Monday, April 23, 2012

Another Queensland 1st sideface 1d. stamp duty article


Queensland: The Second Type Crown Over Q Paper and the 1d Duty Stamp Of 1878-79 by Ken Scudder in Philately from Australia vol 48 no 2, June 1996, pp. 38-9

A recent acquisition tuned out to be the original sheet of paper sent from the Lithographic Office of the Treasury, Brisbane, to De La Rue, in London, as a sample of the sheet size and of the watermark positioning required for the new electrotype postage stamps of 1879. This has been verified by reference to a copy of the sheet on film in the De La Rue records from the Australian Joint Copying Project held by the La Trobe Library, Melbourne.

On 18th December, 1878 the Queensland Government Office in London asked De La Rue to quote for 210 reams of postage stamp paper, to be supplied bound in books of 500 sheets, with "the Water Mark to be the same as that now used in postage stamps". Enclosed with the request, was a sheet of plain paper, upon which was printed a sheet of the 1d Duty stamp issued in the second half of that year.

This sheet, 15⅛" x 9¼", had written on the back, in red crayon, "Size of Sheet" underlined, and below, "Water Mark to fall in Centre of Stamps". On the front was a plain butt above the printed stamps, with, at the top, "Binding" inverted written in pencil, and at the top right, sideways looking to the left, "500" written twice, in red crayon, once on the butt and once on the top of the sheet. The vertical margins between the stamps were also lined in with pencil, but not the horizontal margins. The markings in pencil were most probably made at De La Rue’s.

William Knight, the Government Engraver at the Lithographic Office had previously made the recommendation that the same kind of paper and watermark be used for both postage and duty stamps. The new sheets were as requested in size and watermark layout , however, the watermarks were not an exact duplication of that then current. The Crown was different, and so, slightly, was the Q, giving what is now known as the Type 11 "Crown over Q" watermark. Also included in the watermarking was an enclosing single border line around the stamp watermarks, and at the top in the butt, in letters 11 mm high and some 185mm across, was "QUEENSLAND STAMP DUTY".

As it happened, it was not until 1892 that this paper was used for duty stamps; although it may have been so used a few months earlier in the first printings of the Bradbury Wilkinson high value stamps on this paper, though the date of this event is uncertain. Other than that it was used solely for the printing of postage stamps to 1907, when it was phased out on the introduction of the Commonwealth paper.

This proof sheet of the 1d Duty stamp is printed in a very pale purple shade. It must have been a very early printing as the lack of make-ready is quite apparent, with many blank areas throughout, making it obvious that the plate was made up of "groups of four" electros. In fact, it is very surprising that this particular sheet was sent at all, and particularly so to De La Rue who were printers of high standing. It is very obvious that at that early stage in the introduction of printing from electrotype that Knight was having some considerable problems.

In view of the fact that perfectly good proof sheets of the 1d postage stamps were produced in August 1878 it is hard to see why such a poor sample was handed over as late as December. One may only conclude that it was sent to the Queensland Government Office in London before August but that the request to De La Rue to quote for the new paper was delayed awaiting the Postmaster-General waiving his objection to the reduction in the sheet size from 240 set to 120 set. This he did on 26th August. However, this does not fully explain the delay to the 18th December 1878, or why this sheet was not replaced but, perhaps, this last fact was just an oversight.

Unfortunately, Knight is not the only one to have problems, as an examination of the composition of the "groups of four" on this sheet shows that this author is also in trouble. In the June 1994 issue of Philately rom Australia, the article on this 1d Duty stamp read: "The final chapter relating to the type layout of the "group of four" of the working die used for the production of the electros for the plate, may now be written." This has now turned out to be not so as the top and bottom pairs need to be transposed.

Referring to the illustrations in the article; Types I and 11 shown there are at the top of the "group of four" and should be re-classified as Types III and IV. Likewise, the bottom two types should be at the top as Types I and II.

The Type descriptions, as given in Philately from Australia, Dec.1993, remain the same. The only change is that now, Type A is Type IV; Type B is Type III; Type C is Type I; and Type D is Type II.

The problem arose simply because of the lack of stamps with marginal line watermarks. Two stamps with bottom line marginal watermarks classified as Type D‘s, having no distinguishing flaw, turned out to be two Type A's with overinked lower frames, thus hiding the main distinguishing features of this type, the break in the lower frame.

Perhaps one may be allowed to console oneself with the saying, "The person who never made an error never made anything". One can only try.

