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Bought A Huge Collection Of GB Queen Victoria And Have Started Publishing Blog Posts

 
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Valued Member

Canada
85 Posts
Posted 11/25/2022   07:24 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Brixtonchrome to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Good morning to all collectors of GB Penny Reds! I have recently started writing and publishing a series of blog posts on the Queen Victoria issues of Great Britain, which has been made possible by a very large auction purchase that I made last month. I bought approximately 2,700 imperforate penny reds, about the same number of perforated issues, and about 4,000 surface printed stamps. Of course, all of this material will go into my weekly auctions, but I am a philatelic writer first and a stamp dealer second, so I jumped at the opportunity to get my hands on this material, as it meant finally having a quantity sufficient to warrant the purchase of the Stanley Gibbons Queen Victoria specialized catalogue, and the opportunity to write and publish some blog posts on these areas.

Most of you will not recognize me probably because I haven't been active on here in at least four years, probably longer. When my business went into survival mode, I was forced to abandon my writing to focus on building my weekly auction and customer base. But, I'm still here, with a thriving weekly auction and have now finally had the opportunity to return to writing and publishing my blog posts.

So anyways, I got to reading the SG specialized a few weeks ago, and OMG it blew me away. It takes a lot to do that now, but I was just struck at how fascinating this line engraved material is, and how, even after nearly 175 plus years, there are still mysteries to be unlocked about the stamps. So, I started with the imperforate penny reds and offered last week, all the plated stamps that were in the lot. Now, after that sale I wrote and published the first of my posts, which you can read here: https://brixtonchrome.com/blogs/cla...in-1841-1854.

After I published this post, I sorted the remaining penny reds (about 2,100 or so of them) into the corner letter positions and then decided to focus on specific sections of the sheet, updating my initial blog post with additional comments as I went. After a while, I fell into a pattern for each row: I would start with all the nicer VG, F and VF stamps that I had, which had some eye appeal and would list those. Then, for each letter I went about identifying the alphabets 1 and 2. What struck me is that once you have 20 or 30 stamps in front of you, it is relatively easy to spot the difference between the two. So, I decided to make up reference lots for each letter row in each of the two alphabets from the, shall we say, less desirable copies. It's a good use for them, as they aren't really suitable for anything else, but they work perfectly for this purpose. Then, I went through the remainder and looked for constant varieties, recut frames, weak corners, ray flaws, ivory heads etc. and took those out, combining them into groups of 2-8 stamps. Then, I looked for any face-free examples with poor margins that would be good for constructing shade pallettes, and grouped those. Then, I looked for legible cancels and took those out, separating them into London district cancels, England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and using an online copy of the Postmarks of the British Isles to identify them all. Then, whatever was left over I just put aside.

I worked through rows A through J, which is exactly half of a typical sheet, and have offered everything that I pulled out in this week's auction. Of course, as I was doing this several thoughts came to me, and so I added additional comments and observations in the blog post that I published. If you are so inclined you can view this week's auction here: https://brixtonchrome.com/collectio...ions?page=5. The penny reds start about mid way down the page and go to page 8.

It did occur to me that my regular bidders will get "penny red fatigue" if I offer rows K through T next week, so I've decided to give them a rest for a while, while I move on, next week to the perforated penny reds, and then to surface printed material. If you want to see a schedule of what I will be offering and when, you can view that here: https://brixtonchrome.com/pages/ten...ule-for-2021. You just need to be aware that due to the complexity of these issues and the sheer volume of material that I am handling that the exact timing of the themes probably will change. But the themes themselves won't, nor will the order in which I am offering them.

Anyways, I hope I haven't offended anyone here with regards to self promotion. I hope it will be clear that my first motive with all of this is to develop my knowledge and share it with collectors everywhere. The business end of things is a necessary means to the end of having the time to actually devote to writing the posts, and to clear the way to buy more stamps so that I can research and publish posts on a new and different area.

