So the starting point in identifying these is to look through my many mint and used examples for stamps that were clearly printed from the first state of the plate. As stated in all my previous posts, the first state of the plate is characterized by the almost complete lack of wear in the design, and by the following characteristics:
- Generally speaking, the horizontal shading lines in the background of the portrait medallion, will all be clearly separated from the other lines, and will be more or less the same thickness, from the top of the medallion, to the bottom.
- All of the hairlines in the hair above the crown will be clearly visible as separate lines. There will be no merging of these lines, whatsoever.
- There will be clear detail in the hair at the back of the head, where the hair meets the neck. Here, there is what resembles a bun, with a diagonal ribbon separating the bun into two sections. There should be clear lines present demarcating the hair, both above, and below the ribbon.
- The detail in the jewels of the crown are all clear and distinct. There is no merging of any of the horizontal shading lines in the band of the crown.
The head and duty plate colours of this printing are also the same. The green is a dull green that is deeper than Gibbons's dull green, and with a bluish undertone as well. It is however, not as blue as Gibbons' dull blue green. So I would call this the deep dull bluish green.
The head plate colour of this printing is closest to myrtle green, but duller. The duty plate is a pale dull blue green. So I would call this dull myrtle green and pale dull blue green. This is the printing that I have the largest number of examples of, with seven mint stamps, and none of them used.
The head plate of this printing is a very close match to Gibbons's deep dull green, but this colour is distinctly bluish, but not quite bluish enough to be myrtle green. The duty plate colour is the same overall tone, but is paler. So to me this printing is deep dull bluish green and dull bluish green.
This is another printing for which I have a large number of mint examples, with five stamps and one used example. The used stamp on the right is cancelled with what appears to be a 9-bar oval obliterator, based on the narrow width of the bars.
The head and duty plate colour of this printing is very similar to the deep dull blue green of the sixteenth printing above, but with this colour being a little brighter.
I have the three mint examples shown above, but also a nice upper right corner block of 4, with "current number 1", which confirms that this printing was made before current numbers were abandoned in 1891. This block is shown below: