Saturday, March 31, 2012

Queensland First Sideface article - Bassett Hull pt. 2

A. F. Basset Hull wrote The Stamps Of Queensland which was serialised in Vindins Philatelic Monthly. Chapter 9: The Postage and Revenue Stamps of 1879-81 was published in 3 parts from 20 December 1893, pp. 70-73 to 20 February 1894, pp. 95-97. This is part 2.

The stamps in this sheet were arranged in a single pane, containing 120 impressions, in twelve horizontal rows of ten. A curious fault occurred in the 48th stamp on the sheet: the U of QUEENSLAND being more like an 0.This defect was caused by the electro sticking to the matrix, and a portion of the raised surface being thus torn away, the impression showed the fault described.

The electrotype impressions being taken direct from the die, which was inscribed "one penny,” no variation exists in the lettering of the value. A similar proof sheet, printed in blue, was submitted at the same time, as a sample of color for the twopence.

Proofs of three other values were submitted as under :—

Litho. Office, Treasury, Feb. 21st, 1879.

SIR. I have the honor to submit for approval proofs of new twopenny, fourpenny, and sixpenny postage stamps, on plain paper, printed from electrotypes made by myself in the litho. ofiice. The two first are printed in colors as near as possible to those now in use, but the sixpenny, I fear, will not be satisfactory in this respect, as I could not obtain the requisite shade from the maker, though specimens were sent to him. I propose, therefore, to send to England for a sufficient supply of all colors that we may require. By so doing we shall get a better article at a much cheaper rate. A proof of the penny stamps has been submitted, with reasons for variations of shade, and I am now waiting the approval of the Hon. The Postmaster General.

I shortly expect a large supply of paper from England, made expressly for electrotype printing, when I trust the results will be more satisfactory.

If it is thought desirable, I am prepared to make electros for all the denominations in use, without further cost to the Government beyond the value of chemicals used; but, at present, I think this is scarcely worthwhile, as the plates from which they are printed are in good condition, and the demand is so small.

If desired, the sheets may all be reduced to the same size, and made to contain the same number of stamps, together printed by different processes.

As a very considerable saving will be effected by the adoption of this new process of printing, I would suggest that it be commenced at once.

William Knight, Government Engraver.

This letter also was forwarded to the Postmaster General for his information, who, on the 7th March, returned it with his approval, but suggested that the green and red colors should be more decided.

In making the electros for these three values, Mr. Knight prepared each one separately from the original die, in the course of manufacture producing a blank space in the lower half of the oval band, upon which he engraved the new value by hand, after the electro was removed from the matrix. Consequently, each of the 120 impressions on the sheet shows some slight variation in the lettering of the value. When finished, the separate electros were blocked up in one form, arranged in twelve horizontal rows of ten, and the printing was done in the ordinary vertical press. Owing to the electros being disconnected, the impressions are somewhat irregular and out of “register," and the outer line of the design " comes up " darker in some than in others.

The proof of the four pence was printed in an orange-yellow, of a much more definite and effective shade than the lithographed stamp it was destined to succeed. The sixpence was of a chrome-green, a shade that was never exactly reproduced in the stamps printed for use.

The first record as to the issue of the new stamps is to be found in a receipt for stamps dated the 10th April, 1879, when 1000 sheets of "new" twopenny stamps were issued to the post office. 1052 sheets of the one penny followed on the 15th May, and the four pence on the 6th June, 1879. The sixpence does not appear to have been definitely entered in the receipts as "new" in contradistinction to the "old," but, as the specimen copies in the post office are marked "1879," I think the end of December of that year is the probable date of its first appearance. It is certain that the old type of 6d., on plain paper, was issued up till December 16th, 1879, on which date 10,800 were supplied, so that there could have been very few of the new stamps issued before 1880. The paper was, according to Mr. Knight’s letters, the old crown Q paper, for 240 stamps, cut to size of the new plates.

The colours as issued were: One penny, brownish-red (a shade lighter than the proof); twopence, pale blue; four pence, orange-yellow ; sixpence, pale yellow-green. A second electrotype plate of the twopence was prepared, and printed from, in April, 1880. The lettering in this plate is less carefully drawn than in the first, and in nearly every case the letters TW of the value are conjoint. The letters are also very large, occupying nearly the whole width of the oval band. A second plate, or rearrangement of the first, of the one penny also was made about the same time. In this plate the "QO" error is No. 44. A third plate of the one penny, which was probably prepared after March, 1881, shows no trace of the "Q" error.

The paper, as predicted by Mr. Knight, ran short within a few months after the issue of the new stamps, and a temporary expedient was devised to take the place of the watermark. A quantity of white handmade paper, manufactured by T. H. Saunders, and watermarked with his name, and the date "1877" was procured, and twelve scroll bands of interlaced wavy lines were lithographed in pale lilac upon it by the Government Engraver, as a substitute for a watermark.

The one penny and two pence postage stamps were printed; on this paper, as well as the then current duty stamps. These bands differ considerably from those on the large fiscal stamps of 1871 to 1876, the latter having narrow blue bands, showing rather wide spaces between the interlaced lines. In the second variety the bands are nearly double the width of the first, the lines are more closely interlaced, and the colour is pale violet.

