Search This Blog

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. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

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

Today, I start a new series of posts detailing the printings of the next value in the 1887-1903 series of Lagos: the 1 shilling green and black. Gibbons lists two major colours of the green, being the yellow green and the blue green. Generally, the earlier printings are the yellow green, and the last printings from plate 1 were in the blue green ink. However, this is one of the denominations of the set that was also printed from the new plate 2 in 1902, and these later printings were also printed in yellow green, so that one cannot always assume that yellow green and black stamps are early printings. To separate the early printings from the very last printings, one must look to differences in gum and plate characteristics, as the last printings from plate 2 will be much crisper than even the earliest printings of this stamp from plate 1.

According to Ince, 86,460 stamps were dispatched between March 31, 1887 and August 4, 1900. Of this number, 26,220 were unsold at the end of 1903. It is not clear whether or not the 86,460 includes the plate 2 printings. My guess is that it does not, but the 26,220 does include remainders from this printing. The relative prevalence of used examples from this last printing relative to mint examples will give us some idea of whether or not this is actually the case. The period covered by these releases is 13 years, or 53 calendar quarters. So, if one assumes that new supplies were sent to Lagos every quarter, the absolute maximum number of printings that could have been sent is 53, and the number of stamps sent each time would be 1,629 on average each time. Of course, there probably were not that many printings, given that this would have been one of the less commonly used stamps at the time. However, it is probable that at least 25 printings were made, and maybe as many as 30 or so.

As with all the other stamps of this series, I will begin by looking at the stamps from the first state of the plate, which shows full detail in the hair at the back of the head, and little to no merging of shading lines in the hair at the top of the head. Then, I will look at the printings from the second state. These printings are very similar to those of the first state, the chief difference being a slight loss of sharpness in the detail of the hair at the back and top of the head. However, there is little to no merging of the hairlines, and all the major detail in the hair, especially at the back of the head is still visible.

One problem that complicates the classification of printings on this stamp is the fact that the green ink is doubly fugitive, and highly susceptible to fading from exposure to moisture. The original colour is usually a dull yellowish green or dull blue green. When this fades, it first turns to blue green, but not dull blue green, then bright yellow green and then to bright greenish yellow. So used stamps in those shades are faded, and are of little to no use in classifying printings. However, as long as the colour retains the overall dull tone, than it should be assumed, unless there is persuasive evidence to the contrary, that the colour is original. some used examples will be found that have gum. These generally have been sweated off the envelopes in order to avoid exposing the ink, and the colour on these should be good unless it has clearly faded.

Group 1: Printings From the First State of the Plate - Printings 1-6 - March 1887-Approximately March 1890

First Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is a very close match to Gibbons's grey green, only this shade is paler. 

I have no used examples of this printing, and just the single mint copy shown above. 

Second Printing


The shade of this printing is very similar to the last in that it is closest to pale grey green, except that is is just ever-so-slightly deeper in tone than the shade of the last printing. 

Again, I have only the single mint example shown above, and no used examples. 

Third Printing



The head plate colour of this printing lacks the greyish undertone of the first two printings above, appearing somewhat yellowish in comparison. It is not however, a yellow green in its own right. It is closest to a deep version of Gibbons's deep dull green. It is quite a bit duller though than the deep dull green shown on the Gibbons colour key.

Here I have one mint example and a used example that has a completely unreadable CDS cancel. This later stamp has full original gum, so it is possible that this is a false cancel that was added posthumously, since the used stamps of this value are generally worth quite a bit more than the mint.

Fourth Printing



The shade of this printing is just a touch yellower than the shade of the third printing, this being a very close match to Gibbons's deep dull green. Although there is quite a yellowish tone, it does not appear to be faded. 

I have no mint examples of this printing, and the sole used example that I do possess, is cancelled with what would appear to be a clear strike of a 9-bar oval obliterator. 

Fifth Printing



On this printing, the head plate shade is a soft version of the deep dull green. It is brighter and slightly more bluish compared to the shades of the third and fourth printing.

