Lagos SG#3 3d Milky Red Brown, Queen Victoria, 1874-1876 Perf. 12.5 Watermarked Crown CC Issue, 1st Printing, A Fine Used Example Showing the Constant Plate Flaw "Split H in Three"

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A fine CDS used example of the 3d pale milky red brown Queen Victoria De La Rue Keyplate stamp from the 1874-1876 Perf. 12.5 Crown CC issue. According to J.F Ince in his definitive work, there were a total of 15,780 stamps issued across 4 different printings between November 18, 1874 and May 13, 1875. This example is from the first printing from November 18, 1874, of which 3,000 stamps were printed. Vertical wove paper showing no clear mesh and watermarked crown CC. In addition, this stamp shows a constant plate flaw that we have seen on other 3d stamps from later printings. It is the "split H" in the word "Threepence". We have only seen it on the perf. 14 Crown CC issue and first Crown CA issues, so it would appear that it was found and corrected before the bicolour stamps appeared in 1887. It is not listed in Gibbons, but should be, given its constant status. 

Cancelled with a clear strike of Proud type D6 CDS with timecode A, dated February 24, 1875. 

Stanley Gibbons values a VF-75 used example of the more common fourth printing example at 42 pounds = $84. Fine is generally worth about half Gibbons, but this plate flaw should warrant a significant premium. Usually these types of flaws in Gibbons are worth 300-500 pounds, so I would expect that this stamp is worth $200 or so in this condition. If the flaw occurs once in the sheet then it means that only 50 examples from the first printing and 263 examples from the entire print run could ever have existed. So, it is a very rare stamp. 

I have written a blog post which explains the differences between the printings, which you can access here

The stamp offered here grades F-68 as follows:

Margins/centering: 30/60

Paper freshness: 4/5

Colour: 4/5

Impression: 5/5

Absence of visible paper flaws: 5/5

Perforations: 10/10 

Cancellation: 10/10

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