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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Printings of the 2/6d Green and Carmine Queen Victoria Keyplate Stamp of Lagos - 1887-1901 Part Two

In today's post I will finish detailing the last 11 printings of this high value definitive stamp from the third and fourth states of the plate.

Group 3: Printings 10-17 From the Third State of the Plate - 1894 to 1899

As stated many times in other posts, the third state of the plate is characterized by a lack of detail in the hair at the back of the head, especially the hair above the diagonal ribbon. There is also merging of the top three to five hairlines at the top of the head.

Tenth Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is close to Gibbons'd grey green, but is both brighter and contains more blue. It is also similar to Gibbons's dull blue green, but is deeper. So I would call this the deep dull blue green. The duty plate colour is closest to Gibbons deep carmine.

I have three sound mint examples, one severely faded example without gum and one damaged specimen overprint as shown above, and three postally used examples as shown below. I assigned the faded example to this printing based on the state of the plate and the fact that the deep carmine of the duty plate matched the rest of the stamps from this printing.




The three postally used examples appear to all be cancelled with the wide 9-bar oval obliterator of Ibadan. The two examples on the left have what can be considered to be full colour for used stamps, while the example on the right is faded, but not too severely.

Eleventh Printing



The head plate colour of this printing is closest to dull green on the Gibbons colour key, but is just a touch deeper. It is not deep enough to be the deep dull green however. The duty plate colour is closest to Gibbons' rose-carmine.

I have no used examples of this printing, and only the mint example shown above, which alas has two diagonal creases. However, it is an important example of this distinct duty plate shade, which is not repeated on any of the other printings.

Twelfth Printing



The head plate colour of this printing is similar to the last, but is just a little bit deeper, being closest to Gibbons's deep dull green, but paler. The duty plate colour is closest to Gibbons's carmine shade.

Thirteenth Printing


The head plate colour of this printing has a distinct bluish undertone. It has the same intensity as the dull green, but it is bluish. However, it is neither as dull, nor as deep as the Gibbons dull blue green. Therefore I could call it the dull bluish green. The duty plate colour is quite a bit deeper than the other printings, being printed in a shade closest to Gibbons's lake shade.

Fourteenth Printing



The head plate shade of this printing is very distinct, being a near perfect match to Gibbons's dull blue green. The duty plate shade is difficult. It appears to be close to Gibbons's carmine-lake at first, but it seems closer to Gibbons's deep carmine-red, as it has less of a bluish undertone than the carmine-lake. It is most similar to the lake of the thirteenth printing above, but just a bit brighter. So my final classification is to call this shade bright lake.

Fifteenth Printing



The head plate colour of this printing is a similar tone to the dull bluish green of the 13th printing above, only this colour is much, much paler. The duty plate colour is closest to Gibbons' carmine shade.

I have the lovely mint example shown here, and the used example show on the right. Again, it appears to have been cancelled with a 9-bar oval obliterator, judging from the width of the bars. The colour has been affected by exposure to water, though not too severely. I'd say this has about 50-60% of its original colour, which is not bad for a used example. I have assigned it to this printing, based on the degree of plate wear, and the duty plate colour.

Sixteenth Printing


The head plate colour of this stamp is an almost perfect match to Gibbons's dull green. Although it is used and I considered the possibility of it being faded, the fact that the dull green is a common colour on this stamp, that there is no bluish or yellowish undertone that would result from exposure to moisture does suggest that the colour is indeed original. 

The duty plate colour is the the second deepest of all the printings and is an almost perfect match to Gibbons's crimson. 

What is really exciting and interesting about this used example is that it was used in Niger Coast Protectorate. The cancellation appears to be a 21 mm CDS cancellation for Opobo River, dated February 6, 1893, which is consistent with the period during which this post office had the hammer for this cancel. It  would appear that one of two circumstances occurred:

  1. This post office did not have any 2/6d stamps and required them. The 2/6d of Niger Coast Protectorate was not issued until 1898 when the watermarked Waterlow stamps appeared. So some high values of Lagos were "borrowed" and used there, OR
  2. A letter bearing the 2/6d stamp which came from Lagos, was mailed aboard a ship which did not have a cancelling device on board. The letter was then processed and the cancellation applied at the Opobo River post office. 
In any event, this is an extremely rare item, as it is only the second example of a Lagos stamp that I have seen with a Niger Coast Protectorate cancel, the other one being a 2.5d ultramarine from the same set. 


