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Gander at the Goose

Here we have copies of interesting articles that have appeared in The Upland Goose, hopefully of benefit to members performing research of items in their collection.


Under the Magnifying Glass: No.7 An Exciting Centenary Issue Discovery


by Malcolm Barton and Kim Stuckey


In Under the Magnifying Glass No. 4 we expressed our surprise at the discovery of a new variety on the King George V ½d definitive a century after the stamp issue. There were a large number of collectors in the 1930’s looking carefully at “new issues” with a view to plating and trying to uncover new flaws. Therefore to uncover a second George V flaw and this time on the iconic 1933 Centenary issue is yet another pleasant surprise.


The credit for first uncovering the flaw goes to Nigel Kaye, who contacted us with a query on a Centenary 1½d used on a Karl Lellman late use 1946 cover from Fox Bay. There appeared to be a blue inking in the cloud just to the right of the whalecatcher mast.



This flaw may have been put to one side and forgotten about, until a startling piece of evidence appeared on ebay. A seller had not one, but two imprint blocks of the Centenary 1½d for sale. Both of them had the same “cloud flaw” on the top left stamp!



To back this discovery up, a trawl of ebay lots found another single 1½d for sale with the same variety. So it appeared that we do have a flaw that could be constant, rather than a one off.


 The next question about the variety was the consistency of it across two printings of the 1½d (there were two printings of all values except for three of the 3d). Here the Grosvenor auction catalogue archive ( was of great benefit – Sale 65 Lot 1518 had an imprint block of four of the Centenary 1½d without the flaw. This means that the flaw appeared only on one printing, or part way through a printing.



Ronnie Spafford has provided useful information by looking at his stock of 1½d stamps. He found the flaw on one of his sheets, but not the other two. This sheet is marked Second Printing. For the low values of the Centenary issue the size of the selvedge does not provide any clues as to the printing, as it does on the high values. It has been reported that Maude Cary thought the top of mast of the whalecatcher was more into the frame in the second printing, but this may not be consistently true across a printing. However, the flaw copies do seem to have a higher positioned vignette, You would believe that the flaw is more likely to be second printing than first if it is a plate flaw or re-entry of some kind but nothing is confirmed at this time.



Another cover with a 1½d with the flaw has been seen on ebay, bringing our total number of stamps seen with the Cloud Flaw to six. This cover was dated in 1934, so it was later use of the Centenary stamps.


So we now throw it open to Study Group members to help us with this new discovery. Please report any examples of the “Cloud Flaw” to us. Particularly welcome would be any dated used or on cover that could help us – if any were in the time period of the first printing only being available, it would help us determining the printing of this flaw.


It is appropriate in the 80th year since the issue of this wonderful set of stamps, we could have discovered a major, visible to the naked eye flaw on the 1½d value. It is a chance to scour those dealer stockbooks!


Thanks to:

Nigel Kaye

Ronnie Spafford

Upland Goose December 2008


Hovercraft Mail


One of two postcards of SRN6 “flying” across the Solent.

The cards were produced for the holiday and Island markets.


I hope these notes may be of interest with reference to the article in Digest No. 1 (pp 28/29) and the entry in Monograph No. 4 Airmail (p7).


Lieutenant Phillips, in a letter posted on Commissioning Day, wrote the following:-


Dear Cutler


You will by now have received your covers duly signed and posted on our commissioning day. I regret that our handstamp has already gone off in our baggage on its way to the Falklands, however subsequent covers from “down south” will be franked appropriately.


The “Lee-on-Solent” post-mark[sic] you will have should be quite a rarity as all mail from here is normally franked in Gosport. I had to get the Lee-on-Solent postmaster to stamp them specially [Roger queries whether this rarity related to its usage on these covers but I suspect that by then this handstamp was normally used only for parcels or postal orders!]


I enclose a copy of the order of service for the commissioning ceremony.


Best of luck with your collecting. Our address from mid Oct will be “N.P. 8902, c/o B.F.P.O. Ships, London.


The envelope that contained the letter [below] is signed by Phillips and his second in command; I do not have the order of service.


What I can now illustrate is a cover to London with part EC cancel for 27th November 1967 and being presumably one of the ten covers described in the Digest (paragraph 6 on page 28) but with the oval cachet of 19th November 1967 in DARK VIOLET instead of black as in the article. It is UNSIGNED whereas the article mentions signed covers and the cachet is on the reverse of the cover (something not made clear in either the article or the Monograph).


The further cover, shown below, is from Port Stanley, dated 3rd January 1968 with the cachet dated two days earlier and with VRP [Lieutenant V. R. Phillips] initials. Presumably this is one of the 60 covers referred to in the Digest (paragraph 7 on page 28) but again the cachet is in dark violet and not black. (Malcolm Barton comments “Black cachets were applied to those covers sent out by MDB, who provided the oval cachet” – see Letters section in concurrent Journal)


Stefan’s catalogue (p227) refers to the “Carried on Hovercraft” cachet as being in either black or violet but makes no mention of the Commanding Officer cachet which I would suggest is as much an “official” cachet as the former. The “Carried …” cachet is violet as distinct from Dark Violet and could not be mistaken for black; so are three ink pads involved. Is the Digest wrong and the colour mistaken or are there black cachet?


These items came from the estate of the late Tony Cutler.





From Malcolm Barton


It must be rare for a query contained in a Journal to be answered in the same publication! If, however, one of the Hon. Proof Readers played himself played a significant role in the events concerned a response was to be expected. The Colour Supplement contains a feature by Roger Mazillius re Hovercraft Mail with some queries about the cachets used. This has now gone to press but mean while Malcolm has found, in his papers, the original invoice for the cachet and a letter from the Postmaster in Port Stanley, to Malcolm that is pertinent. Here is the former of these two interesting items:-


Malcolm comments “Having had it made I did all my own cachets which used black ink; the Postmaster happened to use purple”


Here is the letter from the Postmaster, dated 17th October 1968 (I have tried to retain some of its character):-



Dear Sir


Thank you for your letter of the 30th July.


Mr. A. G. Barton has returned and I have given him your Hovercraft covers so I imagine he will post these to you.

Yes, we had a tremendous amount of work in connexion with Hovercraft mail - more than anyone expected.   Some people were putting full sets of definitive stamps on covers! Good for revenue but it meant an awful lot of franking and blisters.


The Hovercraft mail closed if I remember rightly 9 a.m. on the 3rd June and it was frantic franking right up to about 3.30 p.m. when the Naval people called for the mail. We did of course get a lot franked on the Saturday which helped a lot.   The Hovercraft left Stanley the next day and presumably arrived at Fox Bay on the 5th.   The date was not chosen by the Post Office but was the date planned by the Hovercraft Unit for their first voyage to the West Falklands 2,680 covers were posted to Fox Bay.


We may not use the cachet again - don't want to debase the currency!


The Fox Bay new date stamp was introduced on 1st July 1968.   We publicised this in the Crown Agents Stamp Bulletin and possibly elsewhere but Crown Agents didn't say if they passed the information on to philatelic journalists.   I imagine if you wrote to Zena Mills of Stanley (she operates a shop) you could buy a cover with the first day frank.   And a very good cover it is too; it gives the history of when Fox Bay Post Office opened etc.


I enclose impressions of our handstamps at present in use. The rectangular "Second Class" cachet was introduced this year.


The new T Stamp was introduced on the 1st August 1968.


The machine canceller was not thrown away but it is not now used.

The Official Paid stamp is no longer used; all Government air mail is stamped and sea mail just marked

0. H. M. S.

I have not been able to find introduction dates for

Addressee Unknown Return to Sender;

Gone Away Return to Sender;

Insufficient postage for Carriage by Air; or T.



In view of the foregoing members may be interested in details of the interesting Society described by Ken Pemberton below:-


The Hovermail Collectors' Club (HCC) traces its roots back to August 1968 and continues to record the comings and goings of hovercraft in our unique way. The HCC enjoyed the respect of the entire industry, manufacturers, operators and the military. We were occasionally given embargoed information. Everyone was keen to help record the history of the hovercraft through Hovermails.


The HCC issues a quarterly newsletter of hovercraft operations around the world.  The envelopes which we have had carried - and in many cases pilot signed - have been duly described in the pages of "Slipstream" which has been published since August 1971 (monthly until March 1992). The wealth of hovercraft history stored in those pages must be impossible to find elsewhere.


Collectors, being collectors, add to their theme. Hovermail collections now include timetables, tickets etc.  A big collecting area is postcards. Many Hovermail collectors were acquiring postcards showing hovercraft to illustrate their collections but in  June 1991 HCC Members brought their knowledge together and published a Hovercraft Postcard Checklist.  This is always being updated and there are over 1350 postcards listed from around the world.


For over 25 years (and 200+ issues) I have edited "Slipstream" and I am a Founder Member of the Hovermail Collectors' Club. I am always happy to hear from anyone who is interested in Hovermails or Hovercraft Postcards.


Ken Pemberton, 16, Cranbourne Avenue, Birkenhead CH41 0BU

Phone; 0151 653 7485 e-mail;

Upland Goose September 2008


Alfred Nelson Jones of South Georgia


The church erected on South Georgia was initially sited in Strommen in Norway prior to being donated to the whaling station at Grytviken. After being dismantled for transport it was re-erected in 1913, with the bells, cast in Tonsberg, Norway, first ringing out over South Georgia at midnight on Christmas Eve the same year. On 12th March 1932 the church was the venue for the first marriage on South Georgia.


The wedding certificate was for the marriage of Vera Ritches to Alfred Nelson Jones and the signatures on it tie together three major personalities of South Georgia – the Deputy Registrar William Barlas, the Groom Alfred Nelson Jones and the witness Leganger Hansen.


In looking for information on Alfred Nelson Jones, the postal clerk at South Georgia, an interesting article came up on a search on the internet in the middle of last year, and I quote from it here.


“Julia Parker will travel the 6,000 miles to be on the Falkland Islands for the liberation day ceremonies in the middle of June. It will be her first visit to the South Atlantic territories and to the landscape her mother, Elizabeth Hamilton, and her grandparents, Alfred and Vera Jones, lived in. Her mother will not be making the trip on this occasion - though she has been back before to the place where she was born in 1933. Mother-of-four Mrs Parker said: ‘I am going to see where my grandmother lived and get an insight into my family roots.’’


