The line engraved 1d red-brown

line engraved 1d red-brown

The Line Engraved 1d Red Brown Imperforate and Perforated issues together with detail on the 2d blue – a short checklist and plating aid. Considerable in-depth and specialised studies have been made on the 1d red brown issues down the years and a large number of reference books have been printed leading both the novice and the specialist through these complicated issues. It seems however that the very grain of these stamps, that is to say the bare and essential facts are mostly buried in the wealth of books. So here then is a quick and short extraction of the basic framework and outline of the main detail on the 1d red brown issues from 1841 to 1858. Here I give a glancing picture of the Alphabets, Watermarks and the most prominent varieties of this short aid, if the collector wishes to go further, can be used with the leading publications on the subject.

The Alphabets – Which Plates?

Alphabet I – Small letters. 1840-1852. Found on all 1d black. All the 2d imperfs. All Id reds to PL 131 DIE I.
Alphabet II – Larger and heavier letters. 1852-1856. Found on plates 132-175 DIE I imperf. On plates 176-204 DIE I perforated. On plates 1-21 DIE II perforated. On plate 5 of 2d blue perforated. On reserve plates R1 to R16.
Alphabet III – Taller and generally thinner letters. 1856-1864. Found on all 1d reds plates 22-49 and plates 52-68 DIE II. Also reserve PL 17 DIE II. Also plate 6 of 2d blue.
Note: The 1d ROSE REDS perf stars are nearly all alphabet III.
Alphabet IV – Hand engraved. Used only on plates 50 and 51 1d red DIE II during 1861. The colour is usually a DEEP ROSE PINK.

BLUED PAPER TO WHITE PAPER. Perforated issues. A transitional period of only 6 months – Jan to June 1857.

Watermark – Which Plates?

Watermark SMALL CROWN: 1840-1855. Used on all DIE I and all DIE II imperf. Also on 1d reds perf up to plate 25.
Watermark LARGE CROWN: Introduced 1854. Used on SG 26 1d red. Perf 16. Modified at end of 1861 by deletion of the small lines on the lower two arches; then called Large Crown Type II. The 1d DIE II is found with both types of Large Crown on plates 66 and 67 and is fairly common. 1d plates 50 and 51 may also be found with both types of Large Crown but more usually Type I.

The Cancels – A Plating Aid.

Maltese Cross: Coloured red up to Feb 1841, then changed to black, though other colours are known. Numbers 1 to 12 in cross, used from March 1843 to 1844 by London Head Offices. Maltese Cross cancellations usually found on 1d red plates 12 to 40, the transition plates are plates 41 to 45 when other obliterators were also used. 1844 Type Cancellations: Issued April 1844. These and other numerical cancellations appear on plates 46-131.

There are more than 50 books which deal in depth with the line engraved issues and the vast majority of these have been out of print for a long time. There is little point is listing all of them as many are now rare but a full list may be found in:- ‘A LIST OF BOOKS ON THE POSTAL HISTORY, PMKS and ADHESIVE POSTAGE & REVENUE STAMPS OF GREAT BRITAIN’ 2nd Ed. ARNOLD M STRANGE. GBPS LONDON. However I list here a few which are fairly easy to aquire at your local stamp shop or which are available from or through good libraries:-

STANLEY GIBBONS: Specialised Stamp Catalogue of Great Britain. VOL 1. Queen Victoria.

J. B. SEYMOUR: The Stamps Of Great Britain. Part 1. 1840-1853.

W. R. D. WIGGINS: The Stamps Of Great Britain. Part 2, 1853-1865. (These two from Royal Philatelic Society London).

CAPT. J. B. M. STANTON: GB 1d Red. Line Engraved Varieties. 1841-1864. 1958. A scarce work but very useful if you can get it.

WIGGINS & TONNA: The Plating Of Alphabet III. AA-TL in 5 volumes showing photos of every stamp. Good work. Easy to read.

G. C. TONNA: The 1d Red Stars. DIE II. Alphabet III. AA-JL. Vol 1 1980. A very underrated volume. An excellent work. Volume 2 is due out in 1985 or thereabouts.

G. C. TONNA: Colour Guide Of Shades Of 1d DIE II. Alphabet III. 1856.1864. Companion to above.

ROWLAND BROWN: The Plating Of The 1d 1840-1864 in 4 volumes GBPS. 1972. Each volume with plastic plating gauge. All the information is there but this work is somewhat fiddly to use.

The 1d imperfs and the later 1d Stars on both white and blued paper are probably the most complex of issues to specialise in, but the very cost of these stamps in quantity is relatively low when set against the pleasure and enjoyment that can be had from them. If the collector feels like ‘diving in’ I would say “Go ahead”. The 1st 1ds of Victorias reign will give ages of pleasure and fun to all who embark on what I believe as one of Great Britains real philatelic challenges.