Seventeenth Printing



The above stamp is definitely somewhat affected by exposure to water, though not severely. It has been identified as coming from a separate printing on the basis of the duty plate colour being distinct and the state of the plate that it is from. I would say though that the original colour of the head plate ink was likely a deep dull green, which has become yellowish from the exposure to water. It might be a dull green, which would be consistent with less severe fading. But without a mint example it is difficult to be certain. The duty plate colour of this printing is the deepest of all the shades being deep crimson. 

This used example is also cancelled with what appears to be a 9-bar oval obliterator, although I cannot tell if it is a Lagos type, or the wider type from Ibadan. 


Group 4: Printings 18-20 From the Fourth State of the Plate - 1899-1900

The defining characteristics of this state of the plate are the almost complete loss of detail in the hair at the back of the head, and merging of the hairlines above the crown to the point that only a narrow band of hairlines in the middle retain their detail. The horizontal shading lines in the band of the crown are beginning to merge together.

Eighteenth Printing


The head plate shade of this printing is closest to Gibbons's dull green, but a little deeper. It is not deep enough to be the deep dull green however. The duty plate colour of this printing is closest to Gibbons's bright carmine.

This is the printing that I have the most sound mint examples of, which makes sense, given that it is one of the last ones. The single used example on the right is cancelled with a lovely strike of a 24 mm Lagos CDS dated February 2, 1899.

Nineteenth Printing



The head plate shade of this printing is closest to the deep dull green on the Gibbons colour key, but just a bit paler and a bit bluish. The duty plate colour of this printing is also bright carmine. 

Twentieth Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is closest to the Gibbons dull blue green, but is a touch paler. I would therefore call it the paler dull blue green. The duty plate colour is deep carmine. 

This is a very distinct combination of shades and I am fortunate to have a lovely mint and a lovely used example. The used example shown on the right is cancelled with a lovely strike of a 24 mm Lagos CDS dated July 13, 1900.

This concludes my study of the 20 printings of this value that I have identified. Next week I will cover the 5 shilling green and blue, and the week after, the ten shilling green and brown. One final comment regarding the immense rarity of fine and very fine used examples of these high values: They are vastly undercatalogued in Gibbons, even though they are priced at more than mint. Generally, they are at least 10-15 times scarcer than their mint counterparts, and that is for examples with average, but not full original colour, and average barred oval cancellations. Examples will full original colour that is not affected by water and canceled with nice clear CDS cancellations are much, much scarcer than this: 30-50 times scarcer than mint. So consequently, their value should be much higher than what Gibbons shows. Conversely, unless the stamps are extremely faded, used examples without full original colour will still be worth 25-50% of the Gibbons value, in sharp contrast to the value of say, faded stamps from this period for Great Britain. The reason of course, is scarcity: GB stamps from the Victorian period are very common while these are very scarce. So even in poorer condition, these stamps will have some value, whereas the equivalent GB stamps would not. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Printings of the 2/6d Green and Carmine Queen Victoria Keyplate Stamp of Lagos - 1887-1901 Part One

Today's post will look at the first of the three high value stamps from this issue. According to Ince, the total number of stamps printed and sent to the colony between March 31, 1887 and August 19, 1901 was 28,260 stamps, of which 18,060 were sent back to London in 1905 and destroyed. This leaves a mere 10,200 stamps that were sold and either used for postage, or preserved in mint condition. If we assume a survival rate in all grades of 10%, which is likely very generous, given that this is a West African crown colony, and not England or Canada, or some other country with a temperate climate and a population that is accustomed to preservation, then there are probably no more than 1,000 stamps in existence now - both mint and used.