Since my return from Queensland I have been in correspondence with Mr. Cooper, of Brisbane, who has been kind enough to submit for my inspection two copies of the "full face" one shilling, in the bright violet of the last printings, on unmistakably burelé paper. I had found no reference to any special paper being used for this stamp beyond the crown and Q, but, in the light of the specimens now under discussion, I feel sure that in the printing of 96,000, in February, 1878, burelé paper, and also some without watermark or band, was used.

With regard to these stamps with burelé band, the recognised authorities seem to be considerably at variance. M. Moens, in his catalogue for 1892, chronicles: "1880, Type of 1860, having on the back a band burelé color on white, perforation 12. One-penny, vermilion; twopence, blue; One shilling, violet.” From this record it would appear that all three values were of the "full face" type. Stanley Gibbons, Limited, on the other hand, chronicle the 1d. and 2d. of 1879, and the ls. and 2s. (brown) of 1882-9 as being found on the burelé paper.

The two latter stamps are unknown to any Australian authority with whom I have been in communication, while the two former and the 1s full face are certainly in existence. The Government Engraver personally informed me of the circumstances attending the use of this paper for the ld. and 2d., but did not recollect employing it for any other values.

The new paper ordered from Delarue & Co. must have arrived shortly after the printing on the paper with burelé band, as the receipts for stamps between 8th October and 16th December, 1879, are as follows :- 

8th October, 1879. Plain paper, 250 sheets, 30,000 stamps, 1d. 
21-31st October, l879. Plain paper, 200 sheets, 24,000 stamps, 1d. 
21-31st October, 1879. New paper, 300 sheets, 36,000 stamps, 1d. 
21-31st October, 1879. Plain paper, 200 sheets, 24,000 stamps, 2d. 
21-31st October, 1879. New paper, 737 sheets, 88,440 stamps, 2d.
21-31st October, 1879. Plain paper, large sheet, 50 sheets, 12,000 stamps, 6d. 
14th November, 1879. Plain paper, 56 sheets, 6,720 stamps, 1d. 
14th November, 1879. New paper, 700 sheets, 84,000 stamps, 1d. 
14th November, 1879. Plain paper, 287 sheets, 34,440 stamps, 2d. 
14th November, 1879. New paper, 300 sheets, 360,000 stamps, 2d. 
20th November, 1879. Large plain paper, 50 sheets, 12,000 stamps, 6d. 
16th December, 1879. Large plain paper, 45 sheets, 10,800 stamps, 6d. 

From these figures it will be seen that the total numbers of the lower value postage stamps printed on the "plain," or burelé paper, were 60,720 1d., and 58,440 2d. The "Q O" error, not having been corrected until the end of 1879, of course appears on this paper in the one penny value.

The printings of the sixpence, above referred to as on ‘large plain paper," were probably on ordinary unwatermarked paper. I have not seen any copies assignable to this date, but the stamp is mentioned in "Oceania," together with the one shilling, also Q unwatermarked. This latter stamp I have seen used both fiscally and postally. I have, however, seen unused imperforate copies of both the sixpence and one shilling printed on thin, unwatermarked paper, in shades of yellow-green and violet, belonging to the stamps of those values found on the Crown Q paper.

In November, 1880, the new supplies of ink were received, and proofs of the stamps were submitted as follows:—

One penny, bright vermilion; approved, 21 November 1880; issued 7 March, 1881.
Twopence, deep blue; issued, 2 March, 1881.
Four pence. deep yellow; issued 12th August, 1881.
Sixpence, deep green; issued, March, 1881.
One shilling, deep violet; approved, April1881; issued, 4 May, 1881.

This is the first reference to the one shilling value I can find. The specimen, or proof sheet, in the post office endorsed, " Approved color, 1881, P & D. (Postage and Duty), April, ’81, only 1s. stamp.”

The arrangement of the impressions on the sheet is the same as the other values. The lettering of the value is very irregular, the second "1" of SHILLING "frequently breaking through the frame of the central vignette, and the final "G" is often roughly drawn. "Oceania" gives the date of issue of this stamp as November 1, 1880. 

However, as no printings of the one shilling value took place between February, 1878, and May 4th - 23rd, 1881, that date must be somewhat premature. 163,440 stamps of this value were printed in all on five different occasions. The shade of colour varies very considerably from pale cold lilac to deep violet.

"Oceania” states: "A one penny, yellow, found its way into one or more of the sheets of the four pence. The mistake seems to have been soon “corrected." I have closely examined entire sheets of the proof, the first printings for use, and the new shade of August, 1881, of the four pence, but failed to find any trace of a one penny block having been inserted in error. I am open to correction by evidence of the two values being found se tennant, but, in default, would suggest that the yellow penny stamp is either due to an accidental printing of a whole sheet in the color of the four pence, or else a chemical changeling. Of the latter I have seen several fine "yellow" copies; but all unmistakably manufactured from vermilion copies.

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