I do not have any mint copies unfortunately which would corroborate the shade. The colour on the second used example on the right appears to be fairly intact, but the stamp is faulty. The first stamp on the left unfortunately is somewhat faded, with the solid areas of colour to the left and right of the medallion being used to match the colour. This first stamp appears to be cancelled with an 8-bar oval, while the second stamp appears to be cancelled with a strike of a 24 mm Lagos CDS.

Sixth Printing



This printing is printed in the most pale shade of all these first printings. While the shade is pale, I don't think it is faded, because it is dull. It is closest to Gibbons dull blue green, but much, much paler. So I would call this the very pale dull blue green. 

This sole used example is cancelled with the straight line "Lagos Government Telegraphs" Cancellation. 


Group 2: Printings From the Second State of the Plate - Printings 7-15 - Approximately July 1890 to December 1893

Seventh Printing



The head plate shade of this printing is quite similar to the third printing. It is quite close to Gibbons's deep dull green, but is just a bit duller. 

I have one single mint example, as shown above, and no used examples. 

Eighth Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is an almost perfect match to Gibbons deep dull green.

I have two mint examples as shown above, and two used examples. The first of the used stamps matches the shade almost perfectly, and is cancelled with a nice strike of a 21 mm Lagos CDS, with the 4 mm space between W and A, and dated June 27, 1894. This is likely a year or two later than this printing was released, but that is not a particularly late usage, as far as late usages from this issue go, especially given the low volume nature of the use for a stamp of this denomination. The second stamp appears quite yellowish by comparison, but I think the colour is slightly faded, which is why the colour has taken on that yellowish tone. I think that the underlying colour is the same as the other stamps. This one though is a much later use, being cancelled with a 22 mm Lagos CDS dated November 27, 1899.


Ninth Printing



The head plate colour of this printing is closest to Gibbons's dull blue green, but just a bit deeper.

I have one mint example and one used example as shown above. The used stamp is a very, very late use, being canceled with a 24 mm Lagos CDS dated January 14, 1904. That would suggest the possibility of it being from plate 2, but that possibility is quickly ruled out by the fact that it is from the second state. The plate 2 stamps have a much crisper impression, and so this is simply an extremely late usage of this printing.


Tenth Printing



The colour of this printing is very close to being a perfect match to Gibbons's dull blue green. It is very, very slightly paler than the Gibbons swatch.

I have three mint examples, as shown above, and one used example. The used example is cancelled with an unreadable CDS, which looks like it might be a 24 mm Lagos CDS. On the other hand, it lacks the side dots and it may simply be another example of a posthumous cancel that was applied to a mint stamp to create a more valuable used stamp. However, it is not a particularly attractive strike, which tends to support the notion that it is a genuine contemporary cancellation.

Eleventh Printing



The head plate colour of this printing, is once again, closest to Gibbons's dull blue green. In this case, the colour is just a touch brighter than was the case on the tenth printing. 

I have one mint example and one used example, which has suffered from some slight fading of the colour. This used example is cancelled with what appears to be a wide example of an 8 or 9 bar oval obliterator, like the type used at Ibadan. 

Twelfth Printing



The head plate colour of this printing is similar to the dull blue green, but is both deeper and brighter. Yet, it is not bright enough to be simple blue green, and it is too bluish to be deep dull green. Therefore, I would call this colour deep dull blue green.

I have one mint example, and a beautiful used example, shown above, which has been cancelled by a superb strike of the 21 mm Lagos CDS, with 3 mm space between W and A, and dated October 7, 1892. 

Thirteenth Printing



The head plate colour of this printing is closest to Gibbons' deep dull green, perhaps with the slightest hint of blue to the green, but not enough for it to be a blue green shade.

I have three mint examples and two used examples as shown above. The used example on the right has been floated off the envelope of form that it was attached to, and has just begun to be affected by moisture, turning that unmistakable bright blue green colour. The first used example is cancelled with a partial strike of what appears to be a 9-bar oval obliterator. 

