from the upper right corner of the sheet, showing the "current number" in the selvage, which places this printing from before 1891, as the use of current numbers was abandoned after that date. 


Now, here is the other block:



This time it is a block of six from the lower right of the sheet. Again, the three stamps show very clearly the repeating pattern of surcharge 1-surcharge 2-surcharge 1 that is characteristic of the first printing. 


Second Printing - Made From the First Triplet Setting - August/September 1893


I have four examples of this surcharge, all of which are used:


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 shares the same shade and plate characteristics as the 24th printing that was identified in step 2.

Printings identified: 24th printing.
Stamps not identified as to printing: 2

Third Printing - Made From The Second Triplet Setting - September/October 1893

Let's take a look at the single stamps that I have identified with surcharge 4:


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.

The first stamp on the left matches the ink and plate characteristics of the fifth printing that was identified in part 1. The second stamp from the left most closely matches the tenth printing in terms of shade and plate characteristics. The third stamp from the left shares the same shade and plate characteristics as the ninth printing.

Printings identified: 5th, 9th and 10th printing.
Stamps not identified as to printing: 1


Here is the second mint group of four stamps. Note the slippage of the typeface for the "H" in the second and fourth examples. The first stamp from the left shares the same shade and plate characteristics as the ninth printing identified in part 1. The second through fourth stamps match the shade and plate characteristics of the 18th printing that was identified in part 2.

Printings identified: 9th and 18th printing.
Stamps not identified as to printing: 1


Here is the third group of four mint examples. These are all relatively clean and unbattered, which indicates that they are very likely from this third printing. The first stamp from the left shares the same shade and plate characteristics as the ninth printing identified in part 1.

Printings identified: 9th printing.
Stamps not identified as to printing: 3


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.The third stamp on the right is an exact match to the 27th printing, both in terms of the shade, and the fact that it is from the third state of the plate.

Printings identified: 27th printing.
Stamps not identified as to printing: 2


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. The fourth stamp on the right matches the shade and plate characteristics of the tenth printing. The second stamp from the left matches the shade and plate characteristics of the 27th printing.

Printings identified: 10th and 27th printing.
Stamps not identified as to printing: 2


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.

The third stamp shown on the right shares the same shade and plate characteristics as the fifth printing that was identified in part 1. The first stamp on the left shares the same shade and plate characteristics as the ninth printing.

Printings identified: 5th and 9th printing.
Stamps not identified as to printing: 1


Here we have a used example that shows incomplete lettering in the "A", "L" and "F" of "Half". The "A" actually resembles an inverted "V" as there is no crossbar to the "A". It is the only such example that I have seen in all my surcharged stamps. The stamp is clearly a bit faded, but it would appear to be closest in shade to the tenth printing. The plate characteristics are consistent with the tenth printing. 




Here are my six used examples. What is curious about these is that the two stamps are both dated in August 1893, which suggests that this printing was made much earlier than I thought. However, in both these examples there is slight slippage of the typeface in the upward direction, so that what appears at first to be the characteristic irregular dot of colour in the upper part of the "E", may in fact be the crossbar of the "E" which has been doubled and shifted upward, in which they may be kiss print examples of the seventh surcharge. The third example at the top is dated October 1893, which is about what I would expect for this printing. The other two used examples on the to row are both cancelled with barred oval obliterators, but it is not possible to be certain if they are 8 or 9-bar. The last example at the bottom right is a late usage, cancelled with the wider Lagos CDS, dated February 20, 1901.

The third stamp in the top row shares the exact same characteristics as the first printing identified in part 1. The second stamp on the top row shares the same shade and plate characteristics as the ninth printing. The fourth stamp on the top row at the right shares the same shade and plate characteristics as the 18th printing.

The second stamp on the second row shares the same shade and plate characteristics as the 23rd printing that was identified in step 2.

Printings identified: 1st, 9th, 18th and 23rd printing.
Stamps not identified as to printing: 2

I have one mint block of four in which all four stamps appear to be surcharge 4. However, according to Pemberton's studies of this stamp, the fourth surcharge is supposed to be followed either by surcharge 1, 5 or 6. So the existence of this block is somewhat of a mystery:



Fourth Printing - From the Third Triplet Setting - October/November 1893

Let's take a look at my examples of surcharge 5:


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. The second stamp from the left matches the shade and plate characteristics of the tenth printing identified in part 1.  The first, third, fifth and sixth stamps are all the same shade and plate state as the 18th printing identified in part 2. The fourth stamp shares the same shade and plate characteristics as the 27th printing that was identified in step 2.

Printings identified: 10th, 18th and 27th printing.



