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Lot 276 Great Britain SC#20 (C10(2)) 1d Deep Rose Red On White Paper 1854-1864 Penny Reds Perforated, Perf 14, Die 2, Alphabet III, Large Crown Wmk Type 1, Unplated, England & Wales Cancels, 2 Very Fine Used Examples, Estimated Value $40

Lot 276 Great Britain SC#20 (C10(2)) 1d Deep Rose Red On White Paper 1854-1864 Penny Reds Perforated, Perf 14, Die 2, Alphabet III, Large Crown Wmk Type 1, Unplated, England & Wales Cancels, 2 Very Fine Used Examples, Estimated Value $40

2 very fine used examples of the 1d deep rose red on white paper from the 1854-1864 Penny Reds Perforated. perf 14, die 2, alphabet III, large crown wmk type 1, unplated, England & Wales cancels. The two cancels are; #190 Chichester, Sussex & #770 Stanmore, Middlesex. 2022 Scott Classic cat. $40 For VF. Our estimate of the value based on the condition is $40.

The perforated penny reds with stars in the upper corners were in use from 1854 to 1864, when they were replaced by those with letters in all corners. Initial printings were all die 1, and were all on blued paper. These exist both perforated 16 and 14. The official perf. 16's are all alphabet II, but some experimental printings exist from 1850-1853, which are all alphabet 1. Those are known as the "Archer" perforations, after Henry Archer, who conducted the experiments. Later when die 2 is introduced, both the large crown watermark and small crown watermarks are found, as well as the perf. 16 and perf 14. Then, eventually the paper changes to cream, and then to white, with a gradual change of shades from red-brown to rose red. You can read all about them in this week's blog post, which will give more detail about how to distinguish the printings and shades, alphabets etc.

At this point some explanation of the change from blue paper to white, and the change in inks as well as the Fleet St fire in March 1857 is in order here.
Twice since they were awarded the printing contract, Perkins Bacon had faced pressure to lower the contract price: first in 1851, when Henry Archer tried to win the perforating contract, and then again in 1856 when De La Rue submitted a very competitive tender. Prussiate of Potash, which was added to the ink, and is what was responsible for the bluing in the paper, was the most expensive ingredient in the then vegetable based ink. Eliminating this was the key to maintaining profit on the contract. So, in 1856 experiments began to first reduce the amount of Prussiate of potash, and then eliminate it entirely. The partially blued stamps are listed in Gibbons as the regular blued paper. Gibbons then lists printings on cream tinted or white paper in both red brown and various red and orange red shades. The cream colour on some comes from reactions in the pigment of the inks. But the paper itself never changed - just its perceived colour. As the bluing was eliminated, further experiments were done to thin the ink with oil, which took the colour from red to rose. These initial printings were done at their Fleet St. premises. Then on March 11-12 I believe, there was a fire at this location that destroyed a month worth of stock. But the damage to the plant itself was minimal. So, they set up temporary premises on Savoy St., off the Strand, to resume printing, which they did 24/7 to replace what had been lost. The shades of all printings except the pale rose red are sufficiently distinct that these printings can be carefully identified and separated from the rest. Then, after the ink experiments had been conducted, it was decided to switch from using more expensive vegetable based inks to cheaper mineral based ones. PB had been using these inks for other applications, but decided to go outside their contract and use them for stamp production. Eventually, as the ink developed into the rose-red and deep rose red the paper took on a fully white appearance.

A note about paper is important here. Gibbons does not make any distinction about the thickness of the paper. However, the paper can be found very thin or thick. The standard paper will be somewhat translucent when viewed from the back, the watermark will be visible, but not clear, and the paper will have some stiffness and feel stout. Thick paper will feel thick and will be opaque to the point where the watermark is not readily visible. Thin paper will have no stiffness to it, will be almost transparent, and the watermark will display clearly without fluid. Both the thin and thick papers are scarcer, just based on what we have seen in sorting over 2,000 stamps this week.

A note about the grading of these issues. The plartes were laid down generally with even less space between stamps than the imperforate plates in a lot of cases. If you look at several stamps that are poorly centered enough to show the adjacent stamps, you will see that the space between framelines varies, but is usually between 0.5 mm and 1 mm. The perforation holes themselves are almost 0.5 mm wide. So, because of this, it is not really possible to get clear margins on all sides the way that it is with the imperforate stamps. All VF stamps will have the perforations touching or just barely encroaching on the framelines on one of more sides. However, they will present as being well centered. Cancellations will be moderate and clear, as all the main cancellers at the time are barred numerals. CDS's are not the norm, and only occur where the postal cleark has not followed regulations. Fine centered stamps will have the perfs cutting into the design on 1 or 2 sides, but the degree will not be such that you can see the adjacent stamps, nor will any significant portion of either the star ornaments or corner letters be lost. Cancellations can be heavy if the stamps would otherwise be VF, or moderately cancelled if the centering is fine. VG stamps will be severly off centre, with the adjacent stamps visible, or some portion of the star ornaments or corner boxes cut away. If either the corner letters are not visible at the bottom, or "Postage" is not visible at the top, that is a good centered stamp. Heavy cancels reduce the grade by 1/2 a grade or a full grade, if the strike is smudged or not clear. Small faults, such as creases, short perfs, clipped perfs or thins reduce the grade by 1 level. So, in my descriptions, I will try to mention faults, but if I have a VF centered stamp with a moderate cancel that I have graded as fine, it is because there is a small fault.

In terms of plating, we have identified the plates where we were able to determine them easily, or where they were identified for us. There is an online resource at the Royal Philatelic Society of Great Britain, where you can view the imprimatur sheets of every single plate. As the stamp position is still in the sheet, you can match the stamp with the image on the sheet to determine the correct plate. Usually to do this you focus on the way the corner letters are placed in the square. The website address where you can find these sheets is There are many better plates that are quite rare and while we have checked for a few, we abandoned the effort because we just didn't have time. So, there exists a possibility of a valuable find in most of our lots. The better plates are 170, 195, 197 on the die 1 printings; 3, 13, 15, 16 and 17 on the die 2 blued paper printings with alphabet II; plates 22, 25-26 and 48 on the blued paper printings with Alphabet III, and then 33, 35, 38, 40, 45, 53, 58, 64 and 65 on the rose and rose red white paper stamps. In all cases those plates catalogue between 300 GBP and 9,000 GBP. Of course, there are many premium plates that catalogue more than the basic ones that I haven't even mentioned here, but there are too many to list. It is a very painstaking process to compare stamps to imprimatur sheets, but it is a very reliable way to make a positive identification for many positions. For some it may not be possible, if two or more sheets are similar enough, or if the stamps for that position are missing from the sheet. You'll understand, after you have tried it with 10 stamps why we didn't have time to check ours, but I think you will have fun with it.

Finally, a note about catalogue prices. We have used SG Specialized Volume 1 Queen Victoria Catalogue, which prices each shade and plate, as well as specific varieties. However, it does not provide separate prices for combinations of varieties. It is always understood that where Gibbons prices a variety like a re-entry or a plate, that the price is for the least expensive shade. So, where we have a variety with a better shade or watermark, we have determined a proxy value by adjusting the value of the variety upwards by the premium inherent in the better shade. So, for instance where the basic shade is 8 GBP and a better shade is 20 GBP, a variety that catalogues 10 GBP in the least expensive shade would be valued at 10 x (20/8) = 25 GBP.

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