Penny Black Plate 5 Repairs
IntroductionScope of the Display
My display exhibits repaired impressions from penny black plate 5, displaying the different states and characteristics of various letterings repaired during the black printing period. I have included a few red printings to illustrate the equivalent state in black where I do not currently possess an example in black.
Printing from plate 5 began on 28 May 1840. Wear is understood to be the usual reason that a plate repair was considered necessary, the repair intended to restore the fine lines of the worn engraving.
Repair of the plate was by re-entry using a transfer roller applied under high pressure over the existing impression. Most repairs were coincident re-entries with no duplication in the design, unit PB being a particular exception being a non-coincident re-entry. The plate was repaired on two occasions in 1840 during the period of black only printing.
Just after printing in red ink began in January 1841, following the decision to change the colour of the stamps, but before the authorities were ready to issue them an emergency or provisional black printing was ordered which extended only over a few days with just 2,800 sheets printed out of a total printing of 40,740 sheets for plate 5.
A third (known as the 'Provisional') plate repair was undertaken just prior to this final black printing which resulted in the very scarce provisional black stamps.
The principal characteristics of the repaired letterings are described to aid identification of each state.
Plan of the Display
2. AA and AB
3. AC, BA and BB
4. CA, CB and CC
7. DA and DB
8. DC, DD and DE
10. EC 16. TC
11. FD, GA and GB
12. MA and NA
14. PB and QA
15. SA, SB, SC and TA
All provisional black stamps are very scarce; examples included here are highlighted in Bold in the above table and in the display.
(1) Queen Victoria Specialised Catalogue Volume 1 Part 1 – Stanley Gibbons, 2020
(2) Repaired Impressions – H Osborne, 1949
(3) Perkins Bacon Line Engraved Postage Stamp Printing 1840-1846 – Alan Druce