Saturday, December 22, 2012

Stamps of Queensland: Details of Dies

This article, "Stamps of Queensland: Details of Dies" by Grahame I. Dickson, appeared in Australian Stamp Journal, 12 December 1920, pp. 185-6. I have extracted the information for the 1st Sidefaces. Click on the image to see it in larger detail.

And here is the full text:

By Grahame I. Dickson.

I have long been awaiting the new revised list of the stamps of Queensland by the Royal Society. Time, however, has not yet brought this to light, and I have, therefore, made out in brief a list of the details of the dies used during the period 1879-1896. Only the principal details as to perforations and watermarks have been included, in order to avoid confusion, and the die marks given can readily be distinguished;

Issue 1879

One Penny.

Type A (line top of right triangle cuts into oval)
Die I -Right low triangle, curve line thick on right top. Left low triangle, curve line joins vertical frame-line up.
Die II - Left top triangle, curve line defective, and lines bottom corner open.
Die III - Left lower triangle, curve line extends up and joins frame line (in 1 and 3, not in 2 and 4). Right lower triangle, curve line runs up even.
Die IV - Left lower triangle curve line extends up beyond triangle, not to frame line. `Right lower curve line runs thick and joins frame thick.

Type B Triangles complete (line does not touch oval)
Die I - Left low triangle, curve line joins vertical frame line up, and vertical line dividing triangle and frame irregular or defective.
Die II - Both low triangles, curve line joins vertical frame lines down. Right scroll in oval band, piece cut out.
Die III - Left low triangle, bottom line joins vertical frame line left, horizontal coloured line between frame and triangle clear.
Die IV - Right low triangle, curve line joins horizontal frame at foot.

Two Pence

Type A
Die I - As die I., Type "A," 1d. value, with T W furthest apart, and right low triangle, curve line thick right up.
Die II -  As die II., Type "A", 1d. value.
Die III - As die III. Type "A" ld. value, with right low triangle joins bottom line in centre.
Die IV - As die IV. Type “A" 1d. value.

Type B
Die I – As die I. Type "B," 1d value, with TW joined.
Die II - As die II. Type "B" 1d. value, with T W not joined, O oval, top E (Queensland) curved up. V
Die III – As die III. Type "B" 1d. value, with TW joined .
Die IV – As Die IV. Type "B" 1d. value with TW joined

Four PenceType B only
Die I - F, nearest scroll, U R widest space, N C (pence) close.
Die II - FN furthest from scroll, almost joins O C close.
Die III - F, middle bar thick, O, round and thick, U in four up and curved, N C E equally spaced .
Die IV - F, close scroll, bent back, O wide, N C E equally spaced.

Six Pence Type B only
(N.B. - From die II. of 1d. value.)
Die I - S (six), top flat and long, P, upright, stroke curved, C nearer N than E.
Die II - S (six), top small, P sloping back at top, end diagonal, C nearer E than N.
Die III - Curve line left low triangle touches oval, dot below P, P normal and rounded foot, C angular, equally spaced.
Die IV - Frame lines touch over Q and E, S tail flat, C nearer N than E, P normal, end square. .

One Shilling Type B only
(N .B. - Die II. of 1d. value: Remodelled.)
Die I - Value near left scroll, O, large and oval, touches line below, S long tail.
Die II - H in value runs up into oval, second L likewise, 0 small and round.
Die III -  S, top small, O small and oval, E low, bar long.
Die IV - Value furthest from left scroll, 0 cuts oval line above, NG close.

A Queensland Swan Song

Geoffrey Adams wrote an article "A Queensland Swan Song" in the London Philatelist, with part two appearing in vol 102, November 1993. The first sideface issues were covered on p. 316:

1879-80 Issue - SG128 to 145

This issue is interesting because the printing plates were the first to be home produced by Queensland. It was comprehensively studied by President Butler of the Royal Philatelic Society, London in 1980. There are two dies of 1d and 2d stamps, and both dies are found se-tenant on the same sheet. Each printing plate built up with a number of matrix groups of 4 which are individually identifiable.

SG131, 4d mint, with the first watermark, is a very rare stamp which I have never seen.

The 1d 'QOE' variety was thought to be limited to Die II stamps but a copy has been found on a Die I stamp with the second watermark. This has a Caboolture postmark of the normal type and the stamp shows no sign of having been tampered with.
The 1 d Die II 'QOE' variety on the burelĂ© paper must be scarce. My only copy has a Brisbane GPO embossed oval cancellation. The 2d stamp with the second watermark has been found imperf between x perf 12 in a vertical pair.