A denomination of this size would have seen little postal use, being used only for registered letters that had a high insurance value, larger parcels or bulk mailing receipts. This was a revenue issue as well, since it was inscribed "postage and revenue", and so some stamps would have seen revenue use, though interestingly, I have not come across many examples with fiscal cancellations, which suggests that they were not often used for this purpose, unlike the high value stamps of many other colonies were. Thus it is likely that many fewer printings were made, perhaps as few as 14 and as many as 20, but unlikely more than this. Given the low rate of usage, it would be my expectation that there would be many late usages as stamps from the "bottom of the post office drawer" finally got sold and used up. Consequently, I would expect the remainder total of 18,060 stamps to have come from a large number of the printings that were left over when the next supply was received by post offices and placed on top of the old stamps.

I have 42 stamps in total of this value in my collection. Three of these are mildly affected by water and one is severely affected and is of limited use in identifying specific printings. As before, I will look at the different states of the plate and then at the head and duty plate shades.

As it turns out, I did identify 20 separate printings:


  • 4 from the first state of the plate (approximately March 1887 - about 1890).
  • 5 from the second state (1890 to about 1893).
  • 8 from the third state (1894 to about 1899).
  • 3 from the fourth state (1899 to 1900).
I have not seen any examples from the fifth state of the plate, though according to Ince, the last printings were sent on August 19, 1901, so they should exist. The implication of the fact that at least 20 printings were made, is that it is quite likely that no more than 50 or 60 copies of each printing still exist today, though it is more likely that a few of the common printings exist in greater quantity and that the scarcer ones exist in less quantity. At any rate, these are extremely scarce stamps in any grade. Postally used examples are at least 10 times scarcer than mint and examples having their full original colour are likely 30-40 times scarcer than mint. So even though they are priced higher than mint in Gibbons, they are still vastly undervalued in my opinion. 

There were almost four years from 1887 through to the end of 1890, which suggests one printing per year. From 1890 to the end of 1893 is 4 years again, which suggests 1 or 2 printings per year. From 1894 to 1899, it seems that almost 2 printings per year were sent, with maybe one sending every third quarter or so. Then from 1899 to 1901 it likely decreased back down to 1 printing or so per year.

This post will discuss the first 9 printings, from the first two states of the plate.

Printings 1-4 From the First State of the Plate (March 1887 to Approximately 1890)

As stated in all my earlier posts, the first state of the plate is characterized by nearly all of the fine detail in the hair, jewels and diadem being clearly visible and with little to no merging of the hairlines at the top of the head, and most detail of the hair at the very back of the head visible both above and below the diagonal ribbon.

First Printing


The head plate shade on this printing is similar to Gibbons's dull green, but it is deeper. It is not however, deep enough to be the deep dull green. So I would call it deeper dull green - a shade about mid-way between those two colours on the Gibbons key. The duty plate colour is closest to carmine, but is paler. 



This is a badly faded example that has been regummed. I have assigned it to this printing on the basis of the lack of plate wear, and the fact that the duty plate colour matches that of this printing. This was likely a fiscally used example that was cleaned to remove the cancel and regummed. In the process of cleaning, the ink has been faded to the point of being a very light yellow green, as this doubly fugitive ink is wont to do.

Second Printing 



The head plate colour of this printing is an almost perfect match to Gibbons's deep green. The duty plate colour is a perfect match to Gibbons's carmine shade. 

Third Printing


The head plate colour of this printing contains a bluish undertone. Not quite enough to be the blue green or dull blue green, but more than the deep dull green. It actually is closest to what Gibbons's myrtle green would be if it were pale. So I would call this the pale myrtle green. The duty plate shade is closest to Gibbons's bright carmine. 

Fourth Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is closest to Gibbons's deep dull green, but is perhaps a tad paler. The duty plate colour is closest to Gibbons's deep carmine. 

The mint example above bears the specimen overprint of the period, indicating that it was for UPU distribution. The overprint shows a dot in the bottom loop of the "S" and a blob inside the left lower leg of the "M". 



Printings 5-9 From the Second State of the Plate (1890 to Approximately the End of 1893)

In the second state of the plate, the detail is similar to the first state, except that there is a slight loss of sharpness to the detail and the beginning of some merging of the hairlines, though very, very little. 