Fourteenth Printing



The shade on this printing is very similar to the eleventh printing, but the shadeon this one is just a touch deeper. 

I do not have any used examples of this printing, and just the single mint example shown above. 

Fifteenth Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is a perfect match to Gibbons's deep dull green. The colour does not contain any hint of blue or yellow. 

I have only the mint NH example shows above, which comes from position 10 of the sheet. 

This concludes my review of the printings of this stamp that come from the first state of the plate. Next week, I will look at the third state of the plate, and possibly the fourth if I have time.

Before I end, I want to show some examples of what the severely faded used stamps look like. The scan below shows 4 used stamps, all from this state that are severely faded to the point that they cannot be used to identify specific printings:



The first three stamps shown here are the bright yellow green, which indicates that these are in the middle stage of the fading process. The stamp on the right is the bright greenish yellow, which is from the final state of the fading process.




Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Printings of the 6d Lilac and Mauve Queen Victoria Keyplate Stamp of Lagos - Part Four

My apologies to all my readers for the tardiness of this post. I fell behind yesterday, as it was my first day back from the New Year's holiday and I just wasn't able to get started on this post until today.

Today, I will complete my examination of the printings of the 6d mauve and claret Queen Victoria surface printed (keyplate) stamp of Lagos, as well as the final plate 2 printing, in which the duty plate colour was changed to aniline carmine.

The original colour printings, which ran until August 1901, fall into two groups:


  • Those from the fourth state of the plate, in which all the detail in the hair at the back of the head is gone, and most of the hairlines at the top of the crown and the base have merged together, leaving a narrow band of clearly discernable hairlines in the middle of the head, just above the crown. The thickness of the horizontal shading lines in the medallion is are just beginning to show signs of wear, with their thickness being slightly uneven, but overall, they still look clear. Finally, the horizontal shading lines in the band of the crown are mostly clear, but are just starting to show some merging. 
  • Those from the fifth, and final state of plate 1. In this final state, there is an overall coarseness to the background printing in the medallion, with very clear differences in the thickness of the shading lines. Most of the hair at the top of the head has merged together, as have most of the shading lines in the band of the crown. 
Group 4 - Printings From the Fourth State of the Plate - Printings 35-42 - Mid-1896 to Mid 1898

The group of printings from this state that I have identified is quite small. One distinguishing characteristic is that the duty plate colours tend, with one exception to be shades of either purple, plum or mauve. Only two of the printings have used examples cancelled with a barred oval grid, so its use during this period has declined considerably and given way to the wide 24 mm Lagos CDS cancel. All examples of that cancel (three examples) from this group are dated in 1900, which does suggest that stocks of earlier printings were still being sold and in widespread use during this period. 

Thirty Fifth Printing


On this printing, the head plate colour is very close to Gibbons's deep purple and plum shades. I lean closer towards plum, due to the brownish undertone in the colour. It is just a touch paler, and duller than the plum, but not nearly as dull, as say, the deep dull purple on the Gibbons colour key. The duty plate colour is close to Gibbons's purple shade, but is both deeper and much brighter - similar to the mauve shade, but much deeper. I'd call it deep bright purple. 

I have one mint and one used example, as shown above. The used example is clearly cancelled with a barred grid oval, though it is not possible to tell whether or not it is an 8, 9 or 10 bar oval. 


Thirty Sixth Printing



This is one of four printings in this group for which I have no mint examples. The head plate colour is similar to the shade of the last printing, being a variant of plum, while the duty plate shade is closest to Gibbons's deep claret shade, but is much deeper. 

Both used examples shown above are cancelled in 1900, with the date on the left one being illegible, but the one on the right being July 18, 1900. 

Thirty Seventh Printing



The head plate shade of this printing is a variant of plum, being similar to printings 36 and 37, but being a little bit lighter. The duty plate colour is very similar to the very deep claret of printing 36 above, but there is a bit of brown in the colour. However, there is not nearly enough brown for it to be a shade of maroon. 

