KGV 1-1/2d Red or ‘Three Halfpence’
The 1-1/2d KGV stamp was first introduced in 1918 in order to provide a stamp for an increase in postage of 1/2d from 1d to 1-1/2d general postage rate.
The first issues were brown black, brown and green, the red arriving in 1924.
A die is effectively a new engraving of the die or main design of the stamp for printing. In this case there were two dies engraved, Die 1 issued in 1924, Die 2 in 1926
Dies and Watermarks
The two dies of this value and colour KGV stamp are the easiest of all KGV dies to classify.
Die 1 was ONLY issued in the red colour on large single watermark, Die 2 is ONLY issued in red on small multiple. By checking the watermark you can tell if it is a die 1 or die 2.
Quickly Recognising the Dies
The most obvious marker of the Die 1 penny halfpenny is the last ‘E’ in ‘HALFPENCE’ . In this die the three horizontal lines of the E all line up and are of the same fine thickness.
The equivalent marker for the Die 2 is again the last ‘E’ in ‘HALFPENCE’. In the Die 2 the E has a short middle horizontal line, and the thickness of the letter is variable and thicker than the Die 1.
There are many other differences than you will pick up in examining the stamps. but this test and check of watermark is foolproof.
The Printing of the 1-1/2d
The Die 1 issues were printed using ‘Electros’, or copies of the sheets of stamps to be printed that were produced by electrolosis. Electros were not particularly strong and wear caused by the printing produced faults in the printing which required replacement. There were xx electros produced for the 1-1/2d die 1, of which xx were used to print the red colour.
The Die 2 issues were produced in a different fashion, by the manufacture of a ‘Steel Plates’ which was used to actually print the sheets of stamps. This steel die lasted a lot longer as it did not wear at the same rate of the Electros. It is interesting to note that the 1d KGV stamp was always printed with a steel plates and produced stamps in vast quantity between 1914 and 1937.
Refer to my Guide on KGV Printing to gain a greater understanding of the printing history of KGV stamps.
IssuesThere are three distinct issues of the 1-1/2d red, they are
- Die 1, Large Single watermark, perf 14 1924
- Die 2, Small Multiple watermark, perf 14 1926
- Die 2, Small Multiple watermark, perf 13.5 x 12.5 1928. A booklet plate was prepared in 1928 which included a number of inverted watermark stamps, which was part of the this issue.
It is the printing process that produces the varieties on the individual stamps. In relation to the Die 1, the vast number of electros provide a long list of constant varieties that can be collected.
Die 2, has a smaller number of more well known varieties due to the single steel printing plate that provided a longer printing life and less wear. A detail description of the major 1-1/2d red die 2 varieties will be the subject of another later article.