Here are my two used examples, both of which appear to be cancelled with 8-bar oval obliterators. These are both the same shade, and share the same plate characteristics as the 18th printing that was identified in step 2.

Printings identified: 18th printing.

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:



The shade and plate characteristics of this pair are the same as the 18th printing that was identified in step 2. 

Fifth Printing - From Last Triplet Setting of 16 mm Spacing - November/December 1893

Here are the examples in my collection, including a used strip of 6 on piece, a mint block of 6, and a used block of 8:


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.

The first stamp on the left shares the same shade and plate characteristics as the 18th printing identified in step 2.

Printings identified: 18th printing.
Stamps not identified as to printing: 3


Here is the second group of mint examples, with the middle two being kiss prints that show some doubling of the letters. The first stamp on the left matches the shade and plate characteristics of the fourteenth printing identified in part 1. The second stamp matches the shade and plate characteristics of the 26th printing that was identified in step 2.

Printings identified: 14th and 26th printing.
Stamps not identified as to printing: 2



Here are the last three mint stamps, with the middle example showing a clear kiss print also. The first of these matches the shade of the tenth printing exactly, although this stamp shows a little more merging of the hairlines above the jewels of the crown. The third stamp on the right is the same shade, and has a similar degree of plate wear to the 27th printing that was identified in step 2. The middle stamp matches the 29th printing as to shade and plate wear.

Printings identified: 27th and 29th printing.
Stamps not identified as to printing: 1



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.

The first stamp on the left is the same shade, and exhibits the same degree of plate wear as the 29th printing identified in step 2. The third stamp from the left is very close in shade to the sixth printing identified in part 1, but is just a bit paler. However, the tone is exactly the same and the plate characteristics are consistent.

Printings identified: 6th and 29th printing.
Stamps not identified as to printing: 2



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. The first stamp on the left shares the same shade and plate characteristics as the first printing that was identified in part 1. The second and fourth stamps are the same shade, and share the same plate characteristics as the 27th printing that was identified in step 2.

Printings identified: 1st and 27th printing.
Stamps not identified as to printing: 1



Here is a nice used strip on piece. Used examples of this setting were not known when Pemberton published his findings in the mid 1930's. 


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.




And finally, a nice used block of 8, cancelled with four strikes of a 9-bar oval obliterator. 

The last item I have from this printing is perhaps the most spectacular. It is a mint strip of three showing bad slanting of the surcharge, as well as doubling, including two separate and distinct sets of surcharge bars, on two stamps and a full double surcharge on the third stamp:


This strip shares the same plate and shade characteristics as the second printing identified in part 1. 

Sixth Printing - Made From a New Triplet Setting - December/January 1894?

On this last printing, the words "Half Penny" measure 16.5 mm wide instead of 16 mm. and the space between the words is 2 mm instead of 1.5 mm. The bars of the surcharge are not of even length. The setting is made up of three surcharges in a repeating pattern: surcharges 8, 9 and 10:

  • 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. 
I have one mint example of each surcharge and two used examples of surcharge 9, one of which is a bona-fide triple surcharge. 

The scans below show each of these:


Surcharge 8. Note how the top bar protrudes slightly at the right. This stamp shares the same shade and plate characteristics as the fourteenth printing identified in part 1.


Surcharge 9 - here you can see the top bar protrude slightly at the right also, but with this type, the bars are the same 16.5 mm width. The mint stamp on the left is the same shade as the seventeenth printing, however, there is less plate wear on this stamp, so it may be from an earlier printing. 



Here is the triple surcharge. The tripling involves both the bars and the words. The spacing of the impressions is very close, but it is distinct, as the close up scan shows:


You can see that there is a second impression located just below the first, and a third impression located above the first.



Lastly, surcharge 10, in which the top bar is longer than the bottom, and overlaps considerably on the right.

Preliminary Conclusions

Most of the stamps were able to be matched to a small handful of printings that were identified in parts 1 and 2. There were 33 stamps, all the blocks and a used strip, which did not match any of the previously identified printings of the 4d. There are three possibilities here, which need to be investigated further:


  • Some are entirely new printings not yet identified, from the first, second and third states of the plate.
  • Some do actually correspond to one of the 30 printings identified already, and a second run through will allow some of these to be assigned. 
  • Some represent new printings from the fourth state of the plate, which will match some of the later printings that have not yet been sorted. 
So next week, I will check the unassigned stamps again to see if they can be assigned to one of the first 30 printings. For those that cannot, I will then check the degree of plate wear. Any stamps from the first, second or third states of the plate will then be designated as new printings. Then, if there are any that correspond to the fourth state of the plate, I will hold these aside until I complete the sort of the printings made from the fourth and fifth states of the plate. 













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