I have no used examples of this printing, but only the mint example shown above. 


Thirty Eighth Printing


This is another printing for which I have no mint examples. The head plate colour of this shade is much closer to a deep version of Gibbons' reddish lilac than it is to a shade of plum. The duty plate colour is very, very similar to the very deep claret shade identified earlier. 

This example is cancelled with the 24 mm Lagos CDS dated, what appears to be January 8, 1900.

Thirty Ninth Printing



The head plate colour of this printing is quite bluish, being very close to Gibbons's slate lilac, but paler. So I would classify the head plate colour as pale slate lilac. The duty plate colour lacks the brownish undertone that is required for it to be a claret. It is actually closest to purple, but is just a touch paler. 

I have only the sole mint example shown above, and no used examples. 


Fortieth Printing


At first glance, the head plate colour if this printing is similar to the last printing in appearance, but then it becomes apparent that it is more reddish. It is actually closest in overall tone to Gibbons' plum, but is much paler - a pale plum. The duty plate colour is closest to Gibbons's deep purple, being an almost perfect match. 

I have no used examples of this printing, but just the one mint example shown above. 

Forty First Printing


This is another printing, for which I possess no mint examples. The head plate shade is very similar to the 39th printing, being a pale slate lilac. The duty plate colour is very distinct, being about mid-way between Gibbons' purple shade and Gibbons' deep magenta shade. 

This single used example is cancelled with a bold strike of the Lagos 8-bar oval obliterator, being the last positively identified example of a 6d to bear this cancel. 

Forty Second Printing


This is the last printing from this group, for which I do not possess any mint examples. The head plate colour of this printing is an almost perfect match to Gibbons's slate lilac. The duty plate colour is very close to Gibbons's deep purple, but is brighter. It is also an aniline ink, showing very clearly through the back of the stamp. 

Group 5 - Printings From the Fifth State of the Plate - Printings 43-57 Mid 1898 to August 1901

In this group of printings we begin to see a real shift in the colour of the duty plate. For the several printings we see shades of purple or plum, but then the colour starts to take on more of a magenta appearance, acquiring more and more rose, until it becomes a cerise colour, before returning to magenta again. Also, but the time the last printings appear, the ink has become aniline. At 15 identified varieties, it is likely that a few of these are really from the same printing, given how close some of the head and duty plate shade combinations are. However, I have decided to identify them Separately anyhow, as it is possible that some of them fall into the 1897-1898 period. 

The 24 mm Lagos CDS is found on all the used stamps that I have from this group except one. One stamp has what appears to be a 9-bar oval obliterator, though it could be a 10-bar oval from Ibadan. In terms of dates, all of the cancellations were dated between 1901 and 1904, which again suggests that surplus stocks from earlier printings continued to be used during this period. 

In this group a new, possibly constant plate flaw appears, again involving the duty plate, which I call the "damaged "S" and "PE" of Pence". There is also a "narrow topped S" that makes its appearance as well. 

Forty Third Printing



The head plate colour of this printing is close to the Gibbons dull purple, but is paler. So I would classify it as pale dull purple. The duty plate colour is a perfect match to Gibbons's purple shade. 

The single mint example shown here shows considerable damage to the "P of "Pence". Upon closer examination, once can see additional damage, though not as prominent on the "S" and the first "E" of "Pence". I do not know if this is a constant flaw, as this is the only example that I have seen so far. 

A closer scan of this flaw is shown below:



Forty Fourth Printing



The head plate shade of this printing is closest to Gibbons's plum shade, but is much, much paler, being more appropriately called the very pale plum. The duty plate colour however, is an almost perfect match to the plum shade. 

I have two mint examples of this printing, one of which is not sound, and one used example shown on the right. This used stamp appears to have been cancelled with a double strike of a 9-bar oval obliterator. From the width of the cancellation (i.e. length of the bars) it would appear that it is an Ibadan cancellation. 

