The issue of l879-80 comprised the first stamps to be produced in Queensland by the surface-printing process and they are important because the methods developed in their production remained virtually unchanged for the following twenty years. In studying these production methods it must be remembered that the stamps were being issued just one hundred years ago and to appreciate the problems faced by the Queensland Printing Office it is worthwhile to recall for a moment the world of 1879-80.
When Mr Knight asked William Bell to engrave the die for the One Penny postage stamp he also asked him to engrave a die for a One Penny fiscal Stamp. The dies for both stamps were delivered at about the same time and much of the experimental work, which for simplicity has here been attributed to the postage stamps, also involved the One Penny fiscal. The plate for this was not built up from 30 units of four but comprised 120 single electrotypes and the problems occasioned by this may well have spurred Mr Knight to persevere with multiplication. The design is no more attractive than the postage design. The stamp was valid for postage and a satisfactory cover is illustrated (Figure 15).
Finally there is the only surcharged stamp issued by Queensland. The Halfpenny on One Penny was made necessary by the increase in a Newspaper rate from ld to l½d. It is recorded as being supplied to the Post Office on 2l February 1880 and as the rate reverted to ld on 28 February it might be described as a ‘seven day wonder’. However 2l February 1880 was a Saturday and it is unlikely that the route’ and initially it would appear that some letters still went by this longer route. At one stage the Queensland authorities introduced a 4d rate via Torres and the ‘direct sea route’ but this was not recognised by the Imperial Post Office and covers are scarce.