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 by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

A look at Fournier Forgeries for the Egypt 1867, 1872 & 1874-75 Issues

Fournier Forgery
Imitating 1872 Scott 20 10pa lilac
"Sphinx and Pyramid"

Into the Deep Blue

I recently acquired "Page 8 - Egypt" of the Fournier album, where Fournier's forgery wares were exhibited.

Egypt Fournier Forgeries
From Page 8 of "Fournier Album" -only 1/2 of the page illustrated

As I have just completed a series of blog posts on these very issues, this should be a good time to show some forgeries. The forgeries shown here are no means exhaustive, but Fournier forgeries (whether he did the forgeries himself, or fenced them for other forgers) are relatively common, and I have one 1867 issue Torres forgery to show as well.

The format will be relatively simple for the genuine/forgery stamps I have for these issues. I will illustrate a genuine, and then a forgery. We will then compare/contrast to get a better idea of the differences. We will begin with the 1872 issue.

1872 Scott 19a 5pa brown
Perf 13 1/2 clean cut

There are actually two designs (Scott A9 & A10) for the 5pa brown. I'm showing the 1872 (A9) version, as the 1875 design (A10) is the one with the upside-down "5's", as the lateral side panel dies were clamped in inverted compared to the center "Sphinx and Pyramid" die. More about this can be found at What are the differences between the 1872 and 1874-75 stamps for Egypt? post. The Fournier forgery (below) follows the 1872 A9 design.

Egypt 1872 A9 5pa brown Fournier Forgery
Perf 12 1/2

O.K., what are the differences between the 5pa genuine and Fournier forgery?

The color of the 5pa forgery is a sharp "red-brown-red", while the colors of the 1872-75 genuine printings are dull chestnut to dull red brown (shades) to deep red brown. Compare. There is a sharp difference.

The eyes are more bead shaped in the forgery, rather than horizontally elongated as in the genuine.

1) The forgery cancel for this forgery (matrixed small squares or diamonds (grid)) is not found as a cancel on the Egypt genuines.

2) The color of the forgery paper is quite white, while the genuines are cream opaque.

3) The perf for the forgery is 12 1/2 (All of the Fournier forgeries for this issue are 12 1/2), while the genuine has a number of Perf combinations. True, the 1874-75 genuine printings do have a Perf 12 1/2, with rough perforations, and blurred impressions on thinner paper: this genuine Perf will need to be distinguished from the Forgery perf.

4) No "Crescent and Star" watermark (Wmk 119) found on the forgeries.

1872 Scott 20 10pa lilac
Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/3

The 1872-75 10pa genuine printings come in dull violet to reddish violet; pale slate to deep slate.

Fournier Forgery
Imitating 1872 Scott 20 10pa lilac

The 10pa Fournier forgery is in a deep purple color: not seen with the genuines.

In addition (along with Differences 1-4 listed above)...

5) In the forgery, the Sphinx looks worried, and the eyes gaze off to the left. The genuine can have the eyes looking to the left also, but just looking, and not so worried. ;-)

6) 25 discrete horizontal lines on the left of the sphinx in the oval. (above the neck of the Sphinx), is noted with the genuine, while the forgery has 24 lines.

7) For the right ear of the sphinx, the inside stroke line is vertical for the forgery; slanted to the right in the genuine. 

1872 Scott 21 20pa blue
Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/3

The color of the genuine 20pa range from Prussian Blue to Slate-blue to grey-blue and (Rare-azure (light sky blue)).

Egypt 1872 20pa blue Fournier Forgeries

The color of the forgery is deep blue, unlike any genuine color.

The 2's in "20" in the four corners are thinner and elongated compared to the genuine.

In addition, (besides 1-7 above)...

8) The four corner 5-point stars have a different shape in the forgery compared to the genuine.

1872 Scott 22 1pi rose red
Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/3

The colors of the 1872-75 genuines range from rose red to deep rose red; scarlet to vermilion. 

Egypt 1872 1pi rose red Fournier Forgery

The forgery is red, plain and simple.