Fifth Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is a near perfect match to Gibbons's deep dull green, but with a hint more bluish undertone. The duty plate colour has a bluish undertone, similar to Gibbons's carmine-lake, but just a bit paler. 

Sixth Printing


The head plate colour of this printing, like the second printing, is Gibbons's deep green. The duty plate colour is closest to Gibbons's lake shade, but a little bit paler and duller. 

I have four mint examples of this printing, as shown here, but still no postally used examples. 

Seventh Printing


The head plate shade of this printing is closest to Gibbons dull green, but is just a touch deeper. The duty plate colour has reverted back to Gibbons's carmine shade. Again, I have three mint examples, but no used ones. 


Eighth Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is similar to the dull green, but with a bluish tone. It is not quite blue enough to be the dull blue green however. It is closest to what the pale myrtle green of the third printing looks like, but it is just a bit duller. So I would call this the pale dull myrtle green. The duty plate shade here is closest to Gibbons's bright crimson. 

This is the first printing in which I have a postally used example. This one appears to have been cancelled with a 24 mm Lagos CDS dated April 29, 1897, so it is a late usage, just as I expected would occur. 


Ninth Printing


The head plate colour, once again, is closest to deep green. The duty plate colour is closest to Gibbons's rose carmine, but slightly deeper. 

I have one mint example and a nice used example canceled with a partial strike of an 8-bar Lagos oval obliterator. 

This brings me to the end of my discussion of the first 9 printings of this stamp. Next week I will cover the remaining 11 printings. 



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Printings of the 1/- Green and Black Queen Victoria Keyplate Stamp of Lagos 1887-1903 Part Two

This weeks post continues my discussion of the printings of the one shilling green and black surface printed stamp of Lagos with the printings made from the third, fourth and fifth states of plate 1, as well as the printings from plate 2. As best I can judge, these would have been sent to the colony starting in about February or March of 1894. The plate 1 printings would appear to have run up to about 1901, when plate 2 replaced plate 1. According to Gibbons, plate 2 does not come into play until 1902, and Ince suggests that there was only one printing, but I have seen three different shades of the green, which leads me to think that there may have been as many as three printings made from this plate.

Group 3: Printings 16-22 From the Third State of Plate 1 - Feb/March 1894 to The End of 1899

As stated in all the previous posts which discuss the printings of the other denominations, the third state of the plate is characterized by two things:


  • Merging together of the top 3-5 hairlines at the top of the Queen's head.
  • A loss of most or all of the fine detail located in the bun of hair at the back of the head immediately to the right of the ear, both above and below the diagonal ribbon.
However, the rest of the design is fairly clear. The horizontal shading lines of the medallion will still be of more or less uniform thickness and the horizontal shading lines in both the band of the crown and the jewels of the crown will still be visible and not merged together. 

I have identified only 7 printings in this group, which suggests that the demand for this stamp decreased quite a bit after 1893, as it would seem that on average, only 1 or 2 shipments were now being sent to the colony, whereas the stamp was being sent more frequently than before. 

The colour of the head plate starts off as a definite deep dull green, which eventually acquires a more and more bluish cast to the green, but never becomes blue green per se. Used examples are genrrally cancelled with either a Lagos or Ibadan 9-bar oval killer or a 21 mm Lagos CDS. There are a few examples cancelled with the larger 24 mm Lagos CDS toward the end of the series. 

Finally, like the earlier printings, the green colour is highly susceptible to fading through exposure to water. The dull green colour first turns blue green and then gradually fades to yellow green, until at the most advanced stages of fading, the colour is almost bright yellow, with a hint of green. I have a fair number of used examples that show various levels of fading, and will call attention to this as I go and at the end of this section, when I show the most severely faded examples. 

Sixteenth Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is closest to Gibbons's deep green, but this colour is a bit paler than the Gibbons swatch. It does however lack the dullness that the deep dull green possesses. I have one single mint example as shown above, and four used examples as shown below:



The stamps on the top row all have colour that is more or less true to the original, which indicates that these examples have not been seriously affected by water. The bottom stamps have all been slightly faded by water exposure, but not to the point that they cannot be classified as part of this printing. I have attributed these to this printing, largely on the basis of the barred oval and Lagos Government Telegraphs Cancellations. The stamps on the top row are all cancelled with strikes of the 21 mm Lagos CDS cancellation dated between May 16, 1894 and September 24, 1895. Only the first stamp shows the "W. Af" portion of the cancel, and the distance between the letters of this cancellation is 3 mm.