The story of her Falklands’ roots arises from the journey of young Welshman Alfred Jones to the Falklands in the years between the two world wars. He met Vera Riches, who lived in Port Stanley. Her parents were returning to England but she took the decision to stay and headed the 700 miles across the icy waters to South Georgia. They became the first couple to marry on the island, which is 105 miles long and between one and 25 miles wide, and settled in a bleak snow-bound house with penguins and other wildlife as neighbours.


Elizabeth, who now lives in Norfolk, was born soon after. She says: ‘My mother had to go across to the Falklands to give birth to me and then return to South Georgia.  My memories are very limited but I do remember the penguins, having a pram with skis on it and playing near Shackleton’s cairn.’


The journey between the two British territories took a week by boat. Her father was an officer of the whaling station in Grytviken, the principle settlement on South Georgia, and his marriage certificate to Vera is now one of the exhibits in the town’s(sic) whaling museum, along with other artefacts including those of explorer Ernest Shackleton.


When her father later joined the colonial service and was sent to Africa, she returned to England and a life at boarding school.”


Alfred Nelson Jones was the son of Lewis Tom Jones, a mechanical engineer from South Wales.


Two of the more interesting postal activities in the late 20s and early 30s involved Nelson-Jones.


The first was the 1928 South Georgia Provisional.


Nelson Jones wrote to Dr White-Cooper “The issue has occurred on account of the shortage of halfpenny and two and a half penny denominations and the delay in the arrival of the SS Fleurus with new supplies. The issue has been authorised by wireless with effect from 3rd January 1928 and will close on the arrival of the craft mentioned which is expected to be on or about the 22nd February.


The Magistrate & I when at Leith when enquiring into the loss of the SS Scapa asked Mr Hansen (the Manager of Leith Whaling Station, (the witness later in 1932 to the Nelson Jones wedding and known as the King of South Georgia) to make a die for us and this he did and the stamps have been surcharged by hand. As a matter of fact I surcharged the majority of them myself.


The first evening we (maybe Nelson Jones and Walter Stuart the Customs Officer) surcharged 750 but I cannot say how many will be required; personally I hope it will not be too many as it is a darned monotonous job.

In the telegram of authority we have been instructed to preserve about 8 at least I think so for HM the King (the telegram actually said four corner blocks of four, two to be cancelled and two left unused).


As you are aware the two and a halfpenny denomination is the postage for letter rate to Norway and we have about 2,000 Norwegians engaged in the whaling industry, more or less 2,000 more Norwegians than two and a halfpenny stamps.”


A few covers were prepared for Leganger Hansen, as Nelson-Jones was also sending several to his relatives back in Wales, including blocks of four! 


The second philatelic event on South Georgia involving Nelson Jones was in January 1932 when it was discovered that there was no “32” year slug. As a temporary measure a “2” was used as the year slug and this lasted just until the 10th January.



Nelson-Jones wrote in May 1932, two months after his wedding “The 2 handstamp may be regarded as having been withdrawn from the 10th January  as prior to the following mail leaving “2” and “3” dies were sufficiently filed to permit of them fitting into the cancellation frame.


The resident magistrate will be leaving here in about 10 days time and will probably be away until the latter end of December. Consequently I’m afraid my departure will not take place until January or February next year. I was hoping that my wife would remain until that time but unfortunately she will have to leave in October on account of expecting to be confined in January.


By the way in your next letter will you kindly let me know if you require any of the pictorial stamps which I understand are to be issued next year.” Of course Nelson-Jones refers to the Centenary set!





Malcolm Barton: The 1928 Provisional Surcharge UG Vol VII No 4

John Shaw: “2” for “32” UG Vol XIII No 1 and No 6, plus cover illustration

Upland Goose June 2008


Queen Victorian issues


Adapted from a talk and paper given at the Faringdon by Malcolm Barton.



It is a curious fact that although the Study Group has come to Faringdon for ten years, no one has pointed out that these Victorian stamps on display this evening were printed in Faringdon.


I think I had better read that again; there is something wrong with the punctuation.


Although the Study Group has come to Faringdon for ten years no one has pointed out that these Victorian stamps were printed in ….. Farringdon Street, London. With two ‘RRs.’ At least you are not going to forget that now!


In the 1920s Bradbury Wilkinson moved from Farringdon Street to New Malden Surrey. This is the only original research I can claim as my own.


Much of the pioneer work on this issue was carried out by Charles Glass and you will find important articles in Upland Goose Volumes 3 to 7.([1])


It is also a curious fact that Ronnie Spafford also always knows more than this author knows. It was exactly the same when writing a book on the 1891 Provisionals; Ronnie came up with important new information just in time. This time, it is  new and quite shocking information, unknown to me at any rate ten days ago, and that you will be given this evening ; Thanks Ronnie.


It is also a fact that any author cannot carry out much research into Falkland Islands stamps without access to Stefan’s catalogue and all his records; thanks Stefan. However there has been a curious tradition at this weekend for the author to point out that Stefan (how can one put it?)- has not always got it right! More of that anon, for first of all I want you to imagine Geoff Barber standing at his Victorian desk in 1878 and writing in his best copperplate hand to his New Issue clients. “I am sorry to announce that the 1878 issue for the Falkland Islands has been delayed; it is running approximately twenty years late.  I am very sorry for this delay. But if you would like to pay now, I should be very happy. Your obedient servant etc.”


