The 1879 Unwatermarked Papers
Pending the completion of the electrotyped plate of the 6d., small printings were made in October, November and December, 1879, from the Perkins, Bacon engraved plate.
For these printings, which were from the full plate of 240 impressions, two kinds of unwatermarked paper seem to have been utilised:—
(a) A thin to medium white wove of hard texture.
(b) A medium to thick wove of a somewhat creamy tint.
For reasons which will be given later, the first printing was probably on the thin paper, the later printings being on the thick paper.
Specimens are occasionally found showing a part of a papermaker’s watermark. The following examples are of interest:—
On the Thin to Medium White Wove Paper
(1) A single copy showing a double-lined “O," 15 mm. high and 15 mm. wide, reading upwards in the stamp.
This watermark is the same height as the numerals in the "T. H. SAUNDERS" watermark used in the 1879 lilac burelé paper, and might have formed part of the date in a sheet dated 1880.
It is usual to change the dates each year, and possibly some of the 1880 manufacture was obtainable in 1879. But it seems more probable that the double-lined "O" (which has a peculiar squat appearance) comes from paper with watermark "SANDERSON” in the sheet, as the two “O’s" are identical.
(2) The letters " P I " in double-lined capitals in a horizontal pair. This information was given in the prospectus of a collection offered for sale. No other details were given, and it has not been possible to trace the pair in question. However, the watermark is most distinctive, and investigation shows that this pair must have been on the thick paper.
For the reasons given below it is conclusive that the makers of this paper were Messrs. Alex. Pirie & Sons, Ltd.
The 1880 Lilac Burelé Paper.
Pending the completion of the electrotyped plate of the 1s., it would appear that a small printing was made from the Perkins, Bacon engraved plate about the end of 1879 or the beginning of 1880.
The printing was on a lilac burelé paper, which hitherto has been thought to be the same as that used for the ld. and 2d. electrotypes in October, 1879. A close examination of the paper itself shows that in quality and texture it is identical with the medium to thick creamy wove paper referred to above as used in 1879 for some of the printings of the 6d. `
Moreover, a block of seven 1s., burelé, in the H. L. White collection in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, New South Wales, shows part of a papermaker’s watermark "& Sons" in double-lined capitals, reading upwards in the stamps, which clearly proves that the “SAUNDERS" paper had not been utilised.
Owing to the identical nature of the papers used for the 1s. and some of the printings of the 6d., it was considered that they were probably from the same maker, and by combining the two watermarks “P I" and “& SONs" we are at once led to the conclusion that the makers were Pirie & Sons.
In a letter from their Stoneywood Works, Messrs. Alex. Pirie & Sons, Ltd., state: "We have gone closely into the question of the Stamp Paper, the Watermark in which you have described, and feel convinced that this must have been made at Stoneywood. At the time in question we did a considerable trade with Mr. George Robertson of Melbourne, and we think it likely that this paper passed through his hands. Unfortunately, we are unable to trace quite definitely an order for this paper for Stamp purposes, but we think you need have no doubt as to where it came from."
A further communication from the same firm reads: "We have endeavoured to trace the information which you require, and from the particulars which you give us, it appears to us that the paper must have been our Extra Super Cream Wove — a small piece attached — which we have cut from one of our sample books. We were making this quality prior to, and including, 1878 and , 1879, and the date in the watermark was altered for each year."
The sample of paper which was enclosed contained the complete papermaker’s watermark, and is a particularly valuable piece of evidence. A detailed drawing of the watermark "& SONS" in the block of seven 1s. (burelé) was forwarded by Mr. Fred. Hagen for the use of the Queensland Reference List Committee, and on comparison with the similar portion of the Pirie watermark in the sample, it was found that the two watermarks were identical.
Thus we may conclude that the paper used for the 1s. and some printings of the 6d. was made by the firm mentioned above and, no doubt, had been purchased locally in Australia. As the 1s. was issued subsequently to the 6d. it is probable that the Pirie paper was used for the later printings of the 6d.
The following is a description of the Pirie paper. The paper is a medium to thick wove slightly tinted cream. The watermark in the sample is “A. PIRIE & SONS—1892" in two lines in double-lined capitals, ampersand and figures, the initial letters being 17½ mm. high and the remainder of the watermark 12½ mm. high. The first and second lines are 173 mm. and 45 mm. long, respectively, and the distance between the lines is 15 mm.
As regards the bands of burelé, it is not known whether the setting of the burelé as used in October, 1879, for the 1d. and 2d. electrotypes, was also used for the 1s., thus only accommodating twelve horizontal rows of ten stamps; or whether a new stone was prepared to embrace the whole of the 240 impressions on the line-engraved plate. A watermarked paper (De La Rue Crown Q (2nd Type) Paper) to fit the electrotype plates was in stock at the time when this printing of the 1s. is supposed to have taken place, and thus it would appear that the latter alternative was the one adopted.
Whichever method was resorted to, a similar procedure was followed in preparing this paper to that described for the 1879 burelé paper, the colour, size and pattern of the burelé being the same.