If you have any comments abour the site, questions, information or anything else relating to these issues, please contact me.

Contact details can be found on the contact page.



Printing Processes

There are two main processes that I intend to outline here.


The first covers the wet printing and dry printing methods.


The second is what we will refer to as double plate and single plate printings.



Wet and Dry Printings Methods


The stamps were all produced by De La Rue of London. Initially they printed stamps on wet paper, which then had to be gummed after the paper had dried. In 1934 De La Rue changed their method to printing on dry pre-gummed paper. So all of the stamps from the 1907, 1908 and 1916 issues were printed using the 'wet' method, some values of stamps from the 1924 issue can be found that had been produced using either method, whilst stamps from the 1947 issue were entirely printed using the 'dry' method.

The shrinkage of the damp paper was considerable. It created a difference in size of almost a millimetre between stamps produced using the 'wet' method once dried and stamps produced using the 'dry' printing method.


Below I have overlaid a strip of the two types of printing so that you can see the differences in size.



One further result of the change to printing on dry paper was that the perforating comb that De La Rue had started to use no longer fitted the sheet of stamps, so De La Rue had to change to use line perforation.


Examples of comb and line perforated blocks of stamps are shown below.




Double Plate and Single Plate Printings.


Initially these stamps were recess printed by Thomas De La Rue from one central vignette plate and eleven separate duty plates, one for each value. These are known as double plate printings.


In 1911 the change to printing from double to single plates was made. The single plates were produced from a master plate without the value, with the value then being engraved on each plate. Eventually, only the higher values were printed from two plates.


In the 1908 issue, the 1c and 3c were initially printed from double plates: i.e. border and vignette plates, but from 1911 they were printed from single plates. These single plate printings can be distinguished from the double plate printings by examining the bottom line of printing of the central vignette.




In the original double plate printing (I) the lower line of shading on the water is dotted, whereas on the single plate printing (II) the dotted line is omitted.



There is little difference between the catalogue values of the two types of 1c stamp, but the on the 3c the single plate printed stamp is far scarcer than the double printed one.


Examples of the stamps are shown below.