This display has been spread out to give you a sense of time, of twenty four years between the first printings and the last.


On October 16th 1877 the Earl of Carnarvon, Secretary of State for the Colonies wrote from Downing Street to tell the Falkland Islands Governor Callaghan that application had been made for the Falkland Islands to become a member of the General Postal Union on January 1st 1878, (renamed the Universal Postal Union in 1879). One of the reasons for the application being refused was a basic one. Part of a letter dated November 7th, signed by Wm. Page of the General Post Office in London to R. G. W. Herbert Esq., of the Colonial Office, reads:-


“It has just been discovered that postage stamps are not in use in the Falkland Islands, and the Postal Administrations of the Union attach great importance to the Article in the Postal Union Treaty which stipulates that payment of postage can be effected only by means of postage stamps valid in the country of origin, it appears to Lord John Manners that the absence of postage stamps in the colony would be a fatal bar to its admission into the Union..”


Meanwhile help was at hand. Mr Herbert received a despatch requesting 1d and 6d stamps, not from the Falkland Islands postmaster but from the Falkland Islands Company. The hand of the enterprising Colonial manager F. E. Cobb can be seen here. There exists a memorandum, initialled but illegible which almost certainly originated from the Crown Agents dated December 3rd 1877 and sent to Mr Herbert. I hesitate to read it out:-


“Mr Herbert, for a cheap stamp such as we are getting made for the Transvaal which would be quite good enough for the Falklands – the cost would not be too great, say Die and Plate for two values 1d and 6d about 10, - cost of printing, paper, etc., 1/-- per 1,000 stamps.”


“Cheap,” “quite good enough,” and putting the Falkland Islands second to Transvaal. That is quite shocking! The printer of these “cheap” stamps was Bradbury Wilkinson. It was a time when Bradbury Wilkinson was expanding and looking for new business. The Bradbury family had moved into security printing of banknotes in intaglio following an increase in the forgery of unengraved banknotes in the mid 1850s. The introduction of intaglio or recess printing on banknotes reduced instances of forgery presented to various authorities from over 29,000 in 1820 to 52 in 1873. William Wilkinson had taken over the management of the firm when Henry Bradbury died in 1860. Bradbury Wilkinson carried out no work on postage stamps until 1871 when they made the plates for the stamps of Hyderabad, which were then printed locally. Victorian engravers were extremely skilful; one has only to examine the popular engravings of many contemporary paintings. Herbert Bourne who was responsible for the head of Queen Victoria was just such an engraver and he worked for a number of firms.


His head of Queen Victoria appears to have first been used on the revenue stamps of Griqualand West in 1876. The capital of that South African Province was Kimberley of diamonds fame. This was followed by revenue and postage stamps for Transvaal of gold fame. One almost has to thank Cecil Rhodes for the first Falkland stamps. There is one consolation. The Falkland Islands 1d and 6d stamps engraved and printed by Bradbury Wilkinson were released a few weeks before the Transvaal stamps and therefore can still claim to be the first postage stamps put on sale which were produced by Bradbury Wilkinson.


The 6d value was printed in blue-green which in the long run was to prove to be an unfortunate choice as it was to clash with the green colour recommended by the U.P.U. for d values in 1891. However contemporary 6d values for similar colonies such as Antigua and Montserrat in the West Indies which also ran their postal services on just two values, were also in blue green, and it was perhaps a decision made by the Crown Agents.

Carnarvon wrote to Governor Callaghan on December 6th 1877:-


“I have the honor (sic) to inform you that having received a representation from the Falkland Islands Company on the subject of providing the Colony with a distinctive postage stamp and having been advised by Lord John Manners of the desirability I have directed the Crown Agents to take immediate steps for procuring the material necessary for providing your Government with stamps of 2 denominations viz 1d & 6d in value. I presume that 2 kinds will be sufficient …”


Governor Callaghan replied on 14th February 1878:-


My Lord,

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship’s despatch No 22 of 6th December last regarding the desirability of providing this colony with distinctive Postage Stamps. I am glad the proposal has received your Lordships approval.

The Postmaster (George Travis) informs me that the stamps which would be required here would be 1d., 6d., 1/- and 5/-. Packets are sent occasionally by the Falkland Islands Company and Messrs. Dean weighing about 30oz for which a small supply of 5/- would be convenient.([2])


The 6d stamps would be the most in use and next to that the 1/- stamp. The 1d stamp would not be used except on Foreign letters of which very few are forwarded from the Colony ([3]). Letters are not forwarded by the government to the various parts of the Islands and there is no local postage charge.”


Sir Michael Hicks Beach of the Colonial Office replied to Governor Callaghan:-


“In addition to the 1d and 6d stamps the Crown Agents have been instructed to procure 1/- stamps but I have not thought it necessary to authorize the issue of the five shilling class.”  The “five shilling class stamp” was to wait for 20 years.