The genuine 1's in the corners are fatter in the genuines compared to the forgery.

In addition, (besides 1-8 above)...

9) The curly-cue arabesque background in the four corners around the crescents and stars (outside the oval) are different between the genuine and the forgery.

10) Also, the right cheek of the forgery sphinx has a longer diagonal stroke line compared to the genuine.

1872 Scott 25 5pi green
Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/3

The colors of the genuine 5pi range from green to bright green to yellow green.

Egypt 1872 5pi green Fournier Forgery

The 5pi Fournier forgery has a iridescent yellowish green color. Although different than the genuines, I think one will have to also look for other signs that it is a Fournier forgery.

In addition, (besides 1-10 above)..

11) The alphabet printing in the lower horizontal panel is thinner in the forgery compared to the genuine.

12) The Arabic script in the left vertical panel is thinner in the forgery.

1872-75 5pi genuine/ Fournier forgery
Upper Arabic Inscription Panel

13) Looking at the upper Arabic inscription panel, the two characters on the left: look like a bird flying and a fish hook on the Fournier forgery. These characters are much different with the genuine.

Summary: The 1872-75 Egypt Fournier forgery (presumedly lithographic) is rather good, and could fool an observer, unless one has a genuine to compare. In fact, in some detail, the Fournier is more prominent ( the curly-cue arabesque background). It appears that the forgery is from one Die, except, of course, for the different numerals. Nevertheless, there are occasional differences in the forgery (plate wear?).

I should mention that, besides the differences pointed out here, I'm sure the reader can find more.

But, to remind, the major differences include a different color, a constant 12 1/2 perf, and no watermark. 

1867 Scott 14 2pi blue, Type 2
Perf 15 X 12 1/2

Getting back to the 1867 issue, here is a 2pi blue genuine.

Torres Forgery
Imitating 1867 Scott 14 2pi blue

The sphinx face on the Torres forgery looks much different, especially the eyes and mouth.

1867 Scott 15 5pi brown, Type 2
Perf 15 X 12 1/2

Shown here is a 5pi brown genuine for the 1867 issue.

Egypt 1867 5pi brown Fournier Forgery

The color of the 5pi Fournier forgery is red brown, different than the genuines. It is also imperforate, and might be a proof. The 5's on either side are smaller and lean backwards. The lower horizontal panel Arabic script is not the same between the 5pi forgery and genuine.

Egypt Scott 13 1pi, Type 1

Interestingly, the 1867 1pi lower panel inscription resembles the 5pi Fournier forgery from left through center, but not the character center-right.

To cap it off, the sphynx head has been differences between the genuine and the Fournier forgery. See if you can spot them.

Out of the Blue

I hope you enjoyed this little excursion into Egypt's 1867 & 1872-75 forgeries. 

Comments appreciated!

1872 5pi upper Arabic inscription close-up
Fournier forgery

Monday, May 2, 2022

Northern Nigeria - Bud's Big Blue

Frederick D. Lugard,
organizer of Northern Nigeria Postal Service
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

(The changing 19th and early 20th century colonial boundaries for Nigeria are discussed here, here, here, and here. )

Northern Nigerian stamps (1900-1912) are boring unless you like key plates with British crowned heads as vignettes.

However, Northern Nigeria does offer an intriguing case study of how postal service gets started in a colony where none exists, or almost none, for the Royal Niger Company, the predecessor of Northern Nigeria, did operate a few post offices prior to 1900.

Typical Royal Niger Company hand stamp

The story is best told through the annual reports of the Northern Nigeria High Commissioner, F. D. Lugard (1). What follows is a series of excerpts from his annual reports from 1901 to 1915.