Forty Fifth Printing



The head plate shade of this printing is another variation of dull plum. It is not brown enough to be the dull purple, but it is duller than the regular plum shade. So I would call it dull plum. The duty plate shade is very close to the pure plum shade. 

I have no used examples of this printing, and only the single mint example shown above. 

Forty Sixth Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is a very close match to Gibbons's slate lilac, but with a touch of rose. The duty plate shade is a very close match to Gibbons's deep purple. 

I have no mint examples of this printing, but only the single used example shown above, which is cancelled February 7, 1901. 


Forty Seventh Printing


On this printing, the head plate colour is similar in intensity to Gibbons's lilac shade, but the colour contains a definite bluish undertone. I would say that it is closest to what the slate lilac shade would be if it were lighter. So I would therefore call the head plate colour pale slate lilac. The duty plate colour is an almost exact match to Gibbons' purple shade. 

I do not have any mint examples of this printing, and only the single used example shown above. This used stamp is canceled with a 24 mm Lagos CDS cancel dated November 2, 1901. 

Forty Eighth Printing


On this printing, the head plate colour is pale slate lilac and the duty plate colour is deep purple, that is just a touch brighter than the Gibbons shade. I have two used examples as shown above, The stamp on the right does appear somewhat brownish, but I believe that this is due to some light age toning of the paper. Both used examples are dated October 23, 1902 and January 1904.

The stamp on the right shows another flaw of the duty plate, which may be constant: the narrow topped "S" in "Six". In this flaw, the top curve of the "S" is notably narrower than the bottom curve, but the bottom curve is not especially thick. A close-up scan is shown below:



Forty Ninth Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is pale slate lilac and the duty plate colour is closest to Gibbons purple shade.

I have one mint, and one used example as shown above. As expected, the used example is cancelled with a 24 mm Lagos CDS cancel, dated July 1, 1901.

Fiftieth Printing



The head plate colour of this printing is an almost exact match to Gibbons's plum, and as such it is the deepest and brightest colour in which the frame is found. The duty plate colour is closest to Gibbons's purple. 

I have only the used example shown above. It is cancelled with the 24 mm Lagos CDS cancel, dated February 6, 1901. 

Fifty First Printing



The head plate colour of this printing is closest to the Gibbons reddish lilac, but is a little deeper and duller than the shade shown on the swatch. So I would call it deep, dull reddish lilac. The duty plate colour looks magenta at first glance, but is actually about mid-way between the Gibbons purple shade, and the Gibbons deep magenta shade. 

I have no mint examples of this printing, and only the used example shown above. This example is canceled with a 24 mm Lagos CDS cancel, dated March 11, 1901. 

Fifty Second Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is closest to a deeper version of Gibbons's reddish lilac, so deep reddish lilac. The duty plate colour is an almost perfect match to Gibbons's deep mauve. 

I have no used examples of this printing, but only the three mint examples shown above. 

Fifty Third Printing



The head plate colour of this printing is deep reddish lilac, and the duty plate colour is an almost exact match to Gibbons's deep magenta. 

I have no used examples of this printing, but only the single mint example shown above. 

Fifty Fourth Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is very, very close to Gibbons's reddish lilac, but is just a little bit paler. The duty plate colour is about mid-way between Gibbons' deep magenta and magenta shades. 

Again, I have only the single mint example shown above, and no used examples. 

Fifty Fifth Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is closest to pale slate lilac, with a touch of rose. The duty plate colour is almost an exact match to Gibbons' bright magenta. 

I have no mint examples of this printing. The used example shown above is cancelled with a 24 mm Lagos CDS cancel dated June 17, 1902. 

Fifty Sixth Printing


The head plate colour of this printing is pale slate lilac, and the duty plate colour is closest to Gibbons's deep mauve.

I have one mint example, and two used examples, as shown above. Both used examples are cancelled with a 24 mm Lagos CDS, with one being dated sometime in 1903. However, neither cancellation is clear.