Seventeenth Printing



The head plate colour of this printing a almost an exact match to Gibbons's deep green, except that there is just the slightest hint of yellow to this colour. I have seven mint singles of this printing, as shown above and a block of three as shown below:



Eighteenth Printing



The head plate colour of this printing is very similar to the last printing, being an exact match to Gibbons's deep green. The colour is just a touch deeper than the colour of the seventeenth printing. I have two mint singles as shown above and a right sheet margin block of 4 showing a partial "Crown Agents" watermark in the margins.




Nineteenth Printing




The head plate colour of this printing is almost identical to the seventeenth printing, but this colour is just a touch duller. Like the previous two printings, I have no used examples, and only the three mint examples as shown above.


Twentieth Printing



The head plate colour of this printing has lost the yellowish undertone that was present in all the other printings just discussed. Indeed, this colour is an almost perfect match to Gibbons's deep dull green. Again, I have no used examples of this printing, and just the two mint examples shown above.


Twenty First Printing



On this printing, the colour is similar to the twenty first printing, but the colour here contains more blue than the last printing, so that it is no longer a close match to Gibbons's deep dull green. Instead, it is closest in tone to Gibbons's dull blue green, but deeper. So I would call this the deep dull blue-green. This is the first printing since the 16th printing where I have both mint and used examples. In terms of mint, I have five singles, including a specimen overprint, and a left mint sheet margin block as shown below:




The two used examples in my possession are shown below. 


The stamp on the left is cancelled with a strike of a 21 mm CDS, of what is most likely Lagos. The stamp on the right has a severe thin on the front of the stamp unfortunately, which has taken off a good portion of the design. It is one of the last identifiable, non-faded used examples I have seen, which appears to have been cancelled with an 8-bar oval obliterator. 


Twenty Second Printing




The head plate colour of this printing is closest to Gibbons's dull green, but deeper. However, it is not as deep as the deep dull green as shown on the colour key. It is actually about mid-way between these two shades in terms of intensity.

I have one mint and one used example as shown above. The used example shown here is curious. Although the cancellation appears to be a lovely strike of the scarce 24 mm Abeokuta CDS dated August 21, 1899, closer examination of the cancel reveals that it appears to have been drawn in with a wax pencil. Underneath there is evidence of a CDS cancel, that was most likely Lagos. But it does appear to have been altered to create a more appealing cancel.

Faded Used Examples


The above fifteen used examples have all been assigned to this state, on account of the plate wear. The examples on the top row show the mid-stage fading in which the colour has changed to a pale dull yellow green, while the middle examples are a very bright yellow green. Finally, the bottom examples show the most severe fading, in which the colour is a very bright greenish yellow, that is very pale. 

One stamp, shown in the middle row, second from the right is cancelled with an 1888 CDS, which is both scarce and clearly out of place. The degree of apparent plate wear placed it here, but it could easily have been mis-identified as the running of the ink has likely made the design appear much less clear than it would have appeared had the colour not been affected. Half the examples here are cancelled with barred oval obliterators, four appear to have been cancelled with 21 mm Lagos CDS's and the remaining examples are cancelled with the later 24 mm Lagos CDS cancellations. 


Group 4: Printings 23-26 From The Fourth State of Plate 1 - 1899 - 1900

Plate 1 had begun to show signs of serious damage by the end of the third state. I have seen many examples of stamps that appear to show significant corrosion to the plate, judging from the pitted and rough nature of the design detail. Consequently, there are very few printings of this value from the fourth state of the plate, as the plate quickly deteriorated to the fifth state. 

This state is characterized by the fact that most of the hairlines immediately above the crown and at the top of the crown have merged together, so that only a narrow band of hair detail in the middle of the head is now clear. The detail of the hair at the back of the head is all but gone, but the overall design has not yet acquired the coarse appearance of the fifth state of the plate. The horizontal shading lines in the band of the crown are just beginning to merge together.