Question. Why was the accepted design allowed to be taller than the definitive stamps produced by De La Rue with the result that they did not conform to the Crown CA watermarked paper and a well centred watermark is unusual?


There seems to be a simple explanation for this; the 1878 design was prepared to be printed on a thin paper made by R. Turner of Chafford Mills in Kent and was never intended for Crown CA watermarked paper. We know that Turner’s own watermark appears on some of the revenue stamps and the Falkland Islands 4d issues in 1879, but that was not intended and we are running ahead of ourselves.


There is a tendency to lump the first four values together when there are in fact three dates involved. The 1d and 6d sheets printed at the same time both have bottom and left hand margins imperforate, whereas the Governor’s order for the 1/- later in 1878 has imperforate margins, bottom and right. Bradbury Wilkinson used Bemrose rotary line perforators and as Charles Glass explained in his article the use of different operators and different machines might lead to variations. However as far as the first four stamps are concerned no marginal variations have been reported. Each single sheet was horizontally and vertically perforated separately. It must have been very time consuming.


Similarly Charles Glass recorded variations in shade within the sheet. He reported that in the Guard book in almost every case the North West diagonal half of the sheet was lighter than the South Eastern corner.([4])


The Falkland Islands were admitted as a member of the General Postal Union with effect from January 1st 1879, together with British Honduras, Newfoundland and British Colonies on the West Coast of Africa. In the same month the GPU announced a reduction in postage rates from April 1st 1879, and correspondence flows again. March 24th 1879 Governor Callaghan to The Right Honourable Sir M.E. Hicks-Beach Bart., M.P. The Colonial Office:-


“With reference to your circular of 25th January 1879 notifying certain changes which will take place on 1st April next in the rates of postage and condition of correspondence  between countries in the General Postage Union, I have the honour to inform you that these will render necessary the issue of a Four-penny stamp for the use of this Colony.

I shall therefore, be obliged by your authorising the Crown agents to take the necessary steps to procure a supply of these stamps.

I have etc.

Y. F. Callaghan.”


The new 4d stamps were sent down to the Colony on July 29th 1879 and put on sale in September, four 1d stamps presumably having to pay the new 4d rate from April 1st 1879 until the 4d stamps became available. The 4d value was printed by a different method altogether from the other three using a pantograph which is illustrated in Grant. The study of this has not attracted much attention since the formation of the Study Group although a study was published in which almost every 4d stamp can be plated. This is useful as all margins were imperforate and some expensive stamps have been ‘improved’ by re-perforation.


Question.  What happened to the Bradbury Wilkinson Archive sheets of these four values when the Archives were sold off by De La Rue? Charles Glass certainly saw them and described the sheet of the 4d as being badly cut with the edges far from parallel with the stamp frames’.([5])


We need to press on. We can ignore the 6d and 1/- stamps for which there was comparatively little demand for some years; for over twelve years it was the other two values that supplied the main needs of the colony.


In 1882 a reprint of just 10,000 of the 1d and 20,000 of the 4d value was ordered by The Falkland Islands Post Office and a decision presumably was taken by the Crown Agents to carry out the printing on the Crown CA paper. This watermarked paper was not an ideal fit as the standard De La Rue stamps were ten rows of six as opposed to the Bradbury Wilkinson layout of six rows of ten. A watermarked sheet designed for four sheets of a De La Rue printing was only sufficient for three Bradbury Wilkinson sheets, and that involved incorporating the central CROWN AGENTS lettering in the centre of the sheet, although the smaller border lettering of CROWN AGENTS FOR THE COLONIES at the side of the sheet did not impinge on the stamps.


Specks of colour on the reverse have proved to be a useful aid to recognising the 1882 1d printing. Both stamps have perforated margins all round for the first time. Surprisingly the 1d is not particularly rare in mint condition, and it is the 4d that is particularly hard to find and identify. Both stamps have a narrow selvedge, upright watermark, and three years were to pass before new printings were required. Some of the stamps are found with watermark varieties as no great importance was attached to this at the time. On the 1d there is a flaw on the Queen’s cheek on row 2 number 4 which can be traced through all printings although its existence has yet to be reported on the original 1878 1d.


The printings of the 1d and 4d in both 1885 and in 1887 were printed sideways on the watermarked paper, again 20,000, which became the standard order.  The reason for printing the stamp with sideways watermark is not known but the result was that they became squarer and less attractive stamps for the printed paper shrank as it dried. Sideways watermarked stamps can be spotted without the need to turn them over. No particular attention was paid to the position of the watermark, and varieties are not unusual. The 1887 4d sheet in the Bradbury Wilkinson archives had a Reversed watermark. This time the smaller side border letters CROWN AGENTS FOR THE COLONIES appeared on some of the stamps the letters of course being upright which cause some collectors and dealers to misidentify them. More interestingly the presence of two sets of border lettering prove that the original watermark sheet must have been twice the size as has normally been illustrated and from an original single sheet six sheets of stamps could have been printed. This seems to have implications for all stamps printed at this time, De La Rue included, that the dandy roll of watermarks was twice the size we thought. The author likes to think it has implications for the illustration in Stefan’s catalogue too! The 1885 printing has perforated margins all round but the 1887 printing has imperforate margins all round which is a great help as there are intermediate shades that cannot easily be allotted to a particular printing. For some reason the 1885 1d is much more common mint than the 1887 1d.


