A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. Interested? So into the Blues...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Great Britain 1900-1950

1934 Scott 223 5sh carmine "Britannia Rules the Waves"
These Issues affectionately known as the "Seahorses"
Quick History
The twentieth century for Great Britain was also the beginning of the "Four Kings" era: Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, and George VI. This blog entry will cover the regular issues during this period from 1900-1940, with some attention paid to 1940-1952.

At the turn of the century, Britannia truly did "Rule the Waves", and her Empire was found all over the earth.

1898 Canada Scott 85 "Map of British Empire on Mercator Projection"
"We hold a vaster empire than has been"
The British Ideal: "Divine command and mission, race and heritage, education stressing athleticism and militarism, and technological triumph".

What occurred the next 50 years was the gradual unraveling of the Empire, two world wars and the rise and fall of Germany twice, the rise of the communist Soviet bloc, and the development of the United States as a world power.

But Great Britain and her Empire from 1900-1940 was still one of Monarchs and a leading player on the world stage.

1902-11 Scott 132 3p dull purple/ yellow
"King Edward VII"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2011 Scott Classic Specialized catalogue has 134 major or bolded minor numbers from 1900-1940, and 170 total numbers from 1900-1952. Stamps with a CV of <$5 are 101. "Affordability" Index (Helped by the infusion of inexpensive 1940-52 issues) is 59%.

The Monarch definitives rule most of this era, with commemeratives appearing in abundance only after 1940.

There are two interesting ( to me) stamp issues. The Edward VII issues of 1902-11 are printed by three different contractors with shade color changes in appearances. !

And the 1911-21 King George V two stamp design has 6 iterations in the catalogue. !

Get out the perforation gauge, the color guide, the watermark tray, and the magnifying glass, and let's get to it.... ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues

Pic of some of the 1902-11 Edward VII stamps
The first issue of the 20th century for Great Britain featured the newly crowned King Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria. The design followed closely the Jubilee issue of Queen Victoria, and many are bi-colored. The initial issue had fifteen stamps, with three additional stamps from 1904-1910 . Only two, the 1/2p and 1p, can be found for $1+. Seven range from $10+-$20+. The rest are $30+-$700+. De La Rue had the contract through 1910. But than Somerset House (bi-colors) and Harrison (monocolors) produced stamps in 1911 (mostly) to 1913 (a few). These stamps are either different shade colors (Somerset House), or different  shade colors or different perforations (Harrison).

De La Rue also produced ten chalky paper versions, which are given  a separate section, but italic minor numbers in Scott. For the purposes of the discussion, I will ignore these chalky paper varieties. ( I still sometimes have a hard time differentiating ordinary vs chalky paper types.)

It is said that De La Rue's printings are generally "finer" than the other two printing houses.

Somerset house has 12 bi-color stamps produced with different shade colors, all '11 or later.

Harrison had 4 monocolor stamps produced with  different shade colors ('11), and five more stamps produced with definite perforation differences (15 X 14 (H)  vs 14 (DLR)).

So what to make of all this?
A) A 1911 postmark is helpful: After Jan-1-'11 for Harrison, and July 1-'11 for Somerset house.

B) Stanley Gibbons gives all the printings a major number, except minor numbers for the chalky paper versions.

C) Scott gives the Harrison perforation five different stamps a major number. But all color differences for Somerset House or Harrison is given a minor number under the major number DLR printing.

D) Since Scott based albums will usually only have one space for these issues (except for the Harrison perforation different stamps), a treasure hunt can ensue for higher priced Harrison and Somerset House printings placed in these spaces. ;-)

Let the fun begin.....

1902-10 Scott 129 1 1/2p violet & green (DLR)
1911 Scott 129b 1 1/2p reddish purple & bright green (S)
I just combed through my feeder albums with color criteria, postmark date awareness, and, if needed, perforation gauge, and came up with these hidden gems. You might want to do this also. ;-)

Here is a November 3, 2011 cancelled Somerset House printing on the right with a definable color difference compared to the De La Rue stamp. CV is $40+ vs $20+.

