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1855 1d Reds Perf Die II, Alphabet II SG21, 24-26 etc (Spec. C3-C6)

Key: available; sold; temporarily unavailable; on ebay

C3-C6 SHADES: Discussions with the late Don Madden on this interesting group have confirmed a long-held suspicion of mine, that Stanley Gibbons' Specialised shades listings are somewhat misleading. With the exception of C5 (Large Crown,Perf.16), a combination which was only used sporadically for short periods, and which does not therefore show the same degree of shade variation, these groupings were in random and more or less concurrent use throughout 1855 and the first half of 1856, together with the earlier plates of the C8 Alphabet III group. They therefore show a similar range of shade variation: Deep Red-brown on very blue paper (C3(2) and C5(2) can be found also on C4 and C6 (and also C8), Orange-brown (C3(3), C6(5) and C8(5)) can also be found on C4 and (rarely) C5, Lake-brown (formerly listed as C3(4), now unaccountably dropped from the listings) can also be found, albeit rarely, on C4, C5 and C6, Brick-red is frequently seen on C3 and C6 as well as C4 and C8, Plum, though rare, can be found on C3 and C4 as well as C6 and C8, Brown-rose (C6(4) and C8(4)) can also be found, albeit rather uncommonly, on C3 and C4, and even the Deep Claret shade of C8(6) may be found occasionally on later C6 plates. SG choose to ignore the Copper-brown shades which occur, albeit rarely, on C3, C4, C6 and C8. Perhaps one of the scarcest shades of this group is the true Yellow-brown (akin to that of SG18 Spec.C1(2)), which can be found on C3 as well as C4 and C6, though very rarely in the very yellow tone of SG18. More frequent is a pale dull yellowish-brown with a slight orange tint. It is also now thought that the alleged late use of Plates 16-18 in Transitional shades on unblued paper is unsupported by sound evidence, as they were taken from press before those shades first appeared. However, they are known in Red-brown shades on White paper (as per C8A).

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Item No. SG/Spec Plate/Letters Description Price Key
SG24, SPEC.C3 (Die II Alph II, Small Crown, Perf.14)




A VFU single, WELL-CENTRED, with FULL PERFS, lightly cancelled with a Manchester '498' SIDEWAYS DUPLEX. Blur upper E, and letters misplaced low. Cat.6