The head plate colour displays the usual range of deep dull greens as the third state of the plate with none of them being distinctly bluish. 

I have identified four printings from this state of the plate. It would seem, from the dates seen on cancellations that this group appeared sometime between 1899 and the end of 1900.

Twenty Third Printing




The head plate colour of this printing is identical to that of the seventeenth printing: a deep green that contains just the slightest hint of yellow.

I have two mint examples as shown above, and one used example, which is cancelled with a 21 mm Lagos CDS. The date is not readable, but the "W. A" is visible and shows a clear space of 4 mm between the letters.

Twenty Fourth Printing


The head plate shade of this printing is tricky. It is close to the Gibbons' deep dull green in terms of its overall intensity. However, the colour is bluish compared to Gibbons' deep dull green. However, it is not blue enough to be a match to any of Gibbons's blue green shades. So I would call it deep dull bluish green. I have no used examples, and only the sole mint example shown above.

Twenty Fifth Printing




The head plate colour of this printing is a perfect match to Gibbons's deep dull green. Again, I have no used examples, and only the mint example shown above. 

Twenty sixth Printing


The head plate colour is closest to what Gibbons's dull blue green would be if it were both deeper and a little less bluish. It is too bluish and too deep to be a match to Gibbons's dull green and it is both too dull and too pale to match either the deep dull green or the deep blue green. 

I have one mint example and two used examples, both of which are cancelled with 24 mm Lagos CDS cancellations dated January 30, 1900 and February 25, 1900. 

Group 5: Printings 27-31 From The Fifth State of Plate 1 - 1901-1902

Apart from the plate characteristics, This group is characterized by the marked shift in colour, from the deep, dull green colour that has been dominant to a definite bluish green. The printings from this state are all easily identified by the generally coarse appearance. Most all of the detail in the Queen's hair has disappeared, and the horizontal shading lines of the medallion are now appearing to be of uneven thickness, almost merging into one another in places. 

I have identified five printings from this state of the plate, and these would appear, just based on the cancellations to have been released between late 1900 and late 1902.

Again, the inks are highly susceptible to fading through exposure to water, though all except one of the faded examples that I have simply become a paler and paler version of the dull green, rather than becoming yellowish. 

Twenty Seventh Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is closest to Gibbons's dull blue green, but is just a bit greener and brighter than the Gibbons swatch. But it is not a match for any of the other shades. I have one mint example, as shown above, and three used examples, as shown below:


The stamp on the left is a lovely example tied to an original piece, likely a fragment of a registered letter, and cancelled with a crisp and clear strike of a Lagos 24 mm CDS dated March 11, 1901. The middle example is also cancelled with a 24 mm Lagos CDS - this time dated 1904. The cancellation of the right hand stamp is a bit of a mystery. It appears to be 24 mm wide, but it lacks the other features of the Lagos 24 mm CDS's and the outer rim appears to be too thick to be this type of cancel. However, it could just be an example that is heavily struck. 

Twenty Eighth Printing



The head plate colour of this printing is closest to Gibbons's dull blue green. The intensity is more or less a match to Gibbons's swatch, but there is a fair bit more blue and grey in the colour. So I would call it a dull very-blue green. 

I have the sole mint example shown above, and two used examples as shown below.




The left example is another used stamp that is tied to piece, so that we can be pretty sure that the colour is original. It is tied by two strikes of a 24 mm Lagos CDS dated November 6, 1900. The right hand example is just a little affected by water, turning a bit bluer, but not seriously affected. It is also cancelled with a strike of a 24 mm Lagos CDS cancel, but the date is unclear. 

Twenty Ninth Printing




The head plate colour of this printing is very similar to the twenty eighth printing, but the colour is just a little paler. I have no used examples and just the single mint stamp shown above. 

Thirtieth Printing



The head plate colour of this printing is again similar to the 29th printing, but is also a bit paler than that printing, so that it is much closer in shade to Gibbons's dull blue green than either of the other two printings. I have no used examples of this printing, and only the three mint examples shown above. 

