Saturday, February 25, 2012

Queensland First Sideface Essays - ½d overprint

In 1876 it was decided to replace the Queensland Chalon Head stamps. The design had been in use since 1860 and with the exception of the 4d, which was lithographed, all had been printed from the steel plates engraved by Perkins, Bacon Ltd in London. The new stamps were to be surface printed from locally made plates.

Therefore William Knight, the Queensland government engraver, commissioned William Bell in Sydney to produce a master die on steel bearing the description “Queensland,” “One Penny,” and to follow as closely as possible the design of the then current Queensland stamps. The completed dies arrived in Brisbane in May 1877.

There were two essay types, produced by Bell. The colours were black, purple and carmine and the ovals were either solid or void. They were produced in 1877. I have yet to see any extant examples.

A permanent half-penny essay was prepared in early 1880 from an engraved master die by William Bell and was ready for printing. 
The ½d essay was prepared to replace the ½d on 1d provisional. However, it was cancelled when the change in postage rates necessitating a half-penny stamp was cancelled. Die proofs exist as do some plate proofs overprinted specimen but no half-penny stamp was ever issued.


These examples mainly come from the Manning Collection auctioned by Prestige Philately in June 2009, nos. 1001-11. Link here and the Alan Griffith's Collection auctioned by Spink in November 2012, nos. 1167-70. Link here.  

1880 Vertically-Lined Background with Reversed 'Q' (Type A) ½d imperforate plate proof in black on thick wove paper. Auction details here.

1880 Vertically-Lined Background with Reversed 'Q' ½d imperforate plate proof in plum on ungummed watermarked paper. Auction details here.



½d. with vertically-lined background and with reversed "q" in "Queensland", in plum on ungummed watermark Crown over Q sideways paper. Auction details here.


1880 Vertically-Lined Background with Reversed 'Q' (Type A) ½d imperforate plate proof in orange on ungummed watermarked paper (unusually with the Watermark Upright), marginal example from the top of the sheet. Auction details here.

1880 Void Background/Vertically-Lined Background both with Reversed 'Q' (Types B/A) ½d imperforate plate proof se-tenant pair in plum on ungummed watermarked paper. Auction details here.

1880 Void Background/Vertically-Lined Background both with Reversed 'Q' (Types B/A) ½d imperforate plate proof se-tenant pair in blue on ungummed watermarked paper. Auction details here.

1880 Void Background with Corrected 'Q' (Type C) ½d imperforate plate proof in carmine-pink on ungummed watermarked paper, 'SPECIMEN' handstamp diagonally in blue. Auction details here.

½d. with plain background and with "q" in "Queensland" corrected, in carmine on ungummed watermark Crown over Q upright paper, lightly handstamped "specimen" diagonally in blue. Auction details here.


½d. with vertically-lined background se-tenant with plain background, both with reversed "q" in "queensland", in orange on ungummed watermark Crown over Q upright paper; defective at top. Auction details here.



1880 Wmk Crown over Q (II) ½d Vermilion imperforate litho essay horizontal pair showing the final approved design (white background behind head, and "Q" with tail to right) optd with the word "Specimen" diagonally in blue. A large block of this essay with a specimen overprint is in the Australia Post archives, dated 26 February 1880. The stamp was cancelled the following day after the proposed rate change did not eventuate. Auction details here.

½d. with plain background and with "q" in "Queensland" corrected, a marginal pair in carmine on ungummed watermark Crown over Q upright paper, each handstamped "specimen" diagonally in blue. Auction details here.


1880 Bell Essay ½d imperforate plate proof block of 4 in red on ungummed Crown/Q paper, each unit with under-inked diagonal 'SPECIMEN' handstamp. Ex Ron Butler. The 'Q' has been corrected. The earlier examples in this post had the 'Q' to the left. Auction details here.


This example was offered on Ebay in November 2012 by Status International Stamp Auctions. Listed as 1878 QV ½d red imperf ESSAY by William Bell on wmk crown Q paper, with diagonal SPECIMEN opt. VF fresh UN, 4 margins


Void Background with Corrected 'Q' (Type C) ½d imperforate plate proof in carmine-pink on ungummed watermarked paper, margins just clear to large, 'SPECIMEN' handstamp diagonally in blue. Seen at Prestige Philately auction no 152


Imperforate essay for a halfpenny value being a horizontal se-tenant pair with Void Background or Lined Background both with the Reversed 'Q' of 'QUEENSLAND', in black on ungummed unwatermarked paper, margins close to large, minor tone spots on the reverse. Seen at Prestige Philately auction no156

Essay by William Bell for the proposed ½ d. adhesive, imperforate se-tenant pair showing left hand example with white vignette and right hand example without, each with reversed "Q" in "Queensland", in orange-red on thick card paper with slight defacement line in manuscript at top. Diagonal bend not apparent on face, a scarce Essay. Seen at Corinphila auctions, November 2017

The types refer to the list in Robson Lowe, The Empire in Australia, 1962, p. 104

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