From the report of F. D. Lugard, High Commissioner, 1901

Arriving at the end of December, 1899, I took over the administration from the Royal Niger Company, and the Union Flag was hoisted in place of the Company's, at 7.20 a.m,, at Lokoja, on January 1st, 1900, in presence of a parade of all arms, at which all civilians were present in uniform. …

I regret to say that owing to the continual illness while in Nigeria, and subsequent resignation, of Mr. Adye, the difficulty of procuring any trained Postal Clerks and other causes, I found this Department, on my return, at the close of 1901, in a somewhat chaotic state. Statistics, furnished by the Acting Postmaster, of the number of letters, parcels, &c, received and sent are as follows; they are possibly inaccurate. The Department needs, and will receive, thorough re-organisation. There are two regular Offices, viz., Jebba and Lokoja. Letters received 315,480; letters sent 31,196; parcels received 1,440; parcels sent 641.

Scott # 7 green and black

 From the report of F. D. Lugard, High Commissioner, 1902  

The great increase in [postal] revenue (£783 in excess of the estimate) was due chiefly to the large orders for stamps given by collectors, which will probably not be maintained. The cost of the postal service of course has been very greatly increased during 1902 by the inclusion of the new and distant Provinces. I have recently drawn up full postal regulations, with the assistance of Mr, Somerville, and planned as effective a scheme of postal delivery as is possible with the means at command. The General Post Office is at Lokoja, with a branch at Zungeru. The headquarters station of each Province is a sub-postal station, and the Resident is the Postal Officer.

The nitty-gritty of Lugard’s postal organization and regulations appears in a document titled Order in Council and Proclamations … Protectorate of Northern Nigeria … October, 1904. (2)

Scott #12 violet and orange, cancel 22 July 1909 at Lokoja,
on the Niger and Benue rivers, where Lugard “took over”

From the Commissioner’s report of, 1909. [Lugard left Northern Nigeria in 1906 to become the Governor of Hong Kong, in part because his wife found Nigeria’s climate inclement.

A satisfactory increase is shown in all branches of the department. The total number of articles dealt with in 1908 was 450,380, as compared with 413,290 in 1907. The revenue collected during the year under review amounted to £7,296—an increase of 25 per cent, over the revenue collected in 1907.

Scott #28 green, Minna cancel 16 September 1912,
today a rather peaceful city

From the report of F. D. Lugard, Governor General, 1912. [Lugard returned to Nigeria in 1912 to oversee the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria].

At the date of their institution the postal and telegraph services were almost entirely employed for official purposes. During recent years the services performed for the general public have increased at a rate commensurate with the development of the economic resources of the Protectorate. The deficit between expenditure and revenue of the postal and telegraph services is therefore annually being reduced. The total revenue actually collected during the year [1912] amounted to £10,536, and the value of the work performed free for the Administration is estimated at £11,870. For the first time it can be recorded that the number of postal packages dealt with during the year exceeded one million, an increase of 39.8 per cent, over the number for the preceding year. The mail services have been improved. Formerly all mails received from or dispatched to. the United Kingdom or the Coast Colonies were sorted and bagged at Zungeru or Lokoja, but during the year under review direct mails have been instituted between the United Kingdom and the Coast Colonies on the one hand, and Zungeru, Minna, Lokoja, Zaria, Kano, Jemaa, Ilorin, and Naraguta on the other. Mails are now received at Zungeru and Kano within 18 and 20 days, respectively, of the date of their dispatch from Liverpool. Before acceleration had been made possible by the extension of the railway system these mails took 28 and 49 days, respectively, to arrive at their destination.

Scott #31 ultra, Maiduguri cancel 7 July 1917, three years after amalgamation,
today a city terrorized by Boca Harem 

From the colonial report of F. D. Lugard, Governor General, 1913 

The total revenue collected during 1913 was £15,517, being an increase of 50 per cent, over the revenue for 1912. The value of services performed free for the Administration is estimated at £10,513, or an increase of £243 on the figure for 1912. This increase is small, on account of improvements in the railway service, which have enabled the post to be used where formerly the telegraph was necessary.

From the colonial report of F. D. Lugard, Governor General, 1915  

The shortage of £8,597 in postal and telegraph revenue has been caused, for the most part, by a striking shrinkage in the amount spent by stamp dealers in 1915 in the purchase of stamps from Nigeria.  