One can understand why the next reprint was for 20,000 of the 4d value in 1889 as it was the most common denomination in use. The watermark reverted to upright, and all four margins are imperforate. The fact that 28 out of the 60 stamps have an imperforate margin is a great help in separating the 1889 printing from the printing of 1882, and the 1895 printing. Charles Glass reported a sheet of this 1889 printing with perforated margins and Royal Certificate.  It is just possible that this sheet was perforated on a different machine but it is more likely it was from the 1895 and its shade matched the 1889. The UV lamp today would prove the point.


1891 is the most interesting year of all because postage to and from the Falkland Islands within the British Empire was reduced from 4d to 2d. Other colonies in a similar situation had in the past either overprinted current stocks with a ‘2’ or bisected 1d stamps either vertically and overprinted with a d (Dominica and St Vincent) or diagonally (such as Jamaica.) This just may have influenced the Acting Postmaster Frederick Sanguinetti as he had been seconded to the Falkland Islands from Jamaica for a year. He also found that stocks of the 1d stamps were low for a reduction in postage and these had to be reordered too.


Sanguinetti relied for bisects on the remaining stock of the 1887 1d with its imperforate margin, although a very few examples exist from the earlier 1885 printing which would be bottom margin copy with guide dot and perforated.


Sanguinetti, who had many other duties other than Acting Postmaster, left the order for new d and 2d values very late, and as he and the Governor chose values in orange and brick red the order led to further correspondence and delays. That was quite extraordinary.


The simple lessons to be learnt from 1891 are as follows.


1.       The ‘d’ surcharge or overprint was soon abandoned as unsurcharged bisected stamps were accepted by the receiving post offices without any problems. When Sanguinetti wrote a letter to his bank in Jamaica he did not bother to surcharge the bisect. That was as early as May 1891.

2.       It is very likely that any surcharging on the new supply of 1891 1d red brown which arrived in June was done as a favour, and the surcharge has usually been applied after the stamp had been affixed on the envelope. 20,000 of the 1d red brown were supplied with all four sheet margins imperforate. These were the last stamps in this issue to have any imperforate margins.

3.       There was of course an immediate demand from overseas collectors and dealers for the provisional  and  but orders were refused, that is until sufficient supplies of the new d and 2d values had been received (and after the value of bisects had been invalidated !) This is the source of the majority of bisects today.

4.       The surviving covers tend to have unsurcharged bisects on them not because they were originally in the majority but because soaking off a surcharged bisect to stick in an album made more sense than sticking in an unsurcharged one!

5.       It was unfortunate that the Kosmos steamship Neko with supplies of the d and 2d sank in a Channel collision on July 2nd. It is not true that the stamps were lost in the collision. The d and 2d stamps she was carrying arrived in Stanley, but in a sticky pulp, and replacements had to be ordered.

6.       Documentary evidence in the Falkland Islands Company Archives that a small supply of the new values had already arrived on a previous sailing has yet to be accepted.([6])


The new values from 1891 onwards are so familiar to us that it is easy to overlook that there was a design change for the new values. For the new values the numerals in the corners have been replaced by rosettes, and the white oval around the head is now wider at the side than at the top, compared with the original in 1878.   There is in addition a Bradbury Wilkinson Imprint below the bottom row.


The May 1891 printings of the d and 2d were of 20,040 i.e. 334 sheets, and currently the only known survivors were from the Bradbury Wilkinson Archives.


A further printing of 19,920 i.e. 332 sheets of each value were supplied in August 1891. An order made through the Falkland Islands Company on behalf of a General merchant in London back in May for 10 worth of d stamps, that is for 80 sheets  a quarter of the whole printing was finally supplied in November. It is hardly surprising to find a third order for both values being printed in November 1891 and delivered in January 1892. At the same time 334 sheets of the 1d stamp printed in October 1891 arrived in shades of orange red brown to brown, and 332 sheets of the 6d value in orange-yellow arrived to replace the 6d blue green of 1878, the shade of which was too similar to the d value and which now became obsolete; Schlottfeldt the Kosmos Agent was selling the original 6d stamp from his own stock at three times face value until 1900. The d value is found in a range of blue green shades but the third printing of the 2d is not in a chalky ultramarine but is described as dull blue. A glance at the shade of the block from the Bradbury Wilkinson archives shows that it is not a particularly dull blue, although it is quite possible that the sheet came from the beginning of the printing. Mint copies are undervalued, and need to be separated from the pale ultramarine its nearest rival by ultra violet light.


Later in 1892 the popularity of the lowest value with collectors was finally recognised and 666 sheets in a green shade were delivered in June 23rd 1892 together with 332 sheets of the 1d in a deep and attractive reddish chestnut shade.


1893 there were no new printings delivered in 1893 and collectors have now acquired just six of the final ten values in the set. (Geoff Barber is a patient man.)