Fifty Seventh Printing



The head plate colour of this printing is pale slate lilac with a touch of rose, similar to the 55th printing above. The duty plate colour is an almost exact match to Gibbons's deep magenta. 



Group 6 - Printings From Plate 2 - Printings 58 & 59 October 1902 to January 1904

There is only one recorded printing of this stamp from plate 2, which according to Gibbons, was issued in October 1902. This makes sense because it would have allowed for a period of just over a year between August 1901 and October 1902 for the surplus stocks of earlier printings to be used up. This explains why there are relatively few mint examples from group 5 and so many used examples, which is not usually the case in instances where there were a lot of remainders on hand in 1904. For this value, there were only 23,400 remainders that were sent back to London and destroyed, and it is probable that most of these are fairly evenly spread throughout all the printings that were sent to the colony, since the vast majority of the stamps that I have from this printing are all used. The exact quantity of this value is not known, but given that it was printed in late 1902, almost 16 months after Queen Victoria's death, it is a provisional issue that was only produced until the stamps bearing King Edward VII became available. Thus, one would not expect the quantity printed to be large. 

This printing is easily identified by the fact that every detail of the design is clear and crisp, with every hair at the back and top of the head being visible, and no merging of shading lines whatsoever. This is of course, because a new plate has been put into use (plate 2) to produce the printing. The duty plate colour is described in Gibbons as carmine, but this is not really correct. It is actually a very deep shade of magenta and is printed in aniline ink that shows very clearly through the back of the stamps. I have identified two very slightly different shades of the head plate, one being of similar tone, but deeper than the other. This does suggest that two printings were made - very likely one in late 1902 and another sometime in 1903.

All of the cancellations except for one fiscal cancel are 24 mm Lagos CDS cancellations, and all are dated in 1903, which indicates that the stamps were used as they were sold. This suggests that the remainders that were sent back must have represented the stamps at the very bottom of the pile in most of the post offices throughout Lagos, at the time of their withdrawal in 1904. 

I note an example of the "Fat bottomed S" among this group, which does indicate that this is indeed a constant flaw of the duty plate that was never corrected. Interestingly though, I have not found any examples of the "broken S" in this group, which suggests that it may well have been corrected. 

Fifty Eighth Printing


On this printing, the frame plate colour is closest to Gibbons' deep rose lilac, while the duty plate colour does not match any of the Gibbons swatches. It is an extremely deep magenta, being much deeper than the Gibbons deep magenta shade.

I have five mint examples as shown above, and seven used examples as shown below:


All of these used examples shown here are cancelled with 24mm Lagos CDS cancels. Most of the cancels are not legible, but those that are, are dated in 1903 and 1904. 

The last stamp shown above is another example of the "fat bottomed S" which was first introduced with the 19th printing. A close up scan shows the variety very clearly below:


Fifty Ninth Printing


On this printing, the duty plate colour is the same as the last printing. However, the head plate colour, is also closest to Gibbons' deep rose lilac, but the colour is both paler and duller. So I would call this deep, dull rose lilac and very deep magenta.

I have six mint examples, as shown above, and twelve used examples, as shown below:



There are some interesting cancellations included in the above group. The top left stamp is cancelled with a September 12, 1903 Great Britain Paquebot CDS, while the cancellation on the fourth stamp in the top row is some form of fiscal cancellation - likely from a passport or other legal document, which is unusual for this issue. The second from last stamp on the bottom is cancelled with the Lagos "Government Telegraphs" straight line cancellation, which is seen only occasionally on this issue. 

The remaining cancels are all strikes of the 24 mm Lagos CDS cancellation, dated at various times in 1903. 

This concludes my examination of the 6d Queen Victoria stamps of Lagos. The only values that remain in this series are the 1 shilling, which will be the subject of the next few posts, and the three high values: the 2/6d, 5/- and 10/- values, which will be examined after the 1s has been covered. From this point, I will tackle the two most difficult values of the series, being the halfpenny and 1d stamps.