Nigeria SG#58 2/6d Black and Blue, Victoria-Buea Road, 1938-1952 King George VI "Palm Tree" Definitive Issue, a VF Used Example of the 1938 Perf. 13 x 11.5 Printing

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A VF used example of the first 1938 printing of the 2/6d black and blue Victoria-Buea road stamp from the 1938-1952 King George VI palm tree definitive issue.

This stamp is listed in four perforations: 13 x 11.5 comb, 13.5 comb, 14 line ad 12 comb. The first printings made in 1938 used the perf. 13 x 11.5 comb. Then, in the early part of the war, the perforation was changed to 14 line, after De La Rue's printing works had been damaged in the Blitz. Early in 1942, the perforation was changed to comb 13.5, where it remained until about 1948 or so, when it reverted to line perf. 14 again. Finally in late 1951 the perforation was changed to 12 comb. There were 2 or 3 printings still in this ast perf, with the last ones being on a paper that shows a very distinct cross-hatched mesh.

In terms of shades, there is not a lot of variability. The most prominent difference can be found on the 1947 printing, in which the blue is a blackish blue. However, the blue becomes more ultramarine as time moves forward, and is quite a bit lighter by 1951 than the blue of the 1938 printings. 

    Gibbons values a fine used stamp at 24 pounds, and as far as used examples go, this is one of the nicer ones I have seen, so our estimate is $10.  The stamp offered here grades 70 as follows:

    Margins/centering: 30/60

    Paper freshness: 5/5 

    Colour: 5/5

    Impression: 5/5

    Absence of visible paper flaws: 5/5

    Perforations: 10/10 

    Cancellation: 10/10

    A Note About Printings, Grading and Estimates for King George VI Material


    The stamps of the King George VI period were re-printed as many as 15 or 16 times between 1938 when they were first issued and 1952. Not all values in the sets had the same numbers of printings, but the low values generally would have been represented in each printing. 

    These printings can be differentiated by carefully comparing the gum, and the shades of the stamps. Generally speaking, the printings can be broken down into 3 groups:

    • 1938 printings. Generally these will be easily distinguished by the gum first and the shades, which will both vary depending on the printer. De La Rue gum on 1938 printings is thick, yellowish and cracky,or yellowish and dry looking in some cases. Bradbury Wilkinson gum is smooth and somewhat matte, or somewhat crackly, with the watermark often appearing "indented". Waterlow gum is yellowish and crackly. Papers are usually cream. On the Gold Coast issue the perforation os a line perf, which makes them easy to distinguish. 
    • Wartime printings made between 1941 and 1944. These will generally have crackly white gum and the paper will usually be cream or white. The 1944 printings for De La Rue and Bradbury often have a smooth, satin yellowish gum that makes the watermark stand out boldly, and is quite distinct. On the Gold coast issues the perforation chages from line to comb and this is critical to identifying them. 
    • Post-war printings made after 1945. These will have smoother, white gum and the paper will be very white. Late printings from 1951 or 1952 will often have duller gum and the paper will sometimes show a distinct cross-hatch mesh when viewed against backlighting. On some issues for Bermuda and Nigeria, for example the perforation becomes a comb perf, and this aids in their identification. 

    Generally speaking most mint stamps from this period are from the wartime and post-war periods. The 1938 printings in mint condition are always scarcer and better than the later printings. Gibbons lists them in cases where the colour is distinct from later printings for colonies like St. Helena, Gibraltar, Ascension, Nigeria etc, and in every single case, they are values at between 30 and 80 pounds a stamp for NH. Even LH examples will be worth a high proportion of this amount. The other values from these printings should be worth almost as much, as the prices for the Gold Coast set and the Virgin Islands sets show. 

    The later 1950-1952 sets for some colonies like Cayman Islands, Turks & Caicos and Virgin Islands also had 2 printings usually, but they are difficult to distinguish. 


    I have not graded every stamp in these sets, but have instead elected to say either VF, where all the stamps are clearly VF or F/VF where some are fine and some are VF. It is commonplace for centering to be highly variable with British Commonwealth material, and you will seldom find entire sets where all the stamps are VF. Where they are fine this will generally be because of the centering, or because there are 1 or 2 short perforations, for perf. 12.5 and issues with 11.5 perforations. 


    The Stanley Gibbons catalogue is used for these listings. Gibbons prices stamps for this period in NH condition, with the proviso that some of the printings which are scarcer are very difficult to find NH and will sell on LH conditon for close to the catalogue price. 

    Generally, the rule of thumb is to estimate hinged sets where the hinging is average at 50% of unconverted Gibbons. So, a set that lists for 100 pounds is estimated at $50-$60 where the hinging is average. 

    Many of the sets in this sale are so lightly higed that they appear to be NH. In these cases I will estimate them at 75% of unconverted Gibbons, provided that the condition is at least F/VF. 

    Fine single stamps will be discounted by 50% again, so that a fine hinged stamp will be estimated close to 1/4 unconverted Gibbons. 

    Please note that these are very conservative values and most of this material cannot be bought in bulk for much less than this. So, you should tailor your bids accordingly.