1902-10 Scott 130 2p yellow green & carmine (DLR)
2011-12 Scott 130c 2p deep green & carmine (S)
Note the "12" cancellation date on the Somerset House stamp. Also, the color difference is not subtle in this case.

1902-10 Scott 133 4p gray brown & green: shades
Of course, not all color shades are necessarily  identifiable for the issue. The right stamp looks reddish brown & green, but I couldn't find a color match either in Scott or SG.

1902-10 Scott 134 5p dull purple & ultramarine (DLR)
1911 dull reddish purple & bright blue (S)
I can't make out the cancellation date, but the right stamp appears to be the correct color for a Somerset House printing.

1902-10 Scott 136 9p ultramarine & dull violet (DLR)
1911 Scott 136b light blue & reddish purple (S)
The color is right  for the Somerset House printing. And in this example, the Somerset House printing appears to be not as "fine" as the DLR stamp.

Close-up of the 1902-10 Scott 138 1sh carmine & dull green (DLR)
2011 Scott 138b 1sh scarlet & deep dark green (S)
The close-up is intended to compare the printing qualities of the two stamps. The DLR stamp appears 'finer" than the (apparent) S stamp.

1902-10 Scott 131 2 1/2p ultramarine  14 perf (DLR)
1911 Scott 148 2 1/2p bright ultramarine 15 X 14 perf (H)
For the 1/2p,1p, 2 1/2p, 3p, 4p monochromes in the issue, pay particular attention to perforations, as perforation 15 X 14 are definitely Harrison printings.

1909-10 Scott 144 4p pale orange Perf 14 (DLR)
1911 Scott 150 4p orange Perf 15 X 14 (H)
Another example of a Perf 15 4p orange that is a Harrison printing. None of these stamps were identified as something different in my feeder albums, so a little knowledge and examination can produce nice results with this issue.

1902-10 Scott 139 2sh 6p lilac
This rather cancelled to death stamp is part of the King Edward VII issue, and has a CV of $150. (Not this particular example!)  It has a (large) anchor watermark, which we will show (along with other watermarks) soon.

1910 Scott 145 7p gray 
Finally, this nice DLR example, issued in 1910, concludes our review of the King Edward VII stamps. This has been a most enjoyable series to evaluate. I suspect if a collector reviews his own holdings, he may come up with some pleasant surprises. ;-)

We next take a look at the King George V two stamp issue of 1911-21. This issue is most interesting, as it has:
A) Type I and Type II of the original Die with wmk 30 Imperial Crown  (original Die = Die I)
B) Original Die and re-engraved Die with wmk 30 Imperial Crown  (Die I & Die II)
C) New watermark variety: Both Die I & Die II with wmk 33 Crown and GvR
D) Another new watermark variety: Die II (re-engraved) wmk 32 Crown and GvR Multiple

Before we get into specifics, how about reviewing the watermarks found with these King George V stamps?

Wmk 30-Imperial Crown (SG 49 Imperial Crown)
Wmk 33- Crown and GvR (SG 100 Simple Cypher)
Wmk 32- Crown and GvR Multiple (SG 103 Multiple Cypher)
The "Imperial Crown" wmk is easy to see here.  The Crown and GvR wmk shows a reverse script Large G small v large R.  The GvR script is vertical with each other, and between the GvR script is a small crown. See it? The Crown and multiple GvR is a bit more difficult to see. I see a GvR with a crown above it, and then more watermarking that is not strictly vertical. Perhaps reviewing the wmk in Scott or SG would help

The 1911 King George V 1/2p and 1p stamps are complicated indeed. To give one a flavor, here is how these stamps appear in the Big Blue checklist....

1/2 p yellow green: 151 or 151d or 153 or 155 or 157 or 158A
1p carmine: 152 or 152g or 154 or 156or 158 or 158B

Yes, six choices for one space for each stamp in Big Blue!

Let's break it down....