For his efforts as a colonial administrator, Lugard was raise to peerage as 1st Baron Lugard of Abinger. In retirement, he wrote a book titled The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa, 1922 (3), the two mandates being “to open Africa to the civilized world and at the same time open the African mind to civilization.” He regarded postal and telegraphic services as essential for both mandates.

Widely acclaimed in his day, Lugard’s views have been severely criticized if not wholly rejected in recent years. Citing Lugard’s brutality, a Nigerian professor recently observed “no matter how wide the gate of heaven is Frederick Lugard will never get there.” (4)

Baron Lugard of Abinger

Census: 19 in BB spaces, eight on supplement page.

1) All quotations are taken from the “Annual Report of the Colonies, Northern Nigeria” for the years indicated. These are available online and found by searching the words in quotation plus the year of the report.

2) The actual postal regulations developed by Lugard can be accessed at the following web address, then using the provided search function for “postal”: https://www.google.com/books/edition/Orders_in_Council_and_Proclamations/9VgSAAAAYAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=inauthor:%22Nigeria,+Northern.+Compilations%22&printsec=frontcover

3) https://ia600205.us.archive.org/8/items/cu31924028741175/cu31924028741175.pdf

4) https://www.vanguardngr.com/2020/03/lord-lugard-will-never-make-heaven-prof-darah/

Jim's Observations

Northern Nigeria was more isolated, less developed, and mostly Muslim. Southern Nigeria had more economic development, with a large Christian missionary influence. So they were larger differences between the protectorates than their similar names and proximity would suggest.

In fact, in modern Nigeria, those differences persist, and continue to cause internal tension within the country.

Northern Nigeria had stamp issues between 1900-1912. In 1914, their stamp production ceased when they were united with Southern Nigeria and Lagos colony to form the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria.


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Supplements
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Comments appreciated!

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Egypt 1872 & 1874-75 Issues: 2pi, 2 1/2pi, & 5pi Differences?

1872 Scott 25 5pi green "Sphinx and Pyramid"
Clear Impressions, Thick Opaque Paper
Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/3 Clean Cut 

Into the Deep Blue

The higher denominations (2pi, 2 1/2pi, 5pi) for the 1872 & 1874-75 printings pose their own identification challenges. But unlike the preceding post in this series ( 20pa, 1pi), there are no lithographic stamps to consider; They are all typographic.

Alas, the color differences between printings for the 2pi, 2 1.2pi & 5pi, although there are indeed some, are not enough for absolute identification. Therefore, one may need to lean on careful perforation measurement as a primary tool for identifying the printings. 

For the 1872 printing, all three values considered here come as Perf 13 1/3 clean cut, and are not found in this perf combination for the 1874-75 printings. For the 1874-75 printing, all three values considered here come as Perf 12 1/2 rough, and are not found in this Perf for the 1872 printing. In addition, the 1874-75 printing has a Perf 13 1/3 X 12 1/2 rough for the 2pi value which is exclusive to the printing.

Then there is the general differences between 1872 and 1874-75 printings which are helpful (Clear impressions vs blurred impressions; Thick Opaque paper vs Thinner paper; Clean cut perfs vs rough cut perfs).

Unfortunately, the common 12 1/2 X 13 1/3 Perf is found for all three values considered here in both the 1872 & 1874-75 printings. That, clearly, will make it more difficult to identify these Perf stamps. (Perhaps "clean cut" vs "rough" perfs might help: not so much - see comments further below.)

Fortunately, Peter A.S. Smith (Egypt: Stamps and Postal History: A Philatelic Treatise, 1999) points out some constant changes seen in the plates between the 1872 & 1874-75 printings that will be most helpful indeed.

Lets begin, but if you haven't already read the preceding blog posts in this series, you should do so now, as much valuable information resides there.


1872 Scott 23 2pi dull yellow
Clear impressions; Thick Opaque Paper
Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/3 Clean-cut
Color: Yellow 
This is Scott 23 (this example and the next one) with unique perfs for the 1872 printing. CV is $15/$100.