The date of issue of this 1d Duty stamp is uncertain. It is reputed to have been "Mid 1878", although the earliest, pen cancelled, dated copies seen and held by the author are 14th and 28th November 1878. We should be pleased to hear of any earlier dated copies.

Queensland 1st sideface half-penny article

This article was written by A. F. Basset Hull in the Australian Philatelist, vol 1 no3 25 October 1894 pp. 42-3 and entitled Queensland Half-penny


“Q  AND CROWN," writing in The Post Office, gives particulars   regarding the issue of Half-penny Stamps in Queensland, He states that "on the lst January, 1880, a fresh contract with the Peninsular and Oriental S.N. Co. came into operation, and to compensate for the discontinuance of the cheap, long-sea route, via Southampton, the Brindisi rates were reduced. On pages 186 and 189 of ‘Pugh’s Queensland Almanac ’ for 1880 the rates are given:

‘Letters to and from the United Kingdom, MF; Brindisi, not exceeding g ½oz., 7d.

‘Newspapers for the United Kingdom, via Brindisi, the postage is - for every newspaper not exceeding 4—ozs., 1½d. and for every additional 4-ozs., 1½d.’ "

He then proceeds to describe the provisional ½d. Stamp issued to make up the new rate, and says further :

"At the period this Stamp was issued the writer was residing at an important inland town of the colony, in constant rail communication with the capital, Brisbane, and although making frequent inquiries at the post office for them was unable to purchase half-penny Stamps until February 23. This date may be relied upon, as in December, 1891 - nearly 12 years later -a pair of these Stamps (found in one of his own letters) with a piece of margin attached, were sent from England to the writer, and in his handwriting on the margin was the note ‘ Issued to-day, 23/2/80,’ so that the Stamps were only ready in time for the second monthly mail which left Moreton Bay on February 25. For the first monthly mail after the reduction—January 28 - on asking how, in the absence of a half-penny Stamp, it was possible to pay the exact postage, we were told by the assistant postmaster to cut a penny Stamp in halves. This course the writer adopted, and affixing a penny Stamp and a-half (cut diagonally) to a couple of newspapers under 4 ounces, they were passed by the authorities.”

In treating of the provisional ½d. Stamp (V.P.M., Feb, 1894) I quoted the Gazette notice anent the altered rates of postage, which first appeared on the 21st February, 1880. As the supply of provisional Stamps was not ordered until the 20th February, it seems reasonable to "suppose that the altered rates did not come into operation until the date of publication of the Gazette notice. "Q and Crown," however, asserts that the first mail, after the alteration, was despatched on the 28th January, nearly a month before the Stamps were issued to the Post Office. On this point I would like some further definite official information, as my researches in the departmental records led me to suppose that the provisional Stamps were ready for the first mail, - at least at the Brisbane office, though they might not have reached the country offices. The Government Engravers record shews that the Stamps were forwarded to the Post Office on the 21st February.

The above evidence of the use of a bisected ld. Stamp being permitted is interesting, and worthy of record.

There is an example of this bisected issue here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Contemporary account of the Queensland 1st Sideface issue


The British journal, the Philatelic Record in1879 on p. 51 described the Queensland first sideface issue as follows:

“At last we are in possession of one of the long-heralded new stamps for this colony. And yet we are not happy! Alas! what a falling off is here! The old Queensland stamps are, in our- opinion, amongst the most beautiful in our collection, whilst the stamp before us is certainly one of the ugliest. The head of Her Majesty, on a lined background, is enclosed in an oval of solid colour, upon which are the words, in curves, “QUEENSLAND" above and "Two PENCE " beneath, in white block letters. A mean, corkscrewy ornament on each side of the oval fills up the interstices between the lettering. The spandrels are formed of close net-work, and two fine outer lines, the inner one white and the outer one blue, form a frame to the whole.”

Later the journal received the receipt of the 1d without comment, and then, when they got a copy of the 4d., this observation: “The 4d. value of the new type is now in circulation. This stamp looks, if possible, even worse than the two already chronicled, perhaps on account of its colour."

What do you think? 

Queensland 1d stamp duty article

Ken Scudder wrote an article entitled Queensland: The 1d Stamp Duty of 1878-79 in Philately from Australia, December 1993, pp. 110-11. (He later made a few corrections which need to be read in conjunction with this article and can be found here). Here it is.


This ld Duty stamp was the first stamp to be produced in Brisbane following the decision to surface-print stamps from electrotype plates. It appeared in mid-l878 and was followed in 1879 by the ld, 2d and 4d postage stamps. Two ld dies were supplied by William Bell, of Sydney, one for the Duty stamp and one for a postage stamp. William Knight, the Chief Engraver of the Lithographic Branch, who was responsible for stamp production, manufactured the printing plates.

