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The Essays of the Queen Victoria Period

Introduction

De La Rue was awarded the contract for the one penny postage stamp on 27 June 1879.  Perkins, Bacon & Petch had played an important role  in the development of postage stamp production and dominated the industry for nearly 40 years.  It was Pekins, Bacon's security device, the engine turned background which was perhaps the determining factor in its selection to produce the one penny postage stamps. During  the course of De La Rue's tenure as the printer of Great Britain's postage stamps De La Rue too would be occupied with security.  The focus on security would  now be on the creation of fugitive ink rather than on design.  Below, I offer examples of stamps issued for both tenders.  These examples are not comphrehensive, and for further illustrations of these stamps please refer to the
Stanley Gibbons Great Britain Queen Victoria Specialized Catalog, The Postage Stamps of Great Britain, Part Three, or perhaps most useful W.A. Wiseman's The De la Rue Years 1878-1910, Volume 1 and 2.

Essays for the 1879 Tender for the 1d. Value

It seems strange that after Perkin, Bacon's long dominance of printing Great Britain's stamps that they would submit what seems at least in hind sight to a mediocure submission.  The designs are less than impressive and perhaps reveal their lack of preparidness to deal with a process outside of the line-engraved technology.  In addition to Perkins and De La Rue, submissions were made by the firms of Bradbury, Wilkinson, Waterlow, Charles Skipper & East, and McCorquadale.   Bradbury, Wilkinson and Waterlow made attractive submissions which would be familiar to collectors of the Falkland Islands,  Cape of Good Hope and Austrialian States.  Charles Skipper & East made submissions which seem like they were inpired by Camelot.   McCorquadale's submissions are not very impressive but their designs, including two dummy stamps, seem to suggest some grasp of surface printed stamp design on a practical level.  It is in the realm of postal stationary that McCorqualdale would find its nitch.

Perkins, Bacon

Proofs on card in various colors


Rough perforated and
gummed

 
Small Head Essay based upon the design by Edward
Corbould for the 6d. stamp of 1857 for Ceylon
Small Head Essay based upon the design by Edward
Corbould for the 6d. stamp of 1857 for Ceylon

 
 
Perkins ?  Proofs on card

De La Rue or Charles Skipper & East

Proof on card
Proof on card
This essay is close in resembalance to the inland revenue stamp issued
in 1868. It does not appear clear which printer submitted this design
 

McCorquodale

Proof on card
Proof on card

Essays for the 1880 Tender for the 1/2d., 1-1/2d., and 2d. Values

During this second tender,  Perkins, Bacon's attempt seems to again be half hearted.  The designs were criticized by the authorities for being too delicate in design with fine details which would not reproduce easily.  Although not as simple in design as the stamps inpsired much later during the reign of George VI,  in comparison to the other submissions, De La Rues designs seem to provide some balance of function and ornimentation.  Comparing the two printers,  De La Rue's work stands out clearly in regards to bolder heavier design best suited for the typographic printing of the time.
 

1/2d.

 
 
1-1/2d.
Perforated and gummed

 
2d.
perforated and gummed
Three Half Pence
on card

 
 

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