Thirty First Printing




On this printing, the head plate colour is of similar intensity to the 28th and 29th printings. However, there is a little less blue in the green, which makes it a more or less exact match to what the Gibbons dull blue-green would look like if it were deeper. So I would classify it as deep dull blue green.

Again, I have no used examples and just the two mint examples shown above. 

Faded Used Examples




The nine used stamps as shown above have all been assigned to this state on the basis of the plate wear. Based on the fact that all but one of the printings from this state are shades of dull blue green, it is likely that these were originally dull blue green also. As you can see the colour does not fade in quite the same way as the earlier printings in the sense that the colour does not become quite as yellowish. 

All of the examples shown here are cancelled with 24 mm Lagos CDS cancels, with some very nice strikes in the group. They are all dated between October 4, 1900 and April 5, 1904.

What should become very apparent now after looking at all these stamps is that:

  • Gibbons's nomenclature of the colours on this stamp is not quite correct. What they call yellow green is really the deep dull green. 
  • Gibbons's pricing of the blue green stamps is completely out to lunch and does not reflect actual scarcity at all. The mint prices for both shades are equivalent, even though the blue green stamps are ten times scarcer at least than the dull green. In used condition, the difference in scarcity is even more acute. I would go so far as to suggest that mint examples of the blue green should be worth as much as fine used examples of the dull green and the used examples of the blue green should be worth 2-3 times as much as the dull green. 


Group 6: Printings 32-34 From Plate 2 - 1902-1903

The printings from plate 2 are readily identifiable by the complete absence of any plate wear and the colour has reverted back to the dull green that was prevalent on the the printings made before 1900. All of the detail in the Queen's hair is visible, with no merging of the shading lines, and all of the detail in the jewels of the crown and diadem is visible as well. 

I have found three very slightly different shades, which lead me to think that there may have been as many as three printings from this plate, all of which would have been made and sent out to the colony between early 1902 and the end of 1903, as all remainders were sent back to London for destruction in 1905, and the Edward VII designs were issued in January 1904. 

Again, the green ink used is doubly fugitive, eventually fading to greenish yellow with more and more exposure to water. 

Thirty Second Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is close to the dull green shade, but it is deeper. However, it is not as deep as the deep dull green.  I have no used examples and only the single mint example shown here.

Thirty Third Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is closest to the deep dull green, but is just a touch paler. The paper contains thin vertical striations that almost give it the appearance of being printed on laid paper, which is sometimes found on other printings made from plate 2. I have no used examples and just the single mint example as shown above.

Thirty Fourth Printing


The head plate colour of this final printing is an almost perfect match to Gibbons's deep green. I have one single mint example and one used example as shown above. The used example appears to be cancelled with a very light strike of a 21 mm Lagos, CDS which had more or less fallen out of use by 1902, so its use here is curious. It is a very light strike, so it is hard to be sure that it is not a 24 mm cancel. There is a possibility that this used example is actually an example from the first state of the plate, made before 1890. This would certainly fit if the cancel is indeed a 21 mm CDS. For now though, I am content to include it here as a plate 2 printing.

I also have three more stamps that are mildly to moderately affected by fading:


The first of these on the left is cancelled with an indistinct CDS and it is possible that it is not a genuine cancel, but I suspect it is fine. The other two examples are quite faded and cancelled with December 24, 1902 and January 1904 Lagos CDS's. 

Again, it would appear that the plate 2 stamps are much, much scarcer than could be imagined. Gibbons does not even list them, but given how readily identifiable they are, they should be listed and priced accordingly - at even more than the price of the blue greens. I would say that mint should be twice the value of a used plate 1 dull green and used should be the same or even twice that price. These were exceptionally short lived, being in use for little over a year. The number printed and issued must have been extremely small - maybe as little as 3,000 or 5,000, and consequently, the number surviving today even smaller than that, as many unsold would have gone back to London as remainders for destruction in 1905. This would account for why there are so few of them in the stamps that I have, and it took me more than six years of daily buying to assemble these. 

This takes me to the end of my discussion of the printings of this value. Now I am left with the three high values, which I will deal with next, and then I can begin to tackle the remaining post 1890 printings of the halfpenny and 1d stamps. Next week's post will look at the 2/6d value.