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Europe/Great Britain : Great Britain Penny Reds : A short tutorial

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roy
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BuckaCover.com - 9,500+ new covers added June 22
16 Apr 2012
03:31:55pm
This series of stamps, in use from 1841 to about 1880 causes a lot of headaches, and miss-identifications.

Here are the three basic types:

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Once you have learned to look at the upper corners first, the first one (#3) and last one (#33) do not present much of a problem. This tutorial is exclusively about the more complicated middle issue, Scott #8 to #20, with stars in the upper corners.

In my mind, if you have had a problem with these issues, it is not you, it's the catalogue's fault! They seem to go higgly piggly all over the place -- but there is an underlying logic that can streamline identification.

The "set" has 4 basic properties, which show up in various combinations. If we pursue the properties in a logical order, everything becomes easy. These properties are:

Perforation : Either 14 or 16
Watermark: Either small crown (Scott wmk 18 = SG wmk 2) or Large crown (Sc wmk 20 = SG wmk 4) (See below)
Die : either original (equals SG die I) or re-engraved ( equals SG Die II) (See below)
Paper : either white or bluish (with varying depth of blue)

(SG means "Stanley Gibbons catalogue").

Sounds complicated, but it's not! Here's a useful ID table:

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Here's the routine. Start with the perf gauge: 14 or 16? That puts you immediately into the top half or bottom half of the table, with only 4 choices now.

Next is the watermark: Small crown (18) or large crown (20)? Now you are down to 2 choices! Now the final narrowing down to one stamp may depend on either re-engraved or not, or bluish paper or not, but never both.

For example: Lets say your stamp is perf 16, wmk 20 (large crown). Only two choices for that combo, both of which are re-engraved -- either white (Scott #14) or bluish paper (Scott #18). Could it be much easier?

How about: perf 14, wmk 18 (small crown). Now you will see two choices again, both on bluish paper - the original die, and the re-engraved. Pull out your 10x magnifier and check the face -- that's it!

Here is the "close-up stuff" you are going to need:

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Note that I have ignored the Scott sub-numbers ("a", "b"). These are mostly colour shades. Gibbons gives most of these colour shades major numbers. That's why one Scott number translates to as many as 6 Gibbons numbers. In my mind, it is a great error for a novice collector to concentrate on colour for identification. Colours change over time. The red pigment in these stamps contains iron, and is subject to oxidation (rust). Frequently, there are many printings that are slightly different in colour, but are considered still be be colour "A", whereas to the novice, he/she sees a slightly different colour and thinks "one of them MUST be the better shade!". -- not so! Colours are best left to long experience, or verification by experts. (This is the subject of a whole 'nother tutorial). If you have never actually seen a correctly identified "orange red" vs. a "brick red" vs a "red brown", don't believe for a minute that you can tell the difference from word descriptions!

Now attack your penny reds! I'd be delighted to hear if this tutorial actually made it easier for you.

Roy

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DRYER
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The past is a foreign country, they do things different there.
16 Apr 2012
03:47:39pm
re: Great Britain Penny Reds : A short tutorial

Roy:

Indeed it does help me.I've printed out your identification helper and appended it to my stamp catalogue.

Thank you for sharing your expertise.

John Derry

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Privett1
Collector of U.S. stamps. BOB
16 Apr 2012
04:00:08pm
re: Great Britain Penny Reds : A short tutorial

Your tutorial was of immense help. Thank you for taking the time to post this for us all.

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alyn
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webmaster for the ISWSC http://iswsc.org and ATA http://www.americantopicalassn.org
16 Apr 2012
05:16:44pm
re: Great Britain Penny Reds : A short tutorial

Brilliant Roy, I have added this to my reference file. Thanks again

Alyn

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bgilbertsound
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24 Jun 2014
06:42:03pm
re: Great Britain Penny Reds : A short tutorial

Roy:

Thanks very much for this info... there are lots of stamps that could use this same treatment.

Best
BG

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cocollectibles
24 Jun 2014
06:50:40pm
re: Great Britain Penny Reds : A short tutorial

Brilliant, Roy! Thank you. The cross reference of Scott and SG is particularly helpful for me.

Cheers,
Peter

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"TO ERR IS HUMAN; TO FORGIVE, CANINE."
dave2398
23 Dec 2014
01:42:43am
re: Great Britain Penny Reds : A short tutorial

Roy
I am new to this site. I have been collecting stamps since i was a young boy On and Off, probably more off than on. I have recently got back "on" again now that I am retired, and have been buying large lots from auctions. Previously I had only collected QE II and G VI In mint and FD Covers. Now I have an over abundance of all and have found the early QV I very interesting and challenging. I have found your article extremly helpful in my renewed interest, but i was also wondering if you had the wisdom on plating of the non perf reds and blues as I also have a number of these. I have been all over the net trying to find how to plate but gets so confusing, for this old guy, and was wondering if you also had some good short tutorial on this.
Thanks again Roy for the help.

Dave

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Jansimon
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23 Dec 2014
04:23:17am

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re: Great Britain Penny Reds : A short tutorial

Here is some additional info, I copied the format and order used by Roy.
The Michel catalogue I used is from 2010. It is possible that the general price level has risen, but even then the difference seems to be huge. In my opinion, Michel prices are more realistic and those in Scott are over the top (often Scott prices are unrealistically low, but not in this case)

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Also interesting to note is that Michel adds two types not listed by Scott.

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2010ccg
23 Dec 2014
06:13:38am
re: Great Britain Penny Reds : A short tutorial

Thankyou....copy/paste and added for reference...Merry Christmas

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