Into the Deep Blue
This blog post will look at the 20 Paras and 1 Piaster denominations for the 1872 and 1875 printings.
These denominations are the only ones within the 1872 issue that were printed both lithographically and with typography. For the collector, the lithographic stamps are rarer (20 Paras: $65-$80 vs $4.75-$22; 1 Piaster: $20-$50 vs $2.25-$4). That means it is much more difficult to find them. And then, when one is on sale, is it in fact a lithographic specimen? (Dealers and collectors are terrible at this: many purported Litho specimens are in fact Typo.) Reality is, if I have a specimen I think is Litho, even with all the knowledge shared in this post, I would need to send for a Cert to feel absolutely comfortable.
But, comparing the more common typographic specimen printings of 1872 and 1875, is there a surprising pearl of advice I can give at the outset that will separate them out nicely?
The typographed 20 Paras for 1872 are Prussian blue, while the 1875 examples are commonly slate-blue to grey-blue.
The typographed 1 Piaster for 1872 is rose red to deep rose red, while the 1875 examples are scarlet to vermilion (shades).
That is enough of a color difference so one can almost always place the stamp into the correct printing based on color alone. (Of course, recommendation is to also check other confirming signs.)
(Now, for color, the 1872 lithographic stamps versus the 1872 typographic stamps is a different kettle of fish ( more color possibilities for lithographic stamps), and we will get to that further along the blog post.)
By the way, the postal authorities did not plan in an intentional way to change the colors of the 1875 printing compared to the colors of the 1872 printing. It just happened to some stamps. The happy result is, for the 10 Paras, 20 Paras, and 1 Piaster stamps, there is enough color drift found within the 1875 printings compared to the original 1872, that this can be used to place the stamp into the correct printing.
Before we get started in detail on the 20 Paras and 1 Piaster differences, if you haven't done so, I recommend reading the prior blog post in this series to get you up to speed.
Peter A.S. Smith (Egypt- Stamps and Postal History- A philatelic History 1999) states that the 20 Paras stamp is the most complicated of the issues. He has a number of pages detailing plate flaws and other details. For instance, there was a Stone A and a Stone B. The bottom frameline is partially split with Stone A, while the frameline was redrawn for Stone B.
I should mention that, for both the 20 Paras and the 1 Piaster, the lithographic stones were made from transfers from the typographic plate. So flaws on the Typos can be matched with their Lithographic counterparts. Consequently, there is basically no difference between a typographic stamp and a lithographic stamp, except for the process itself (The Litho process, and what it does to the stamp vs the Typo process and what it does to the stamp).
Production was 440,000 stamps (2200 sheets) for the 1872 20pa stamps.
The 20pa denomination served no particular postal rate, but often paid fees for postal orders With the formation of the UPU in 1874, it paid the foreign rate for printed matter up to 50g.
The Prussian blue color is so distinctive for the 1872 issue, that there should be little worry in placing these stamps correctly. Once more, the 12 1/2 X 13 1/3 Perf (Scott 21 CV $4.75 used) and the 13 1/3 Perf (Scott 21a CV $22 used) are unique for the 1872 20pa stamps.
The worry is, that one would like to know if the 20pa stamps one has are Typo or Litho..
OK, what I did was raid the APEX site (APS web site), and download (for educational purposes) image scans of the 20pa and 1pi lithographic stamps. I needed Cert examples to make sure I wasn't leading you and I astray. (If I get Cert examples for myself in the future, I will add them to this post.)
Lithographic impressions are described as "flat", as the stones have a smooth surface. The ink is evenly spread. Typographic impression may show a more heavily inked border. (I've done discussions about Litho/Typo differences in the past, so I am not going to get into an extended discussion - read the intro to catalogs for more information.)
Stone B lithographs are evident because of the redrawn (filled in) lower frameline (see above example). Turns out many Litho stamps are Stone B stamps (not all). The lower framelines have uniform thickness, in some cases showing slight extensions at the corners.
Another feature is color: If "Indigo" or "Light or Pale or Milky Blue" (Colors only found with 20pa lithographs), then probably a Litho stamp. Unfortunately, the common color Prussian blue also appears with both Typo and Litho stamps- in fact the majority of Litho stamps are "Prussian blue".
Here is our first 1875 20pa stamp- note the distinctive color difference. - more gray than blue. The Perf is 12 11/2 rough, which is unique to the 1875 printings. The image is definitely blurred also.
Note that the 1875 printing was from new plates from the original dies used for the 1872 issue.
The first date cancellation was Feb 4, 1875. If a postmark is earlier, should be a 1872 printing. (But, if a postmark is later, could be either a 1872 or 1875 printing.) Production was 1,300,000 stamps (6500 sheets). CV for Scott 21b is $4/$105 used/unused.
Note the stamp appearance is sometimes described as "oily". According to Smith, the thinner paper used for the 1874-75 issue may have a bearing on the oily, translucent appearance of a large proportion of the stamps.
Scott 21c has Perf 13 1/3 X 12 1/2, and is unique to the 1875 printings. CV is $3.75/ $11.
Well, the 1872 1pi, if it is a lithographic stamp, can also come in a rose-red to deep rose red color. And, unique to the lithographic stamp, it can also be found in a deep carmine red.
I borrowed some images (for educational purposes) from the APEX site (APS web site), and this shows a carmine red? color 1pi stamp that is lithographed, according to the Cert. It does have a clear impression, and a clear cut 12 1/2 X 13 1/3 Perf, which would make this stamp a Scott 22m (CV $20/$550 used/unused). The upper horizontal panel with the Arabic inscriptions show a hint of the fine scrollwork, but not much. Perhaps this a a later printing? Although this has a Cert, and indeed has a clear central impression, and perhaps the right color (carmine red?), I prefer that a lithographic 1pi stamp also show fine scroll work, just to make sure. ;-)
Well, this lithographic stamp (according to the Cert) does show more of the fine scrollwork in the upper panel. It is labeled as a Scott 22m (as is the stamp before). I think the color is more of a red-rose-red.
Smith states "The ink of the lithographs is slightly glossy compared to the softer texture of the typos". This stamp (to me) does seem a bit glossy.
This is a Lithographic Scott 22n (Perf 13 1/3): CV $50/$875.