1911 Scott 151 1/2p yellow green original Die, Type I (SG 321 or 322)
1911 Scott 151d 1/2p bright green original Die, Type II (SG 324 or 325)
Both wmk 30 Imperial Crown
I kid you not that you will need to do careful magnifying glass work, or even a scan to compare the differences between Type I and Type II of the original Die. 

(Note: I will be using Scott nomenclature here. SG calls Scott's Type I and Type II:  Die 1A & Die 1B respectively. And then calls Scott's original Die (Die I) and the re-engraved Die (Die II):  "Types" that is 1/2p: 98 type or 101 type, and 1p: 99 type or 102 type -confusing for both Scott and SG owners.)

Back to the stamps...

First, enlarge the image. Look at the center jewel inside the larger lower cross of the crown. In Type I, the Jewel is suggested by a comma. In Type II, by a crescent. 

Then look at the right hand dolphin scales. Count up five perforations holes from the right bottom of the stamp, and the fifth hole is parallel with the Dolphin scales of concern.

Let's take a closer look.....

Left Scott 151: the three uppermost scales form a complete triangle
151d: three scales do not complete the triangle; the line of the left side of the top scale missing.
It might be helpful to enlarge the image. Count up five perforation holes on the left (151) stamp.You should see the topmost scale sitting above two more scales- all three form a "triangle". Then look at the right (151d) stamp at the same spot on the right side. You should see the two lower scales intact, but the topmost scale is missing the left  line. This breaks open the 'triangle". Subtle, but real.

Now here's the kicker.
Most (American) Dealers do not break 151 down into types, most albums do not have a space for these types (including Deep Blue), and older Scott catalogues do not even mention this. My 2011 Scott Classic Specialized definitely has it with a separate section for bolded minor numbers. I do not know when Scott put these types into their catalogue. SG clearly has both Types (which they call Die 1A and Die 1B), and give them equal recognition. They can also be collected with several color shades: 

Here's the further kicker...
Scott 151d is more common than 151! ... and costs less ($1+ vs $4) ! I found a lot of 151d's in my collection, but only one or two 151's. (American) Dealers that sell 151, will usually give you 151d!

A word to the wise. ;-)

Before we introduce the 1p carmine, let's look further at the Scott 151 1/2 yellow green that was then re-engraved (Die II) in 1912.

1911 Scott 151 1/2p yellow green original Die (Die I)
1912 Scott 153 1/2p yellow green re-engraved (Die II)
Both wmk 30 Imperial Crown
Fortunately, the differences between the original Die and the re-engraved Die are fairly obvious. In the re-engraved stamps, the lines of the hair and beard are clearer. It is as if King George V received a hair cut! The original Die (Die I) has four lines of horizontal shading between the point of the neck and the frame, while the re-engraved Die II has three lines of shading. There are two (vertical) thin lines of color in the ornament above "P" of Halfpenny in the original, which turns into one thick line in the re-engraved version. ( You will notice the scales look different also, but we are not talking about them here. ;-)  ) Lots of other differences if you want to create your own list. ;-)

So enough about the halfpenny for now, let's look at the 1p carmine.....

1911 Scott 152 1p carmine Original Die, Type I
1911 Scott 152g 1p carmine Original Die, Type II
Both wmk 30 Imperial Crown
Again it is best to have some good magnifying glasses, or even scan the stamps and enlarge them on a computer for a close look.

We are looking at the right hand ribbon between the crown and the wreath. Scott says In Type I, the ribbon is crossed by two complete lines vertically. But SG would say for the same stamp, that the second line extends right across the ribbon,  and that, and only that defines the SG equivalent of Scott Type I.

Scott says for Type II, the ribbon is only crossed by one complete line, the other is not complete. SG says for the SG equivalent of Scott Type II, that the second line is broken in the middle, and that defines Type II regardless if any other line is intact or not. This more cogent and precise definition of SG will be important as we will soon see. (Again in SG, these "Types" are called Die 1A and Die 1B.)

Let's take a closer look.....