I hope you enjoy the posts as I publish them, and I would of course welcome your comments. I may or may not have time to incorporate them all in the form of edits, but I will do my level best to use them to improve the quality of my posts.

As I publish new posts in this area I will add them to this thread. The images below are some of the items I have on offer this week.





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Pillar Of The Community
United States
6133 Posts
Posted 11/25/2022   12:12 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting work your doing ,There are two or three research works you will need to get on that imperf issue .
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Valued Member
Canada
85 Posts
Posted 11/25/2022   1:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Brixtonchrome to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Floortrader, thanks. I do have Gibbons specialized, but I know there are some other plati9ng books out there, not to mention the imprimatur sheets. Would you happen to know the names of the books?
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Pillar Of The Community
Australia
2231 Posts
Posted 11/25/2022   2:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bobby De La Rue to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Brixtonchrome,

If you have the images of the imprimatur sheets, you'll need to have a look here for the missing stamps:

http://www.maltesex.com/missing_imprimatur/

Eric Paul (IIRC) published the books on plating penny reds but you'll need very deep pockets.

What can I say? Welcome to the RED side!
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Author of "The De La Rue Stamps of NSW" and "They Carried The Mails: The Conveyance of Post Office Mail in the Central West of NSW in the 19th Century"
Edited by Bobby De La Rue - 11/25/2022 3:22 pm
Valued Member
Canada
85 Posts
Posted 11/25/2022   4:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Brixtonchrome to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks Bobby. I don't if I will ever be in a position to plate them to this level of detail, as my area for my personal collection is Omnibus, which I specialize in. I have to tell you though that I am mighty tempted to make this an area for my personal collecting. But for now I have to be satisfied putting together posts that spark collectors interest and get them started. What basically happened here is that the auction house I usually deal with had 5 or 6 lots of penny reds numbering over 2,000 stamps each and I just couldn't resist. In retrospect, I wish I'd bought them all, because it was clear as I went through this box that the identified stuff was mostly between plates 50 and 80 and the rest was unidentified. This led me to surmise that in all likelihood each of the other lots had a different range of plates, and you needed to bid on and buy them all in order to get the full range. I tried to ask the lot describers about that but they couldn't tell me, and so rather than take the risk of buying 5 lots that were all very similar, I decided to only bid on and buy 2 lots.

But it has been truly fascinating. I knew all these years that they were interesting, but even I underestimated just how much.
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Bedrock Of The Community
Australia
36819 Posts
Posted 11/25/2022   9:28 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply




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Valued Member
Canada
85 Posts
Posted 11/28/2022   07:20 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Brixtonchrome to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
So, the Saga continues with the perforated stamps. Yesterday I gathered up all 2,700 of them and had to come up with a way to sort them, so that I could break them into manageable groups, so I could begin writing my next post, but also, so that I could have a way to quickly get 200+ lots together for Josh and Will to work on when they come next week.
So I went to Gibbons Specialized to see what the listings are, and then through the stamps. Now, I had already separated the obvious blued paper stamps and perf 16's out, and there were less than 100 of those, with most of the rest being perf 14 white papers.
However, this is where the stamps become most interesting, and complex. Gibbons list separately the following:
1. Alphabet IV stamps printed from plates 50 and 51.
2. Stamps printed from reserve plates 15 and 16, with Alphabet 2.
3. The pre-fire Fleet Street printings in shades of red.
4. The post-fire temporary Savoy St. printings in shades or rose.
5. The common post- fire printings in rose-red, deep rose red, and then the better pale rose-red and rose-pink shades.
6. Provisional use of the perf 16 gauge in rose red on white paper.
There were a small quantity of 1, 2 and 6 already identified in the lot, and so my first task was to put those aside.
Looking at the listings it soon became apparent that the real challenge lies in properly identifying, the pale red, rose, pale rose and pale rose red shades, from the standard and common rose red shade, as this will be critical to correctly identifying 3, 4 and the better shades of 5.
One thing that makes this difficult to do, according to Gibbons, is that the later mineral based inks fade with exposure to sunlight. However it should be possible, with enough copies of the correct shades to see the difference between a faded rose-red and a genuine rose-pink or pale rose red.
However, what quickly emerged from all this is that the deep rose red only occurs on 5, so identifying these, taking the perf 16's and then taking all the stamps from 1 and 2 would be the ideal amount of scope for my first blog post on these, as well as auction sale, and then devoting the second one to the sort of the shades that are not deep rose red, into their appropriate printings from 3, 4 and 5 would be the ideal way to tackle this.
At this point some explanation of the change from blue paper to white, and the change in inks as well as the Fleet St fire in March 1857 is in order here.
So, twice since they were awarded the printing contract, Perkins Bacon had faced pressure to lower the contract price: first in 1851, when Henry Archer tried to win the perforating contract, and then again in 1856 when De La Rue submitted a very competitive tender.
Prussiate of Potash, which was added to the ink, and is what was responsible for the bluing in the paper, was the most expensive ingredient in the then vegetable based ink. Eliminating this was the key to maintaining profit on the contract. So, in 1856 experiments began to first reduce the amount of Prussiate of potash, and then eliminate it entirely. The partially blued stamps are listed in Gibbons as the regular blued paper. Gibbons then lists printings on cream tinted or white paper in both red brown and various red and orange red shades. The cream colour on some comes from reactions in the pigment of the inks. But the paper itself never changed - just its perceived colour.
As the bluing was eliminated, further experiments were done to thin the ink with oil, which took the colour from red to rose. These initial printings were done at their Fleet St. premises.
Then on March 11-12 I believe, there was a fire at this location that destroyed a month worth of stock. But the damage to the plant itself was minimal. So, they set up temporary premises on Savoy St., off the Strand, to resume printing, which they did 24/7 to replace what had been lost. The shades of all printings except the pale rose red are sufficiently distinct that these printings can be carefully identified and separated from the rest.
Then, after the ink experiments had been conducted, it was decided to switch from using more expensive vegetable based inks to cheaper mineral based ones. PB had been using these inks for other applications, but decided to go outside their contract and use them for stamp production. Eventually, as the ink developed into the rose-red and deep rose red the paper took on a fully white appearance.
So stay tuned for my next blog post and auction announcement. I probably will post it as a new thread, rather than as a comment, but we'll see. Maybe I will do it here, as it keeps everything together.
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Bedrock Of The Community
Australia
36819 Posts
Posted 11/28/2022   08:28 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Nice informative post.
Shall be valuable for any other students, beginning to sort, and have a method of discrimination of these stamps.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
6133 Posts
Posted 11/28/2022   08:39 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Brixton ----Welcome to the deep end of philately , there is a few choices you need to make right from the beginning .

first- decide what do you keep and what do you sell .
second - Buy a good set of reference books .
third --- make good scans for future reference,especially on the stuff you sell.
fourth ---organize your stuff , don't be like those former owners of stuff I see at stamp auctions where they buy the stamps and keep buying material and even buy the reference books but drop dead before they ever get to the point of organize their stuff . { a stamp collection has two values ---Organized and mounted and unsorted in a pile }
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Valued Member
Canada
85 Posts
Posted 11/28/2022   09:14 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Brixtonchrome to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Floortrader

Thanks for the advice. I'm well ahead of this I'm afraid. I am actually a collector of Commonwealth omnibus from 1935 to about 1972/73 and I am very specialized.

What I am posting about here is the research I am doing for the hobby as well as the business I have established to fund my ability to live a lifestyle in which I will eventually be able to spend my time writing and publishing. This material I bought, because I knew the opportunity existed with so much material, to write a really good series of posts. But of course I can never afford to sit on anything for very long - maybe a month or two at most. Then I have to sell it all, so that I can keep my employees paid and have money to buy material for my next research project. So:

Buy, research, write, lot, sell and repeat is pretty much the cycle.

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