A.F. Basset Hull, in Vindin’s Philatelic monthly, 20 February 1894, wrote regarding the die for this Duty stamp: "From this die Mr Knight prepared 120 electros, arranged in 12 horizontal rows of 10 stamps." Ever since, writers have assumed, quite wrongly, that 120 separate electros were used for the printing plate.


A study of this stamp shows that, just as for the postage stamps which followed, William Knight used a working die of a "group of four" to produce 30 electros to form the plate of 120 subjects.

This fact was first suggested in Australian Colonials, No. 6 of November 1986. Help was requested to corroborate the findings and to formalise the positions of the four types. Since then numerous letters have been sent to collectors of Queensland, all to no avail. This article, then, is written with the aim of presenting the findings to a wider audience and in the hope of finalising the type positions within the "group of four". All that is required is the finding of a stamp with side marginal line watermark and its correct typing.

Study has shown that this stamp fell into four types, which for now may be called A, B, C and D. In the Australia Post archival collection are several plate proofs of this 1d Duty stamp - a horizontal strip of three, a vertical strip of three and three singles, all in a very pale brown colour; also several singles in violet, near to the issued colour. The horizontal strip comprised Types D—C—D, and the vertical strip Types C—B—C. Since then a block of eight has been acquired (two vertical columns of four). This further confirmed the positioning of the types.

The only marginal line watermarks so far seen are two Type D's in the writer's collection. These are from the bottom row.

When the two strips of three are positioned together, we get the types laid out as in the diagram below. If the usual type layout is followed of I and II over Ill and IV then, with Type D occurring on the bottom row, this type must be either III or IV, and similarly so must Type C. It therefore follows that the "group of four" is either AB over DC or BA over CD, and all we need now to complete the picture is that elusive left or right side marginal line watermarked stamp.


There are several original die flaws which occur on all stamps seen to date. These flaws, together with the generally poor quality of these stamps may well have helped to hide the type flaws of the "group of four" working die, leading them to remain undetected until this time. On the other hand, it may be due to the general lack of interest in Duty stamps.

Since the original article, the descriptions of the flaws has been revised for greater clarity and is now presented as follows:

TYPE A
(i) Break in lower frame between "E" of "ONE" and "P" of "PENNY".
(ii) Cross on top of crown extends up through, but not above, the top frame. The left arm is well—formed and the right arm more defined than in the other types.
(iii) Both top frame corners have almost square notches in them.

TYPE B
(i) Left frame is split centrally near the top for 1 to 1.5rmn. Hidden when overinked.
(ii) Top left frame corner has slight upward projection.

TYPE C
(i) The small solid triangle in the lower right corner is badly misshapen and joins the bottom frame.
(ii) Top right corner of frame is notched, but not as squarely as in Type A.
(iii) Centre of top left spandrel design is broken, leaving a dot to the right.


TYPE D
This has no good distinguishing flaw. However, apart from the absence of the flaws of the other types, one minor flaw is worth mentioning:
(i) May have a small white pimple on the top of the "P" of "STAMP". ;

ORIGINAL DIE FLAWS
(i) Break in the upper outer line of the top right spandrel, sometimes inked over.
(ii) Break in the inner line of the value tablet at lower left, where the angled line joins the horizontal line.
(iii) A swelling of the horizontal line below the left leg of the "N" of "ONE".
(iv) 4-5mm long hairline attached inside the right frame line, from the lower right corner upward.

 In June 1994 of the same journal, on p. 39, he provided this update:

The final chapter relating to the type layout of the "group of four" of the working die used for the production of the electros for the plate, may now be written.

Within weeks of the article on this stamp appearing in the December 1993 Philately from Australia, the writer made a lucky acquisition of some 50 of these stamps. This contained three stamps with the elusive side marginal line watermark — a right side single and a left side vertical pair.
The types as described in the December 1993 article are now known to be:

Type I Type B
Type II Type A
Type HI Type C
Type IV Type D

These are now illustrated.


Queensland First Sideface - Details

Here are the details of each of the issues in summarised form. I have not included the listed varieties otherwise it gets too complicated. The listed varieties can be seen here.


