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A Study of GB Low Value Definitives 1934 to 1971

Introduction

Background

By the early 1930s, the volume of post in Britain was so high that a faster and cheaper method of printing than Waterlow's letterpress method was required. Harrison and Sons had been printing foreign stamps by photogravure since 1923 and had had experience of this method. Thereby, eighty years ago, Harrisons regained the British Government contract to print GB low value definitives. Photogravure was to be used at Harrisons' new facility at High Wycombe, where double panes of 480 stamps would be perforated on the web. The first photogravure stamps were thus issued on 20 August 1934.

The Exhibit

The exhibit demonstrates the design, methods and problems with printing the early GB photogravure stamps. lt shows cylinder flaws and multipositive flaws. While controls for accounting for stamp production had been around since Victorian times, the changes in control position and the problems with changing the control are shown, until the control's eventual demise in 1947. The £sd period 1934 to 1971 is shorter than the subsequent QEII Machin Decimals from 1971 to date.

Little attention seems to have been given to the importance of perforation. For a start it determined the eventual size of these stamps. However, the literature refers to numbers of different perforating machines. This exhibit shows that other than the existing Type 2 perforator only two more machines were employed using different combs for different applications, counter sheets, booklet panes and stamps for rolls. The examples from each machine type are deliberately followed chronologically from KGV to QEII. Some of the perforation varieties shown are very rare. For the hand fed sheet Type 5 perforation, single combs gave way to double combs, which became the norm during KGVI's reign. The continuous triple comb Type 6 perforator frequently shows a dislocation in the perforations every three rows, which does not seem to have been noticed before. This exhibit demonstrates all these variations.

Perforations are referred to as Perfs and Cylinders as Cyls throughout the exhibit. The comb diagrams come from Beaumont and Stanton's Postage Stamps of Great Britain Part 4 (B&S4).

Rare items are described in red and scarce items in green.

Scans are indicated by a different font.

Please note that this exhibit was put together for a South African exhibition. There are obvious comments, but these were aimed at the South African judges who know little about early GB photogravure.

Bibliography

The Postage Stamps Of Great Britain Part 4: The Issues of King George V, by K M Beaumont and J B M Stanton – Published by Royal Philatelic Society, London 1957
Great Britain Specialised Catalogue Volume 2, 13th Edition – Published by Stanley Gibbons 2009
Great Britain Specialised Catalogue Volume 3, 11th Edition – Published by Stanley Gibbons 2006
Great Britain Journal – Published by Great Britain Philatelic Society (GBPS)
King Edward VIII by A J Kirk – Published by GBPS 1974
British Stamp Booklets – by J Alexander and L F Newbury Published by GBPS 1990
George V and the G.P.O. – by D N Muir Published by The British Postal Museum 2010

Index

Frame 1 – Counter sheet perforations are shown from Type 2 to Type 6B. Note the rare Type 3 and the dislocations in the Type 6.
Frame 2 – More perforation examples are shown as well as misperfs. Booklet perforation Type B3 is shown.
Frame 3 – Booklet perforations from B4 to B6 plus the beginning of Controls.
Frame 4 – Stamp design, cylinder numbers, and flaws, plus marginal rules.
Frame 5 – More cylinder flaws and advertisement booklet panes.


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Frame 1

  1. Introduction
  2. Type 2 Perforation - KGV d and 1d
  3. Type 2A Perforation - KGV 1d Large Format
  4. Type 3 Perforation - KGV 2d
  5. Type 2 Perforation - KEVIII d, 1d and 1d
  6. New Type 2 Perforation - KGVI 6d
  7. Double Pane Perforation Type 2 - Late Watermark Crowns - QEII Wilding 6d
  8. Type 4 Perforation - KGV Block Cypher d and Photogravure 1d
  9. Type 4 Perforation - KGV 1d and 1d
  10. Type 6 Perforation - KGV d and 1d
  11. Type 6 Perforation Dislocations - KGV 1d and 2d
  12. Type 6A Perforation - KGV 1d
  13. Apparent Type 6B Perforation - KEVIII d and 1d
  14. Type 6 Perforation Blind Perfs - KGV d, 1d and 2d
  15. Type 6 Perforation - KGVI 4d
  16. Type 6 Perforation - Early Watermark Crowns - QEII Wilding 6d
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Frame 2

