Lagos SG#14a 4d Carmine, Queen Victoria, 1876-1880 Line Perf. 14 Crown CC Watermarked Issue, 1st Printing, A Fine Used Example With Sideways Watermark
A fine used example of the 4d carmine Queen Victoria De La Rue Keyplate stamp from the 1876-1880 line Perf. 14 Crown CC issue, with sideways watermark. According to J.F Ince in his definitive work, there were a total of 57,540 stamps issued across 6 different printings between May 9, 1876 and November 18, 1880. This example is from the first printing from May 9, 1876, of which 6,240 stamps were printed. Horizontal wove paper showing fine horizontal mesh and watermarked crown CC sideways. Cancelled with a light strike of a Proud K1 Lagos grid killer cancel.
The sideways watermarks occur only on a small portion of the first two printings and there is some speculation that it may be the result of a particular guillotine operator at De La Rue cutting the sheets of watermarked paper in the opposite direction. This is supported by the fact that some stamps from Sierra Leone, Gambia, St. Christopher and Virgin Islands exist thus, but not any of the other colonies.
Stanley Gibbons values a VF-75 used example at 130 pounds = $260. The stamps of the first printing are twice as scarce as those of the second, so this should be worth a small premium. Fine should be worth at least 50% of Gibbons and possibly more in this case, due to the scarcity of the sideways watermarks. So, a reasonable value for this is $150.
I have written a blog post which explains the differences between the printings, which you can access here.
The stamp offered here grades F-66 as follows:
Paper freshness: 5/5
Absence of visible paper flaws: 5/5