Before we talk about more important variables between the 1872 & 1874 printings, let's look at color. 
Scott has "dull yellow" for the 1872 printings; "yellow" for the 1874 printings: SG has "chrome yellow for the 1872 printings, and "yellow" for the 1874 printings: Michel has "chrome yellow" for the 1872 printings; "yellow" for the 1875 and later printings. (Interestingly, Michel says November, 1875 for "yellow" for the later printing, but Smith states the earliest postmark for the later issue was December 2, 1874. Is Michel wrong, or was there a subtle color switch a year into the later printing?)

Smith states the colors for the 1872 issue are "yellow", and, for the 1874 issue, "yellow to chrome yellow". I trust Smith's evaluation the most. For myself, I don't see much color differences between the 1872 & 1874 printings, other than some stamps are a bit orange-yellow, which might be die to oxidation of the color. Unfortunately, I don't think color evaluation will be helpful in parsing out the 1872 & 1974 printings. 

1872 Scott 23 2pi dull yellow, Example 2
Clear impressions; Thick Opaque Paper
Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/3 Clean-cut
Color: Yellow 

I also think we will need to rely heavily on Perf measurements for the 2pi yellow stamps. 

Why? For myself ( and I think for others), a "yellow" stamp is hard to evaluate for "clear" or "blurred" impressions. The state of the stamp does not pop out, due to the yellow color. 

Also the "clear-cut" vs "rough" state of the Perfs do not show as much difference for the higher values (2pi, 2/12pi, 5pi) as the lower values. Many of the perfs for the 1874 printing actually look rather "clean-cut". Perhaps they took more care cutting the perfs for the higher values? Also, Smith states "Distinction on the basis of clean-cut vs rough perforations are not reliable for the three higher values".

The 1872 printing for the 2pi was 360,000 stamps (1800 sheets), and for the 1874 printing, 800,000 stamps (4000 sheets). What was the 2pi stamp used for? According to Smith: "The 2pi stamps were used  to frank double-weight letters or single weight letters traveling between Egypt and the Consular offices. They were also needed to pay the registration fee on internal letters until April 1st, 1878".

1872 Scott 23a 2pi dull yellow
Clear Impression, Thick Opaque Paper
Perf 13 1/3 clean cut (Unique to 1872 Issue)
Color: yellow

This Scott 23a (and the next example below) are Perf 13 1/3, which is unique to the 1872 printing. CV is $4.50/$20.

Despite the yellow color, it is obvious that this stamp has a very clear impression. The quite early postmark would argue that too, in addition to confirming this is a 1872 issue (provided the postmark is not fake - although why would one ruin a more valuable unused to make a used?  ;-).

1872 Scott 23a 2pi dull yellow, Example 2
Clear Impression, Thick Opaque Paper
Perf 13 1/3 clean cut (Unique to 1872 Issue)
Color: yellow

I have been holding back one of the most important ways to separate out the 1872 & 1874 printings until now. :-)

It turns out there are some Die characteristics that are markers respectively for the 1872 & 1874 printings.

1874 Scott 23b 2pi yellow
Blurred impressions, Thinner paper
Perf 12 1/2 rough (Unique for 1874 printing)
Color: yellow to chrome yellow (shades)

The 1874 Scott 23b (This example and the next one below) has Perf 12 1/2, which is unique for the 1874 printing. There is some roughness to the perfs in this example. CV is $5.75/$90.

Recall that the earliest postmark for the 1874 2pi found so far is December 2, 1874. That means if you have an earlier  postmark on a 2pi, the stamp should be a 1872 printing.

Now, what is the Die difference between the 1872 & 1874 printing?

Top/Bottom: 1872 Scott 23/ 1874 Scott 23b
Example One

For the 1872 printing, The left hand Arabic character (next to the "2") in the top inscription is one complete shape, resembling an inverted "V" with a horizontal line on top. For the 1874 printing, the character is three separate components, consisting of a line and two dots below. (I am going to show you plenty of examples, so it should become clear, if it isn't for you at the moment.)

