Brixton Chrome



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3 ungraded examples of the 1d red brown from the 1841-1854 Imperf Penny Reds, alphabet I, weak right corners top & bottom. normally associated with plates 63 - 68. Our estimate of the value based on the condition is $9.

The imperforate penny reds were issued between 1841 to 1854, and were printed from a grand total of 177 different plates, with the first 11 of those plates being the plates used to print the Penny Black. Those are known to philatelists as the black plates. Then, from plates 12 to 131, a particular type of font was used for the corner check letters, called Alphabet I. Starting with plate 132 and going through to plate 177 a new font was adopted, known as Alphabet II. Distinguishing between the plates requires one to study the characteristics of the stamps, and this week's blog post discusses how you can accomplish this task.

In this sale this week, I am offering the stamps that are largely unplated from the first 10 rows of the sheet, i.e rows A through J. For each row I offer any individual fine, VF, VG-F and VG examples that are reasonably attractive. Then I offer a series of study lots that will generally consist of (1) a reference set of Alphabet I and II letters for each row; (2) lots that show the various plate varieties such as weak corners, recut framelines, blurred letters and so on that can be found, which will be of plating assistance; (4) shade lots for each alphabet, (5) cancellation lots for each alphabet, which are broken down by region. The plate variety lots can narrow down the plates that the stamp could have come from significantly, sometimes down to just one plate. These lots should help you gain some familiarity with the different components of what makes up this remarkable stamp, and then you can use them to help you in your own plating efforts. The idea here is that you can use the plated items from last week in conjunction with this material, plus my updated blog post for this week to really solidify your knowledge of these stamps. There were some 2,730 stamps in the lot that I bought, and the offering this week represents another quarter or so of that. As you can see, the number of fine and VF stamps is very small, with even VG stamps being relatively attractive compared to the average quality found.

A word about grading is in order. Full margins on this issue are just 1/2 mm, which is very small. If you look at examples which show the next stamp to the left or right, you will be able to see how narrow the space is, and how unlikely it was that someone using scissors by candlelight or gas light would cut in a way that would leave 1/2 mm on all four sides of a stamp. Stamps with 1/2 mm around on all 4 sides, with a moderate Maltese Cross or 1844 type cancellation, which are by their nature heavy, is at the top end of VF (i.e. VF-84 and VF-80). One that has 4 margins but one or two close, but not in is VF-75. One that has 4 margins that are all close, or one margin just touching is F-65-F70. 3 Margins and one just touching is VG-F, i.e. VG-60 to VG-64. One that has 2 margins, or three margins with one clearly into the design on 1 side is VG-55 to VG-60. One with only one such margin and touching or just in on 2 or more sides is Good, and anything less is either fair or poor. A heavier than normal; cancel, or one that is badly smudged and unsightly lowers the grade to the next lowest level, i.e. VG-F or VG if it would normally have been fine, depending on how strong a fine the stamp was. For instance an F-65 with a heavy cancel would be VG, but one that was say F-70 would be VG-F. In valuing the stamps I take the Gibbons price as dollars (so ignoring exchange). Then I divide by 2 for fine, again by 2 for VG and than again by 2 for good. Generally where I can see that the stamps will average less than VG in a study lot I simply call them "ungraded" and I estimate them at $2-$4 a piece, depending on what they are. For more information you should definitely visit the blog post in our Classic Worldwide Stamps blog. I published it last week, but have since added more comments to it as I made more observarions while lotting the material this week.

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