Left: 152 Original Die Type I -Scott:two complete lines, or SG: Line two intact
152g Original Die Type II-  Scott: one complete line, or SG: Line two broken
Scott: The left stamp (152-type I) shows, (after an aborted line one closest to the crown),  line two is complete, line three is complete, and line four is almost complete. The right stamp shows line two is definitely not complete anymore, line three is still complete, and line three is still almost complete.

SG: Left stamp has line two intact: therefore Scott's Type I. Nothing else matters. Right stamp has line two broken open: therefore Scott's Type II. Nothing else matters.

Fair enough. Both the Scott and SG definition will work here.

But I want to show you another example which will illustrate why the SG definition is better....

Left: 152g (Scott:Type II One line complete); (SG :second line broken-Type II)
Right: (Scott:152 Type? No lines complete!); (SG: second line broken-Type II)
Stanley Gibbons would define both these stamps as the Scott equivalent of Type II ( SG calls them Die 1B), as the second line is broken, and nothing else matters. Scott has no explanation for the right stamp.

So, to summarize, one can use the Scott's definitions if one wants, but it will break down when viewing a stamp like the one on the right. SG's definition is simple: If the second line is intact-"Type I"; if not-"Type II".

BTW, the stamps illustrated above are  interesting for another reason, so let's look at a full portrait....

Scott 152g & Scott 152k : Both "Type II"
The left stamp is the standard Scott 152g (SG 329) and both stamps have the Imperial crown watermark. But what about the right stamp? Besides actually being a "Type II" based on the SG definition, the right stamp has a scarlet color and is considered to be Scott 152k (SG 332). More interestingly, according to the "Four Kings" SG specialty catalogue, it is actually a "booklet" stamp. Of note, neither the Scott Classic or the SG 1840-1970 catalogues state that fact.

(I would like to thank skilo54 of Stamp Community Forum fame, who is an expert on the "Downey stamps", to help me clarify my thinking on these issues, and to point out the uniqueness of the Scott 152k.) 

Now, let's take a look at the original Die and the re-engraved Die (confusingly,Types in SG!) for the 1p carmine.

1911 Scott 152 1p carmine Original Die (Die I)
1912 Scott 154 1p scarlet re-engraved (Die II)
Both wmk 30 Imperial Crown
Again, the re-engraved 1p shows a King George V with clearer hair and beard lines, but another obvious difference is the Lion is now nearly covered with shading lines! An instant glance should be enough. 

We are done with the major engraving differences. 

So far, we have just looked at George V stamps with wmk 30 Imperial Crown.

Let's take a quick look at the other watermarking possibilities.

1912 Scott 153 1/2p  re-engraved (Die II) wmk 30 Imperial Crown
(Not Shown) 1912 Scott 155 (Die I) wmk 33 Crown and GvR
1912 Scott 157 (Die II) wmk 33 Crown and GvR
1912-21 Scott 158A (Die II) wmk 32 Crown and GvR Multiple
The various watermarked issues are listed above. Watermark 33 Crown and GvR can be found in both original (Die I) and re-engraved (Die II) states. The watermark 32 Crown and GVR Multiple stamp is only found re-engraved (Die II). For illustration purposes, I only showed the re-engraved (Die II) wmk 30 Imperial Crown stamp. But, as we are aware from our preceding discussion, the stamp exists also in the original (Die I) engraving, both in Type I and Type II.

I should mention that the Scott 155 (Die I) wmk 33 Crown and GvR is CV $40+.

1912 Scott 154 1p  re-engraved (Die II) wmk 30 Imperial Crown
(Not Shown) 1912 Scott 156 (Die I) wmk 33 Crown and GvR
1912 Scott 158 (Die II) wmk 33 Crown and GvR
1912-21 Scott 158B (Die II) wmk 32 Crown and GvR Multiple
The 1p carmine is found exactly as the 1/2p yellow green, and the discussion above about watermark varieties also holds true here.

The Scott 156 (Die I) is CV $30+. 