  1. Type 5 Perforation - KGV d
  2. Single Comb Type 5 Perforation Corner Piece - KEVIII d
  3. Double Comb Type 5 Perforation Corner Piece - KEVIII 1d
  4. Type 5AE Perforation - KGVI 1d
  5. Double Comb Blind Perf - QEII Wilding 2d
  6. Different Perforation Types for the Same Cylinder - KGV d Cyl 4
  7. Different Perforation Types for the Same Cylinder - KGV d Cyl 4
  8. Type 6 Perforation Guide Holes Sheet Markings - KEVIII 1d and 2d
  9. Double Perforation - KGVI 1d Light Colours
  10. Perforation Error - KGVI d Light Colours
  11. Type 5 Perforation Variants - QEII 2d and 3d Wildings
  12. Perforation and Cylinder Errors - QEII 9d Wildings
  13. Ghost Perforation - QEII Wilding 3d Green Phosphor
  14. Traffic Lights - QEII 3d Machin
  15. Booklet Perforation Type B3 - KGV 1d and 1d
  16. Booklet Perforation Type B3 - KEVIII d and 1d
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Frame 3

  1. Booklet Perforation Type B4 - Intermediate Format Panes KGV d, 1d and 1d
  2. Booklet Perforation Type B4 and B4A - KGV d and 1d
  3. Booklet Perforation Type B4 and B4B - KGV d and 1d
  4. Booklet Perforation Type B4, B4A and B4B - KEVIII 1d
  5. Type 6 Perforator Guide Holes for Booklet Panes - KEVIII d and 1d
  6. Booklet Panes Perforation Types B5 and B6 - KGVI Pale Colours d and 2d
  7. Blind Perfs - Booklet Panes with Inverted Watermarks - KGVI d New Colours
  8. Tte-Bche Stamps plus 21-Row Printing - QEII Wilding 3d
  9. Background to Controls - QV, KEVII and KGV d
  10. Control Positions A and B - KGV 1d and 1d
  11. Control Positions C and D - KGV d and 1d
  12. Progressive Boxing - KGV 3d
  13. Controls for Lesser Used Cylinders - KGV 7d, 10d and 1/-
  14. Faint Controls - KEVIII d
  15. Clear Ghost - KGVI 4d
  16. Faint Ghost Control - KGVI 5d
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Frame 4

  1. Smudged Controls - KGVI d
  2. The End of Controls - KGVI Light Colours 1d
  3. Marginal Flaw - KGV 1d
  4. Heavy Cylinder Number - KGV 1d
  5. Cylinder Number Retouch - KGV 2d
  6. Re-engraved Cylinder Number - KGV 2d Intermediate Format
  7. Great Orange Spot - KGV 2d
  8. Marginal Rules - KGVI Dark Colours 1d
  9. Phantom Stamp Corners - QEII Wilding 3d and 4d
  10. Stamp Design - KGV 1d Large Format
  11. Consistent Design - KGV 2d
  12. Reverse Printing - KGV 1d and 1d Large Format
  13. Cylinder Numbers - KGV 1d
  14. Cylinder Number Engraving Errors - KGV 1d and 4d
  15. Miscellaneous Early Photogravure - KGV d, 1d and 1/-
  16. 'ALF' Flaw - KGV d Small Format
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Frame 5

  1. NE Frame Flaw - KGV 1d
  2. Frame Break - KGV 1d
  3. Frame Retouching - KGV 2d
  4. Broken Tablets - KGV 2d
  5. Retouched Leaves - KGV 2d
  6. Pearl Flaw - KEVIII d
  7. Hair Flaw - KEVIII 1d
  8. Cylinder Flaws - KEVIII 1d and KGVI d Dark Colours
  9. Row 18 Retouching - KGVI 6d
  10. Type 2 Perforation and Uncoated Paper - QEII Machin 10d
  11. Dry Printing - QEII Machin 5d
  12. Advertisement Labels - KGV 1d Intermediate and Small Formats
  13. Advertisement Panes - KEVIII 1d
  14. Progression of a Booklet Pane - KEVIII 1d Cyl G5ns
  15. Vertical Delivery Stamp Rolls - KEVIII d and 1d
  16. Series 6 Sub-Series C 6d Booklet Panes from Sideways Watermark Rolls - KGV d and 1d Dark Colours