There is a variety on the 6d stamp known as the 'Flag' variety; missing shading lines in front of the Queen's chin have been replaced by solid colour in the shape and appearance of a flag. The Halfpenny on Id surcharge (reading upwards) was carried out on 170 sheets, so the total number of the 'QOE' variety on the surcharged stamps will be 170. A 'specimen' block of 6 has been found with 'specimen' inverted and a double perforation between the top row and the selvage.

Surprisingly, none of the 'specimens' seen has been on stamps with the first (SG Type 5) watermark. Some of the halfpenny stamps were used on bundles of newspapers travelling by train and sometimes these received a scrawly blue pencil cancellation instead of the normal Post Office cancellation.
During this period Queensland, in common with the other Australian states, experimented with aniline or chemical dyes for red or mauve stamps in place of the usual vegetable dyes. This trial was not followed up and detection requires the use of ultra violet light.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The L'Estrange Queensland Collection

Here is some information on the Fred L'Estrange Collection now at the Queensland Museum. It is reproduced from the London Philatelist, October 1950, p. 202. The collection contains some beautiful 1st sideface material including the only known one penny bisect.

"To the Editor,

For some years I have been considering the matter of assisting the State of Queensland by providing a collection of the stamps of this colony open for inspection by the general public, and in addition, to be an attraction to interstate and overseas visitors, the collection to be suitably housed, protected, and safeguarded against interference, somewhat on the lines of the White collection in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, New South Wales, copying the Tapling layout.

As you are no doubt aware (my collection having been referred to in The Postage Stamps of Queensland), I was in a position to provide a collection which could do justice to philately as far as Queensland is concerned, and having been approached by the Oxley Memorial Library, I offered to transfer my collection through the State Government to them at a figure to be mutually agreed upon at or below half its cash value in Australia. I realised that I could have been selfish and obtained more in the open market, but such action would have deprived the State of a valuable asset from the historical, educational, scientific, and national viewpoint.

I took out the value of the collection at £1,750 cash and made a firm offer to part with it at £875. Later, it was independently valued on behalf of the Library at £2,500 conservative open market, referred to the Minister of Education, who quickly acquired it for the Oxley Library through the Library Board of Queensland; it has now been handed to them temporarily mounted for safe keeping pending the provision of a suitable means of display. I understand the collection will be referred to as "The F. R. L'Estrange collection of the stamps of Queensland."

As a matter of interest I should explain that the collection contains the best copy or copies of every different stamp which I have acquired during the past 45 years of keen collecting. All blocks, pairs, strips, pieces, and complete sheets have been included; all duplicate copies of uncatalogued items have been included for the reason that definite proof or further investigation may be necessary. For example, there are approximately 30 covers with New South Wales stamps used in Queensland prior to separation, showing nearly all the recorded postmarks; mail routes can be traced. Approximately 10 used copies of the equivalent of S.G. No. 115 perf. 12 square, top, bottom, and both sides, with gum, such being the peculiarity of this stamp. Mint and used copies of the equivalent of S.G. No. 204 perforated 12 including a mint block of 4.

While on the subject of uncatalogued stamps, I should mention that further research has enabled items to be included since the late Rev. Jas. Mursell viewed my collection prior to the issue of your reference book. I have not recorded all—they include— Say 50 "a" 2d. value—12 square x 13 pin. Say 50 "b" registered—12 square x 13 pin. Equivalent of No. 184 perf. 12. No. 229 without watermark. No. 229 watermarked with double lined "Y" sideways.

A copy of the 1879 Id. used on a newspaper bisected which I understand was accepted pending the issue of the ½d. on Id. stamp. Of course, the block of 4, No. 434 imperf, vert, between has gone with the collection. I have retained all ordinary duplicates of which I have many thousands for two reasons— Firstly, to allow me to continue effective research, and secondly, to prevent the handling of duplicates by unqualified persons or those with personal interests. The Library has asked me to act as curator pro tern., and I have agreed subject to a Library representative being present at all times when the collection is opened.

The details contained in this letter are somewhat lengthy, but as the information I have given you in regard to what I call 50(a)-50(6), etc., has not, so far, been disclosed, I felt that you should be the first to know.

In regard to my reaction in parting with the main collection —"I am sorry," "I am pleased" — I feel that the collection will be on display in the near future and not held by me for years, only to be seen occasionally. I can, if time permits, still continue to make use of the knowledge I have gained, and continue research, but above all, from the philatelic point of view, Queensland can now show a worthwhile collection of her stamps compiled by a Queenslander (who, while a youth, spent 12 years in England, Ireland, and United States of America), and who is still living to assist the new owner.

Yours faithfully,