End of discussion about these George V issues.

Advice: After re-reading the above discussion, I realize how confusing it can be on first read. Crack open your Scott (hopefully a later Scott that lists 151 and 152 as types), and follow along a second...or third  time.  ;-)  Also be aware of the better definition of SG for Scott's "Type I/Type II".

We will next be reviewing some more George V and George VI issues. With that in mind, it might behoove us to illustrate the appropriate watermarks.

Top left: wmk 30 Imperial Crown
Top right: wmk 31 (large) anchor
Bottom left: wmk 32 Crown and GvR Multiple
Bottom right: wmk 33 Crown and GvR
The Imperial Crown, and Crown and GvR are obvious. The Anchor watermark looks like a large arrow pointing down vertically through the perfins in the stamp. The Crown and GvR Multiple, I see the reverse script GvR and a small crown above it, and some other watermarking not in a vertical row. Review of the watermark in Scott or SG may help.

Top: wmk 34 Large Crown and GvR
Bottom right: wmk 35 Crown and Block GvR Multiple
Bottom Left: wmk 250 Crown and E8R Multiple
All apparent to me. One might want to review this images with the watermarks in the catalogues.

Top: wmk 251 Crown and GvR Multiple
Bottom: wmk 259 Crown and Large G VI R
Keep these watermarks in mind, or refer back here to these images as necessary.

1912-13 Scott 160 1p scarlet & Scott 160d 1p pale rose
Wmk 33 Crown & GvR
A fourteen stamp issue with George V was produced in 1912-13. Eight stamps are CV $1+-$5. Here is the 1p scarlet and shade pale rose.

1912-13 Scott 162 2p deep orange Die I
Of interest, the 2p deep orange has two engraving types. Die I (shown) has four horizontal lines above the head, and heavy colored lines below and above the bottom panel. Die II (Scott 162a) has three horizontal lines above the head, and thinner lines below and above the bottom horizontal panel. Scott  has Die II as a minor number, and hence Deep Blue has just one space for this denomination.

1913 Scott 171 10p light blue wmk 33
The 10p light blue has the highest CV for the set @ $20+. One should be aware the similar 1924 King George V set varies for the most part by only watermark (wmk 35 Crown and Block GvR Multiple), and will need to be differentiated.

1924 King George V twelve stamp set
Types of 1912-13 issue
Wmk 35 Crown and Block GvR Multiple
In 1924, another set quite similar to the 1912-13 King George V issues was produced, These stamps had wmk 35 rather than wmk 33. Eleven of the twelve stamp set has a CV of $1+-$5.

1924 Scott 198 9p olive green
The only stamp in the set that was not identical/similar to the preceding issue is the 9p olive green, as the former 9p stamp issue was a black brown color.

1913 Scott 173 2sh 6p dark brown 22mm vertical height
1919 Scott 180 5sh carmine rose "retouched" 22.5-23mm vertical height
"Britannia Rules the Waves": known as the Seahorses
In 1913, the four higher value denominations were engraved and had wmk 34.  This popular-and expensive CV stamps ($180+-$1500)-are known as the "Seahorses". They are 22mm high.

In 1919, the set was "retouched", but the most obvious difference is now the stamps are 22.5-23mm high. If one examines the stamps above, one will note the right stamp is slightly taller. CV for the three stamp issue is $70+-$170+.

1919 Scott 179 2sh 6p olive brown "horizontal lines background portrait"
1934 Scott 222 2sh 6p brown re-engraved "crossed lines background portrait"
In 1934, three stamps were re-engraved (CV $40+-$90+), and had crossed lines in the background surrounding the portrait rather than the former horizontal lines.

1934-36 George V set produced with the photograving technique
In 1934, an eleven stamp set was issued using the photograving technique. The most obvious difference with the preceding George V issues is the solid portrait background.

1935 Scott 214 2 1/2p ultramarine
The set has wmk 35
The CV for the set ranges from <$1-$3 save for the 10p Prussian Blue.