The 1894 delivery was unusual with round figures of sheets delivered; just 300 not 330+ something sheets of the 1d this time, in a distinctive orange brown with reversed watermark, 200 sheets of the 2d in shades of Prussian blue watermark normal. Shades are mentioned because there was a time when few certificates were given to this printing. Dr Stone who examined the Archive in 1929 found no filed stamp of the Prussian blue shade which is surprising. There are blocks with and without specimen on display. Today the whole of the printing is more or less accepted as being worthy of its description although it has meant that used examples are quite common and overpriced. Only 50 sheets of the 4d value were delivered in a shade once described as ‘pure grey black’ now ‘brownish black’ and with watermark reversed. Perhaps we can put down the unusual size of order to a new Postmaster, Charles Fraser, who was in charge of the Post Office from March 1892 to November 3rd 1894.


However later in 1894 on October 19th there were more traditional deliveries, 666 sheets of the d in a deep yellow green shade, and 332 sheets of the 1d in a claret shade much closer to the original printings but with a white gum and usually a reversed watermark. There were also 332 sheets of the 2d value in a bright ultramarine shade all of which appear to have been with reversed watermark.


1895 is notable for an unnecessarily large order for the 4d value, 666 sheets which arrived on June 24th and is found in many shades of Olive black. The stock lasted well into Edwardian times and full sheets of this value are still not unusual to find. At the end of the year partly perhaps in response to the interests of philatelists the first 2ds arrive on December 23rd, 332 sheets of them, and 326 sheets of the 9ds, (Bradbury Wilkinson records that a few sheets were spoilt) together with 666 sheets of the sixth printing of the d, ‘virtually identical in shade.’ as Charles Glass described them when he examined the guard books.  There were also 332 sheets of the 1d in a new shade described by Charles Glass in 1979 as Venetian red with normal watermark. Gibbons opts out by describing both the 1895 and 1896 printings as pale to deep, and Stefan goes for Deep Venetian red with reversed watermark. There were 200 sheets of the 2d in a deep purple shade, and 333 sheets of the shilling value in a grey brown shade and on watermarked paper for the very first time. Revenue from sales of stamps to collectors was now important and accounted for 80% of the stamp revenue. It is not surprising that new printings of most values were ordered again in 1896.


At the end of November 1896 deliveries included just 300 sheets of the d described as deep dull green. This has become a difficult stamp to identify and as the Archive block here shows a yellow green tinge to it, one wonders whether it is worthy of a separate listing. 400 sheets of the 1d in a deep Venetian shade with reversed watermark according to Glass, but as Venetian claret by Stefan.([7]) 300 sheets of the 2d in a reddish purple shade, 300 sheets of the 2d in ultramarine (but with normal watermark,) 200 sheets of the 6d in a yellow shade, 300 sheets of the 9d, an ambitious new order, supplies of which remained available until the end of Edward’s reign, and another printing of the 1/-, 200 sheets in a yellow brown shade.


For the first time for some years there were no shortages and no stamps were ordered in 1897.


1898 was a special year. Bradbury Wilkinson printed with some pride the 2/6 and 5/- high values. It is extraordinary that they should prepare plates for a sheet of sixty. The plates were made of thin copper backed on zinc and were notorious for cracking. The stresses during the rolling in process caused the 2/6 plate to crack and this was repaired by knocking the plate up from behind. In the process the design was damaged and had to be burnished off in order that a fresh impression could be made but parts of the previous impression remained on the plate. The crack line extends into the design of the adjoining stamp. This can just be detected on the photograph. Dr Koefmann was the first to spot this and wrote an article on the subject in 1956. The 100 sheets of each value were delivered on August 23rd 1898. A further 300 sheets of the 1d were delivered which Gibbons following Glass’s recommendations describes as Venetian claret and Stefan as pale Venetian red. The 1d sheet is missing from the Guard book, but the author believes that the Glass/Gibbons listing is correct. There was also a delivery of 600 sheets of the 2d in a pale purple shade which is still common, and 300 sheets of the 2d in a paler ultramarine shade; these were also not recorded in the Guard book.


1899. An order for the 1d value had been overlooked in 1898, but Imperial Penny postage was introduced at the end of the year. There was a serious shortage of 1d stamps.  Fox Bay received no 1d stamps when the Post Office first opened in July. It was not until August 24th 1899 that the 1ds arrived, 2000 sheets of them in shades of pale red! There were also 1000 sheets of the d in yellow green. This helps to explain why they are so common.


Queen Victoria died in early 1901 but two further orders were delivered. 1904 sheets of the d in a pale yellowish green. The quantity is unusual but Charles Glass found reference to the destruction of several sheets as a result of poor perforating. It would seem that by subtraction 96 sheets were destroyed! There was a delivery of 500 sheets of the 2d in a deep ultramarine at the end of the year; this printing Glass recorded as missing from the Guard books on one visit but it was later found to have been incorporated in the banknote guard books. The final printing in 1902 appropriately enough was for the 1d, 1000 sheets in an orange red shade. The last two printings of 180,000 almost equal in number the previous eleven printings!


The popularity of Falkland Islands stamps owes much to this providential link with Bradbury Wilkinson and the South African provinces of Transvaal and Griqualand West. The Queen Victorian issue also remains a popular and rewarding issue, partly because it remains a demanding one.






