Into the Deep Blue
The Scott catalogue has, for the USA 1851-57 1c blue "Franklin", eight major numbers and lavish illustrations of each one - all due to some engraving changes around the frame. Very nice.
Yet, the major catalogues (Scott, Stanley Gibbons, Michel) essentially ignore the four much more extensive engraving changes for each stamp value found for Egypt's Second Issue. (True, they do mention in passing, using a small font, that there are "four" types.)
As a result, most philatelists and dealers aren't even aware of the four "types" for each value (six stamps- 24 in total!) for this fascinating issue. You see, the lithographic designer engraved the design separately on four stones (creating many differences), combined them into a block of four, and repeated the block of four to make a 200 stamp sheet. Consequently, every block of four stamps will have four "types". Perhaps there is lack of attention because each "type" should be equally common or rare, as the case may be?
Be that as it may, one has to look long and hard to find information about the four types. I did track down two sources.
I picked up the now out-of-print so called "bible" of Egyptian Philately, "Egypt: Stamps and Postal History". It is authored by Peter A.S. Smith, an American, who was very much involved with The Egypt Study Circle.
Within this 874 page tome, and at the end of "The Second Issue" chapter, is a four page appendix which gives "a few of the characteristic features of each type", as well as black & white pics of the stamp types. While certainly most helpful (and appreciated!), one has to remember this "types characteristics list" was produced in an era when a magnifying glass rather than a detailed stamp scan was the order of the day. So therefore my description of the types will be based on this venerable list, but I will expand the description with additional findings.
The second source was based on a hunch: I asked for help from the author of the website, Classic Stamp Forgeries. Ron was most generous, and, although he himself has not yet put together a blog post on this topic, he sent me what a had: a lot! Included was the "characteristic types list" , also found in Smith's book, a number of scans of forgeries, and most helpful, scans in color of the four types for each value.
With the two sources, I am able to "type" the stamps I have with confidence, and share with the reader the findings. !!
Now, I will not say much more by way of introduction about the 1867 issue, as I have already published a post about it. Here it is.
I plan is to show a stamp denomination from the 1867 issue if I have all four types for the stamp. I will be using detailed scans ( @1200). The up-close scans of the whole stamp and parts of the stamp should make it relatively easy to discern the four types.
And, to begin, I have all four types of the 5 Para orange available for this post.
Type 1 and Comparisons
The stamp design shows a view of the sphinx and pyramid, flanked on the left by a Corinthian column (sometimes called "Pompey's Pillar"), with a pedestal on the bottom and the capital on top. And flanked on the right, is a pharaonic obelisk (sometimes called Cleopatra's Needle): I also call it a "tower", !
The place on the stamp to look for type changes? Everywhere! - the relative position of the Sphinx and Pyramid within the oval, the shape and position of the letters and numerals in the upper and lower corner tablets, the shape and position of the Arabic script in the upper and lower panels, and the markings on the column and obelisk. We will pick our favorites. !!