1874 Scott 23b 2pi yellow, Example 2
Blurred impressions, Thinner paper
Perf 12 1/2 rough (Unique for 1874 printing)
Color: yellow to chrome yellow (shades)

How did the Die change happen? Smith states: "The die for the 2pi apparently underwent a small touchup before the stereos were cast. At the left end of the top panel, the last Arabic letter should have a pair of dots below the horizontal stroke, but on the 1872 stamps there is instead a clearly defined inverted V. This was corrected on the die."

Top/Bottom: 1872 Scott 23/ 1874 Scott 23b
Example Two

This comparison should be easier to see, as there is no postmark ink obscuring the difference.  Note the horizontal stroke with an attached inverted "V" below for the 1872 printing, while the 1874 printing has a fat horizontal stroke with two separate dots below?

1874 Scott 23c 2pi yellow, 
Blurred impressions, Thinner paper
Perf 13 1/3 X 12 1/2 rough (Unique for 1874 printing)
Color: yellow to chrome yellow (shades)

The Scott 23c (This example and next one below) has a unique 13 1/3 X 12 1/2 Perf, which should help to place the printing. The perfs do appear a bit rough along the lower horizontal edge.  CV is $6.25/$10.

Top/Bottom: 1872 Scott 23a/ 1874 Scott 23c
Example One

Another comparison. Hopefully, you are spotting the differences now.

1874 Scott 23c 2pi yellow, Example 2
Blurred impressions, Thinner paper
Perf 13 1/3 X 12 1/2 rough (Unique for 1874 printing)
Color: yellow to chrome yellow (shades)

OK, let's re-capitulate the major differences for the 2pi 1872 & 1874 printings.

1) Careful Perf measurements are important, because Perf 13 1/3 is unique for the 1872 printing, while Perf 12 1/2  and Perf  13 1/3 X 12 1/2 are unique for the 1874 printings. However, Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/3 are found for both the 1872 & 1874 printings with the 2pi, 2 1/2pi & 5pi values. The 1875 Scott 23d 2pi yellow (CV $17/$80) and the 1872 Scott 23 (CV $15/$100) have the same perfs. (Note: I don't have a copy of Scott 23d.)

2) Look for the 2pi Die difference between the 1872 & 1874-75 printings. There is another comparison below, if you need more work on this. This is the "secret" that you have learned by reading this blog post. ;-) Why not use it?

3) The other features that distinguish the 1872 & 1874 printings are of variable help with the 2pi yellow stamp (Clear vs Blurred; Thick Opaque paper vs Thinner; Clean cut perfs vs Rough perfs). These can certainly assist to confirm the correct printing.

Top/Bottom: 1872 Scott 23a/ 1874 Scott 23c
Example Two

Last 2pi Die comparison example: I think of the 1872 Arabic character as looking like "Running Man", while the 1874 Arabic character is obvious with the two lower dots. What is good is, if you are buying this stamp and it is illustrated, you should be able to determine the printing before purchase.

1872 Scott 24 2 1/2pi dull violet
Clear impressions, Thick Opaque paper
Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/3 clean cut
Color: slate violet (pale to deep)

The 2 1/2pi has its own challenges in determining the difference between the 1872 printing and the 1874 printing.

Color is a bit too close between the printings to be helpful. Scott has "dull violet" for the 1872 printings, and "deep violet" for the 1874 printings. SG has "violet" for all the printings. Michel has "dark violet" for the 1972 printings; "dark violet to gray violet (Nov, 1875) for the 1874 printing. Note the first postmark for the 1874 printing was November 15, 1874. (A stamp with a postmark prior should be a 1872 printing.)

Smith has "slate violet (pale to deep) for the 1872 issue; "slate violet" for the 1874 issue (a rare "reddish-slate violet" color can be found, most frequently on the 1878-79 provisionals).