Major R. N. Spafford. FRPSL Falkland Islands Philately: The Earliest Days. The Canadian Philatelist. July- August 1999 (by kind permission of Major Spafford it is the intention to reprint this seminal article in a future edition of the Journal).


Stefan Heijtz. Specialised Catalogue of the Falkland Islands.


Dr Dudley Stone F.R.P.S.L.  New Data on the 1d., 6d., 1/- and 4d. of the first issue.  The London Philatelist 1934 p 58 – 64.


Dr H. Koefmann. 2/6 Fresh entry. Strand Stamp Journal.  Nov. 1956. Charles Glass.     Upland Goose.  Numerous articles.



References from footnote [1] Charles Glass, Upland Goose references.


Vol. III  No. 2   pp59-60 Frame heights some observations.


Vol. III  No. 7   pp223-225         Q.V. Catalogue listing a fresh look.


Vol .III  No. 8   pp247               A fourpenny One.


Vol. IV  No. 1   pp36-38 Victorian Listings.

Shade variations. BW manager states that shade variations could occur because though the ink mix recipe could be the same, the pigments supplied by the manufacturers could vary.


Vol. IV  No. 2   pp71-72 Rotary Line perforating.

An essential article for this interested in the perforating of these stamps with illustrations.


Vol. IV  No. 3   pp96 -99            Modern Scientific Techniques, and Shades of  Victoriana.

The latter an essential article for shade opinions on all values to the 6d value, apart from the ds which were revised in Vol. 6 No 3 pp 108-109 and the 2ds which were revised in Vol. VI No 1 pp 28-30.


Vol. IV No. 4    p126                Light on the Victorian 4ds

A key article for U.V. reactions on the 4d printings.


Vol.  V  No. 1   pp8-9               Notes on Victoriana.

The two printings of the Venetian red in the files. 1895 with off-white paper with normal shade and watermark. The 1896 on a very white paper with watermark reversed. Bradbury Wilkinson had finally agreed to the corner of the sheet being lifted.


Vol. V   No. 5   pp140-141         More on Victorian shades.

Useful comments on shades of  ds, 1ds and 2ds.


Vol.  V  No. 5   pp194-195         A Letter to Dr Nabarro.

A 1929 letter which formed the source of Grant’s information on dates and printings etc.


Vol.  V  No. 6    pp173- 175        Paper.

Three types of paper used on Victorian printings. Experiments that need following up.


Vol. VI  No. 6   p259                Footnote on Victorian Printings.

The discovery of date and details of the missing 1898 printings in the Archives.


Vol. VI  No. 1   pp28-30 Victorian 2d A reassessment.

The clearest account of the printings and their U.V. reactions.


Vol. VI  No. 3   pp108-109         Victorian ds.

A revised account of this value, but see below.


Vol. VI  No. 7   p276                 Pitfalls of the researcher.

d  blue green U.V. reactions.


Vol. VI  No. 7   pp277-278         Victorian listings.

New listings 1882 to 1891.


Vol. VII No. 1   p9                     R Turner Chafford Mills.

Watermarked 4ds.


Vol. VII No. 2   pp42-43 Victorian listings.

The proposed new listing adopted by  Stanley Gibbons.


Vol. VII No.  5   pp152-153         Victorian listings

1 See references at the end of this paper

[2]  An internal Colonial office note dated 8th April 1878  states, “The Crown Agents should provide 1/- as well as /6d and /1d Stamps but would not 5/- stamps be absurd. The Company are not obliged to make up their letters in 30 oz packets, and for packets of reasonable size find 1/- stamps would answer the purpose of one 5/- stamp.” Initialled P. G.

[3] 1d stamps for foreign letters is curious. The postage rates at the time quoted in C.O. 78 67 R.E. 27/11 were “6d per half ounce on letters, 1d per lb. on newspapers, on books 3d per lb. but 1d under 1 ounce and 2d between 1oz and 2 oz. I suppose it will be necessary to consult the Governor as to the amounts for which the stamps are to be used and the quantities of each which will be required.”

The decision on quantities was taken in London for in a letter of December 7th 1877 John Bramston informs the Secretary of the F.I.C. that 20,000 of each denomination would be supplied.


[4] Internal memoranda show a marked lack of understanding! March 24th 1979. “Mr Ebden .I suppose the Agents must be instructed to provide a /4d Stamp” Initialled .C.P.L.

May 19th 1879 “This in consequence of the reduction of the rate of letters from 6d to 4d. I suppose the same number of 4d stamps should be provided of 6d stamps.” Initialled R.E. (Ebden)

[5] Stefan Heijtz reported that some had appeared in South Africa and Trinidad.

[6] See extract from Baillon’s despatch on page 513 & 514. Page 72 The Falkland Islands 1891 Provisionals Barton  2002.

[7]  Venetian printings.

Gibbons catalogue based on Charles Glass’s findings has


SG 22          1d Venetian red (pale to deep) (1895 – 96)

SG 22 ax.     Wmk reversed.

SG 22b.       1d Venetian claret (1898?)


However the Heijtz catalogue based on postmarked examples has


SH6i            1d Venetian red wmk reversed 1895

SH6j            1d Venetian claret  1896

SH 6k          1d pale Venetian red 1898.


Members are asked to contribute their findings to the debate.