1 Pence

NAME
COLOUR
WMK
PERF
Issue date
Paper
SG No
Robson Lowe No
Price Mint £ 2012 SG cat
Price Used £ 2012 SG cat
1d
Reddish-brown (Die 1)
5 (Crown over Q)
12 line
15 May  1879

128
56
110
32
1d
Reddish-brown (Die 2)
5 (Crown over Q)
12 line
15 May  1879

128 a
57
160
32
1d
Orange-brown (Die 1)
5 (Crown over Q)
12 line
Before 21 Oct  1879

129

160
32
1d
Reddish-brown (Die 1)
None
12 line
21 Oct  1879
Lilac burelé band
132
56
650
85
1d
Reddish-brown (Die 2)
None
12 line
21 Oct  1879
Lilac burelé band
132 a
57
700
110
1d
Reddish-brown (Die 1)
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
From 31 Oct 1879
De La Rue
134
62
65
7.50
1d
Reddish-brown (Die 2)
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
From 31 Oct 1879
De La Rue
134 b
63
90
7.50
1d
Dull orange (Die 1)
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
After Oct 1879
De La Rue
135
60
45
7.50
1d
Dull orange (Die 2)
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
After Oct 1879
De La Rue
135 a
61
50
8
1d
Scarlet (Die 1)
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
7 March 1881
De La Rue
136 
64
42
5.50
1d
Scarlet (Die 2)
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
7 March 1881
De La Rue
136 a
65
45
5.50


























2 Pence

NAME
COLOUR
WMK
PERF
Issue date
Paper
SG No
Robson Lowe No
Price Mint £ 2012 SG cat
Price Used £ 2012 SG cat
2d
Blue (Die 1)
5 (Crown over Q)
12 line
10 April  1879

130
58
95
13
2d
Blue (Die 2)
None
12 line
21 Oct 1879
Lilac burelé band
133
58
700
50
2d
Blue (Die 1)
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
From Oct 1879
De La Rue
137

65
3
2d
Blue (Die 2)
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
From Oct 1879
De La Rue
137 c

70
4.75
2d
Grey – blue (Die 1)
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
After Oct 1879
De La Rue
138
67
65
2.25
2d
Grey – blue (Die 2)
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
 After Oct 1879
De La Rue
138 c
67
70
4.75
2d
Bright blue (Die 1)
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
 After Oct 1879
De La Rue
139
66
70
2
2d
Bright blue (Die 2)
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
 After Oct 1879
De La Rue
139 d
66
70
4.75
2d
Deep blue (Die 1)
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
2 March 1881
De La Rue
140

70
2.25
2d
Deep blue (Die 2)
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
2 March 1881
De La Rue
140 c

60
6.50
























 4 Pence
NAME
COLOUR
WMK
PERF
Issue date
Paper
SG No
Robson Lowe No
Price Mint £ 2012 SG cat
Price Used £ 2012 SG cat
4d
Orange - Yellow
5 (Crown over Q)
12 line
6 June 1879

131
59
850
80
4d
Deep yellow
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
12 Aug 1881
De La Rue
141
70
200
12











6 Pence
NAME
COLOUR
WMK
PERF
Issue date
Paper
SG No
Robson Lowe No
Price Mint £ 2012 SG cat
Price Used £ 2012 SG cat
6d
Deep Green
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
Mar 1881
De La Rue
142
71
120
5.50
6d
Yellow-Green
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
16 Dec 1879
De La Rue
143
72
110
5








1 shilling

NAME
COLOUR
WMK
PERF
Issue date
Paper
SG No
Robson Lowe No
Price Mint £ 2012 SG cat
Price Used £ 2012 SG cat
1 shilling
Deep violet
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
May 1881
De La Rue
144
73
120
6
1 shilling
Pale lilac
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
1880
De La Rue
145
74
110
10



 ½d overprint
NAME
COLOUR
WMK
PERF
Issue date
Paper
SG No
Robson Lowe No
Price Mint £ 2012 SG cat
Price Used £ 2012 SG cat
½d overprint

Reddish-brown (Die 1)
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
21 Feb 1880
De La Rue
151
75
250
150
½d overprint

Reddish-brown (Die 2)
6 (Crown over Q)
12 line
21 Feb 1880
De La Rue
151 a
76
700
425












1d stamp duty

NAME
COLOUR
WMK
PERF
Issue date
Paper
SG No
Robson Lowe No
Price Mint £ 2012 SG cat
Price Used £ 2012 SG cat
Comments
1d
Violet
None
12
Oct 1879
Lilac burelé band
F33
96
100
50
Prices are for postally used
1d
Violet
5 (Crown over Q)
12
1878
White wove paper
F34
96
45
32
Prices are for postally used