Quantity of stamps issued for the 2 1/2pi are 20,000 for the 1872 printing; 500,000 for the 1874 printing. There was much more for the 1874 printing, as the 2 1/2pi could then be used for simple letter mail to Italy, or two 2 1/2pi stamps (5 pi total) for mail to Great Britain.

The Perf here (for the stamp above) is 12 1/2 X 13 1/3. This can be found for the 1872 printing (Scott 24 CV $25/$95) or the 1874 printing (Scott 24d CV(1875) CV $20/$80).  The perf for 1872 is "clear cut", and the perf for 1874 is "rough", but that is not always reliable, according to Smith. The stamp above does have decent perfs on three sides, with not great perfs on the right side. 

But here is, fortunately, another marker to evaluate.

1872 Close-up Scott 24 2 1/2pi
Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/3

Smith states: "for the 1874 printing, the 2 1/2pi was not touched up, but it suffered minor damage to the shading of the left face of the pyramid at about the level of the eye.  The fact that this feature does not show up on any of the other values which shared the same center Die implies that the plate for the 2 1/2pi was the last to be made." 

As you will see in a bit when I show some 1874 printings, this 1874 change shows the left eye ink of the Sphinx smearing over into the left side. This stamp close-up (above) does not show the sign, so this is probably a 1872 printing.

I should mention that there are 1872 13 1/3 perfs, but they are extremely rare for the 2 1/2pi stamp. CV is $800 unused. Smith states " 2 1/2pi Perf 13 1/3 is a major rarity and is the rarest Egyptian stamp that is not an error or variety". He also states that he has never seen a genuine "used" for this, although catalogues do value "used" @ $225. 

1872 Scott 24 or 1874 Scott 24b?
Perf 12 1/2 

Now this stamp poses a question.

It has most of the characteristics of a 1872 printing, except it has Perf 12 1/2. This perf is ordinarily found with the 1874 printings as Perf 12 1/2 "rough" (Scott 24b CV $6.25/$9.25).  The 1872 Scott 24 is CV $25/$95. 

Close-up 1872 Scott 24 or 1874 Scott 24b?
Perf 12 1/2 

The close-up shows no significant smearing of the eye ink toward the left side. Is this a 1872 printing? For the Perf 1 2/12 (ordinarily seen with 1874 printings), Smith states, for the 1872 printings, "As an exception, stamps are sometimes found with other combinations of gauge such as 12 1/2 X 12 1/2 X 12 1/2 X 13 1/3".

So, is this a 1872 or 1874 printing? It could be a 1872 printing, based on the fact that Perf 12 1/2 exists (although rare). But, perhaps this "smeared eye" sign for 1874 stamps is not universal, and this stamp is in fact a 1874 stamp.

1874 Scott 24d 2 1/2pi deep violet 
Blurred impressions; Thinner paper
Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/3 rough
Color: Slate violet

Here is a rough perf, blurred impression Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/3 stamp. Should be Scott 24d (CV $20/$80).

Close-up 1874 Scott 24d 2 1/2pi 
Note Left eye ink smears over to the left

I think this stamp shows the "left eye smeared" marker for the 1874 printing, to say nothing about the overall blurred impression.

1874 Scott 24d 2 1/2pi deep violet, Example 2 
Blurred impressions; Thinner paper
Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/3 rough
Color: Slate violet

Here is another example of what appears to be 1874 Scott 24d, although admittedly, the perfs do not meet the "rough" criteria. 

Close-up 1874 Scott 24d 2 1/2pi, Example 2 
Note Left eye ink smears over to the left

This shows the "Left eye ink smear" sign. Example 2 is not as blurred overall as Example 1. 

Overall, the evaluation of 2 1/2pi stamps for 1872 vs 1874 printings is not as satisfying as the 1pi stamps.

If one has a 12 1'2  perf, it has a large probability of being a 1874 stamp. (But I showed an example where it could be a 1872 stamp, based on other criteria.)

One will probably not encounter a Perf 13 1/3 2 1/2pi 1872 stamp, as they are rare.

The Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/3 stamps are found in both 1872 and 1874 printings. One will then need to double check other criteria listed below.

1) Is the image clear or blurred? (Judgement call in some cases.) I should mention that an "oily appearance" almost always means a 1874 printing.

2) Are the perfs clean-cut or rough? (Again, judgement call, and not all that reliable, according to Smith.)

3) Color? - not that helpful.

4) "left smeared eye" sign for 1874 printings - very helpful, but I wonder if this sign is universal for 1874 printings?

1879 Scott 29 5pa on 2 1/2pi dull violet
Perf 12 11/2 rough

Finally, I will show the provisionals of 1879, which used the 2 1/2pi stamp.

1879 Scott 28 10pa on 2 1/2pi dull violet
Perf 12 1/2 rough
You will note that the color here for the 10pa on 21/2pi is a dark violet, while the  5pa on 2 1/2pi is more of a light dull violet. Recall that there is a "reddish-slate violet" color, that is rare, but found more frequently on the provisionals.

1872 Scott 25 5pi green "Sphinx and Pyramid"
Clear Impressions, Thick Opaque Paper
Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/3 Clean Cut 
Color: Bright green

The colors for the 5pi 1872 & 1874 printings are close enough, that the minor differences are not that helpful. And the catalog colors disagree with each other (Scott vs SG/Michel). Scott has "green" for the 1872 printing; "yellow green" for the 1874 printings. SG has the opposite: "yellow green" for the 1872 printings; "green" for the 1874 printings. Michel follows SG color scheme. 

Smith has "Bright green" for the 1972 printing; "yellow green to bright green" for the 1874 printing.

The earliest first postmark for 5pi 1874 printing is November 2, 1874. (A stamp with a postmark prior should be a 1872 printing.) 

Production for the 1872 printing was 30,000 stamps, and 90,000 stamps for the 1874 printing.

The 1872 Scott 25 (shown above) is CV $35/$325.  The Scott 25a - Perf 13 1/3 ( I don't have) is CV $75/$375.

1874 Scott 25b 5pi yellow green
Blurred  Impressions/Thinner paper
Perf 12 1/2 Rough
Color: yellow green to bright green

The Perf 12 1/2 is unique for the 1874 issue, and Scott 25b (CV $22.50/$65) is usually what people have in their collections for the 1874 issue. Yes, there is the Scott 25d with Perf 12 1/2 X 13 1/3, and can be confused with the 1872 stamp (Scott 25) of the same perf, except the Scott 25d is CV $300/$375, and so fairly rare.

So, besides the usual differences (clear vs blurred impressions, paper, clean cut vs rough perfs), are there other differences?

Yes, there was some slight damage to the 5pi Die in the side panels, and some touch-ups.


Close-up Right Upper
1872 printing top; 1874 printing bottom

The major differences are...

1) For the 1872 printing, there is a white dot above the "P" of PIASTER in the right side panel. This is altered significantly or absent for the 1874 printing.

2) The thin frameline above the upper right numeral "5" is bent downward slightly for the 1874 printing. (Unfortunately, I don't even see the thin frameline in my 1874 example I show here. (plate wearing?))

3) In the 1872 printing, the top frameline is horizontally split ( a colorless gap) along the entire frameline. The 1874 printing shows the frameline filled in (solid).

Close-up Left Upper
1872 printing top; 1874 printing bottom

3-repeat) In the 1872 printing, the top frameline is horizontally split ( a colorless gap) along the entire frameline. The 1874 printing shows the frameline filled in (solid).

4) Left side inscription panel framelines  deformed at top "north-east" junction in 1874 printing (Small spur protruding in upper right corner).  Absent in 1872 printing. 

These changes between the 1872/1874 printings specific to the 5pi are quite helpful in determining which printing one has. And, remember, to carefully check perfs, as that is also very helpful.


Out of the Blue

Well, if you are this far - congratulations!...there was a lot of information here to digest, as well as information in previous posts.

I think the 1872 & 1874 printings are no longer scary. ;-)  

Comments appreciated!