1936 Scott 219 10p Prussian Blue
The 10p Prussian Blue is catalogued @ $10+, much higher than the rest of the set. Perhaps a reader can tell me why? ;-)

1937-39 King George VI set wmk 251
In 1937, a set for the newly crowned King George VI was released. This consisted of fourteen stamps.

1936 Scott 240 3p dark purple
The CV for the stamps in the issue are <$1-$1+.

1941-42 George VI Type of 1937-39 with lighter background.
The George VI design continued with the release of six stamps in 1941-42 with a lighter background.

1947 Scott 266 11p violet brown
An 11p violet brown George VI was released in 1947. Curiously, this has the highest CV for the issue @ $4.

Finally, there was a six stamp set issued in 1950-51 with different color denominations and in wmk 251. For the BB collector, this may confuse, as there could be George VI stamps stamps left over after the 1937-39 spaces are filled.

I now have two more issues to show for a specific reason.....

1935 Scott 229 2 1/2p ultramarine "Silver Jubilee Issue"
Twenty-fifth anniversary of the reign of George V
In 1935, there was a four stamp issue released for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the reign of George V. Considering that Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne for well nigh 60 years, certainly not the greatest longevity, but impressive nevertheless. I have a number of blogs of the British colonies, and I usually ignore the omnibus issues because, well, they are rather repetitive. The "Silver Jubilee" issue that was produced for many colonies is one I rarely show. So to make up for that, here is the 2 1/2 p ultramarine for the 1935 Great Britain "Silver Jubilee". 

1940 Scott 253 "Victoria and George VI"
Centenary of the Postage Stamp
Finally,the first blog for Great Britain began with the world's first postage stamp- the 1840 Penny Black. One hundred years later here is the "Centenary of the Postage Stamp" commemorative.

What is more fitting than that?  :-) 

Deep Blue

1948 Olympic games held at Wembley
The 1948 Olympic Games set issued by Great Britain is in the "classic" Deep Blue PDF package, as all of the British Commonwealth is represented until 1952. Ordinarily, for most colonies, that means the addition of a few omnibus sets. But for Great Britain, Big Blue provides spaces for some interesting commemoratives such as illustrated above.

Deep Blue (Steiner) has eleven pages for the regular issue years of 1902-1951, and I have stamps on all of them.

Deep Blue continues to follow the Scott catalogue: so the "sins" of Deep Blue are really the "sins" of the Scott catalogue. 

A few comments....
A) Based on the Stanley Gibbons catalogue and the reality that the 1902-11 King Edward VII issue was printed by three separate printing houses with discernible color shade differences, the Deep Blue/Scott presentation falls short. The fact that Scott has twelve major numbers ( and Deep Blue has twelve spaces) for the basic set, while SG has ninety numbers, should alert the WW collector that something is amiss. Now I don't necessarily agree with SG's general philosophy of giving every shade their own (major) catalogue number. That explains much of the total. But the not subtle shade differences produced by three different printing firms should have their own major number in Scott ( and hence space in Deep Blue). 

B) The 1911 King George V Original Die, Type 2 stamps (151d, 152g) listed prominently in Scott is not given a space in Deep Blue. Could this be because the breakout is a recent addition for Scott? There clearly needs to be spaces, as specifically the 151d is less expensive ($1+) and much more common than the 151 ($4+). As mentioned, many of the "151"'s sold are actually "151d"'s. ;-)

C) The 1912-13 Scott 162 2p deep orange with Die I and Die II types need to be given two spaces also in Deep Blue.

1924 Scott 186 1 1/2p dark brown "British Lion and George V"
British Empire Exhibition Issue
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on slightly less than three pages, has 85 spaces from 1902-1940. Coverage is 63%.

Big Blue provides overall good coverage for these (still)  expensive stamps.

Big Blue characteristically ( and unfortunately here) combines the 1911-12 two stamp issue ( 1/2p, 1p) George VI, which has six major variations for each stamp ( Original,Type I & II, Re-engraved, Three different Watermarks), into one space. ;-)  I would at least separate out the original and re-engraved stamps. BTW, BB looks like it is illustrating the original engraved versions, but I included all the choices on the checklist.

Big Blue  includes a couple of the 1902-11 Edward VII higher denomination large format stamps (Scott 139 and 140) for a very un- Big Blue price of  CV $150 and $225 respectively. The 1902-11 Scott 140 5sh carmine rose ($225) stamp actually ties for the highest price with the 1883-84 Scott 105 6p green  for Great Britain's most expensive stamps.

There are 24 stamps given a space with a CV >$10, and eight stamps join the "Most Expensive" list ($35 threshold).

The  1912-13 and the 1924 George V issue, which have different watermarks, are characteristically given one space in BB.

Most Expensive Stamps ($35 threshold):
1902-11 Scott 133 4p gray brown & green ($35)
1902-11 Scott 136 9p ultra & dull violet ($70) 
1902-11 Scott 137 10p carmine & dull purple ($70)
1902-11 Scott 138 1sh carmine & dull green ($40)
1902-11 Scott 139 2sh 6p lilac ($150)
1902-11 Scott 140 5sh carmine rose ($225)
1919 Scott 179 2sh 6p olive brown ($75)
1925 Scott 204 1 1/2p brown ($45 mint)

Simple Checklist
127, 143 or 146, 128 or 147, 131 or 148, 135, 129 , 130, 132 or 149,
133, 144 or 150, 134, 145, 136, 137, 138,

1/2 p yellow green: 151 or 151d or 153 or 155 or 157 or 158A
1p carmine: 152 or 152g or 154 or 156or 158 or 158B


1912-13 (Actually 1912-24 here)
159 or 187, 160 or 188,

161 or 189, 162/162a or 190, 163 or 191, 164 or 192, 165 or 193, 166 or 194, 167 or 195,
168, 169, 170 or 198, 171 or 199, 172 or 200, 173 or 179,

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A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold) include:
1902-11 Scott 135 6p pale dull violet ($20+)
1902-11 Scott 129 1 1/2p violet & green ($20+)
1902-11 Scott 130 2p yellow green & carmine ($20+)
1911 Scott 149 3p violet/yellow ($10+)
1902-11 Scott 133 4p gray brown & green ($35)
1909-10 Scott 144 4p pale orange ($10+)
1902-11 Scott 134 5p dull purple & ultra ($20+)
1909-10 Scott 145 7p gray ($20+)
1902-11 Scott 136 9p ultra & dull violet ($70)
1902-11 Scott 137 10p carmine & dull purple ($70)
1902-11 Scott 138 1sh carmine & dull green ($40)
1902-11 Scott 139 2sh 6p lilac ($150)
1902-11 Scott 140 5sh carmine rose ($225)
1913 Scott 168 7p olive green ($10+)
1913 Scott 169 8p black/yellow ($10+)
1913 Scott 171 10p light blue ($20+)
1919 Scott 179 2sh 6p olive brown ($75)
1924 Scott 185 1p vermilion ($10+)
1924 Scott 186 1 1/2p dark brown ($10+)
1925 Scott 203 1p vermilion ($10+ mint)
1925 Scott 204 1 1/2p brown ($45 mint)
1929 Scott 208 2 1/2p deep blue ($10+)
1934-25 Scott 219 10p Prussian blue ($10+)
1939 Scott 251 10sh indigo ($20+)

B) Note: Look for Somerset House and Harrison (different color shades) and Harrison (different perforations) among your collection of Edward VII.

1942 Scott 251A 10sh ultramarine  wmk 259 "King George VI"
Out of the Blue
The 1902-11 Edward VII and the 1911-12 George V issues I found absolutely fascinating. I must be a specialist at heart. ;-)

Comments? I would like to see some comments!


  1. I greatly appreciate your blog, and have been following it for some time now. This is my first comment, and is not especially significant, but I will note that the GB stamps included in Big Blue from 1870 onwards are identical to those in my old 1935 Scott International Junior Album up to the cutoff point. As for myself, I especially like early GB and so have added mounts to provide spaces for #1-4 on the first line of the first GB page in my thick paper version of BB, and well as a extra page for other early stamps, plus examples of different cancellations on line-engraved stamps. I’ve also cheated a bit and put a nice lightly cancelled 1934 2/6d seahorse in the 1919 spot. Keep up the good work!

    Best Regards,


  2. InforaPenny

    Great stuff!...And thanks for the good words. :-)

    I too like early GB. If I had time (which I don't of course ;-) I would even consider plating the penny reds.

    I remember recently reading a thread on stampboards.com (In defense of the WW collector), where you posted your very well thought out approach to WW collecting. I was impressed.

    Please post again!


  3. "A) A 1911 postmark is helpful: After Jan-1-'11 for Harrison, and July 1-'11 for Somerset house."

    Couldn't that stamp, after all, be from any one of the three printers since a stamp used from 1911 onward might have been purchased earlier? Wouldn't a more convincing dividing line be all postmarks dated 1910 or earlier -- which would prove a stamp a DeLaRue printing? Not to nitpick . . . but to nitpick. Great articles on GB, by the way, and I'm enjoying them.

  4. "A 1911 postmark is helpful: After Jan-1-'11 for Harrison, and July 1-'11 for Somerset house."

    Hi Drew, glad you like the GB posts. :-)

    A 1910 postmark or earlier would clearly indicate a DeLaRue printing, as you pointed out.

    An '11 postmark is "helpful", but certainly not definitive for a Harrison or Somerset House printing.

    "Helpful" in the sense that if one has an '11 postmark, then checking the stamp for perforations (Harrison), or color (Somerset House) is a good idea.

    I was delighted how often a postmark is "helpful" for these stamps as many of them do have readable year postmarks.


  5. A problem, perhaps you can help with. I'm sorting some older GB stamps and have run across a George VI (Scott style A101). The old color guide I have indicates bright claret or perhaps brown purple. The stamp is of the 2 pence variety, and I have others of those in orange. I hope you can steer me to the correct scott number. Thanks.

  6. Can you help point me to the correct Scott # for a George VI 2 Pence in a brownish color. the others I have are orange. I can only find reference to orange in the catalogue, and none of you wonderful photos have this color. Thank you.

  7. Hi Ed.

    There is a 1950-51 Scott 283 2 pence in a light red brown color. Is that the one?

  8. Very well put together the British Empire has a very good showing to a very well deserving audience . Bravo.

  9. I am a long time US collector who is just now turning to GB stamps. I prefer used to mint and have an older Scott speciality album covering 1840-1973. The GB stamps are driving me crazy with the SB and the Scott #s. Question - Is color the only difference in the Scott 185/6 & 203/4? I have ordered a SG color chart - will that help?? Thank You.

    1. Hi Milt

      Scott 185/186 are inscribed "1924", while Scott 203/204 are inscribed "1925", so there should be little confusion.

      I would agree if you are collecting GB (or British Colony) stamps, and using the Stanley Gibbons catalogue, then obtaining the SG color chart is a good idea. Why? Because the color descriptions do little good without an example ( and even then, it is sometimes difficult), and SG tends to ascribe more importance in their catalogue to fairly minor color differences. In other words, Stanley Gibbons tends to give color differences (some fairly subtle) for the same basic stamp a major number in their catalogue, while Scott more sensibly (in my view) will often give color differences a minor number.

      So by all means obtain a SG color chart.

      Good luck and have fun!

  10. There was as much stress on a classical education as anything else, with recent schoolboys doing their best to administer vast areas with the wisdom of a good Roman governor. Nor was there quite the steady downfall you depict. The Empire got bigger after the map of 1898, with a spectacular effect on the map of Africa especially after the First World War.

    When you made your quotation, who were you quoting ? It's always a good idea to make that clear.

  11. My "Quick History" is just that- a "Quick History" without the nuances. ;-)