20c issues

1890 20c rose

1891 20c salmon


Cliché Type I, Gum Type A.

Sheets of 100 (10 x10) inscribed CORREOS  30,000 from 300 sheets issued 1 January 1890

Sheets of 100 (10 x10) inscribed CORREOS  10,000 from 100 sheets issued 1 April 1891 

The colour of these two issues are generally described as "rose” and "salmon" in modern catalogues A variety of shades exist and the two issues are similar in colour and occur in a variety of shades and consequently are easily confused.

#42 20c rose (or pale vermillion) #43 20c salmon

Duro (1890) provides the first description of the 20c issue where he describes the colour as “rose”. Mekeel (1895) and Scott (1895) both include seperate catalogue listings of a 20c “rose” issued in 1889 and a 20c “salmon” issued in 1891 (at that time the 1890 issued stamps were recorded as being issued in 1889 by Scott and Mekeel). Friederich (1894) also describes a 20c "rose" (issued 1 Jan 1890) and a 20c "brick red" (ziegelrot) issued in Spirng 1891.

Mencarini (1896) also provides a description of two separate issues and describes a 20c “rose” stamp issued on 1 January 1890 and a 20c “vermillion” stamp issued the following year on 20 April 1891.

Bartels et al (1904) and Palmer (1912) describe a wide range of colours for the 1890 issue including: “lilac-rose”, “rose-pink” and “deep rose pink” (suggesting a darker more reddish tinge than just rose) whilst the 1891 issue was described as “salmon pink” and "pale salmon pink".

It is interesting to note that the Spanish catalogues at that time did not differentiate between the two issues, perhaps reflecting the similarity between the two issues and absence of specific information from the printers. All the modern catalogues (Edifil, Scott and Stanley Gibbons) until recently described the two issues with the 1890 issue generally described as “rose” (or rosine) and the 1891 issue as “salmon”.

 Peterson (PPJ 2010-1) provided a discussion of the colour and dates of issue of the 20c issues. In his analysis Peterson suggested that although there were perhaps two printings one, “pale vermilion” and shades and the other “salmon” and shades but that they were released around the same date, 1 January 1890 and that used stamps of both are known with 1890 cancels. He also concluded that the colour "rose" did not accurately reflect any of the stamps he had inspected.

Peterson described two 1890 covers with the salmon coloured stamp (the earliest one with an 8 March 1890 receiving date).


Postally used example with 1890 cancel

Peterson (PPJ 2010-1) also noted that Palmer (1912) created a typographical error (repeated by Harradine, 1987) by recording the number of stamps issued in the 1891 issue as 100,000 instead of 10,000 as recorded originally by Mencarini.   Peterson suggested that the 1891 issue was therefore scarcer than was perhaps reflected in subsequent catalogues.

Peterson recommended that Scott’s catalogue #172 and #173 should be revised to recognise the two colours, although they should also recognise only one date of issue (1890) and the pricing should reflect their general scarcity, particularly used stamps of which the salmon shades are more difficult to find than the pale vermillion shades:

#172 20c pale vermillion $30 / $40

#173 20c salmon $40 / $65

In 2012 Scott modified the description of the 1890 issue to “pale vermillion” and in 2017 plans to remove the listing of the 1891 “salmon” entirely. The changes made by Scott were based on studies and recommendations provided by Peterson (PPJ 2010-1) and (PPJ_2017-1).

Shade varieties

However, despite Peterson’s studies the confusion has perphaps not been resolved completely and without specific colour guides to aid identification either earlier or now there remains doubts and uncertainty in the occurence and description of the two issues.

In my studues I have found that shades of "rose", "rose-rose" and "salmon-pink" are the most useful descriptors of the shades observed.

Additional notes and discussion on the shades of the 20c rose issue.

Edifil:   #86 rose ‘rosa’ (1 Jan 1890); #102 salmon  ‘salmon’ (1891-1893)          

Scott:  #172 pale vermillion (1890); #173 salmon (1890)

SG:      #169 pale rosine, thin paper (1 Jan 1890); #174 salmon (20 Apr 1891) 


Peterson, D. 2010. The Confusing 20c ROSE and 20c SALMON 'Babyhead' Issues. Philippine Philatelic Journal, vol 32 no. 1, pp 7-9.

Peterson, D. 2017. Scott #172 and #173 Merged in 2017 Scott Catalogue. Philippine Philatelic Journal, vol 39 no. 1, pp 20-21. 

1892 20c grey brown (worn plate)

1893? 20c brown (repaired plate)


Cliché Type I

Sheets of 100 (10 x10) inscribed COMUNICACIONES

1892: Gum Type A: 40,000 from 400 sheets (may also inlcude the second printing) issued 1 January 1892

1893: Gum Type B:  quantity unknown sheets probably issued 1893

Although Mencarini (1896) only reports a single issue for this 20c value there appears to be two distinct printings which can be differentiated by stamp colour, gum type and plate wear. These two printings were noted by Bartels et al (1904) and Palmer (1912).

The first printing comprises clichés that appear to be derived from a worn base plate which is most easily noted by the absence of outline colour on the right side of the oval frame. The second printing (which Palmer suggested was probably a later issue) appears to be from a plate in better condition as the oval frame is generally more intact.

The first printing can also be distinguished by a “sepia” or “grey brown” colour whereas the second printing is more chestnut “brown” in colour.

Remarkably, genuine postal used stamps of the second printing appear to be rare and none to date have been recorded (possible example dated December 1892?). 


#44 20c grey brown (1892) #45 20c brown (1893?)

Bartels et al (1902) described the colour of the first printing as “pale sepia” and the second printing as “dull greyish brown and dull brown”. Palmer (1912) similarly describes the first printing as "pale sepia" and shade varieties for the second printing as "dull brown" and "grey brown".  Shade varieties can typically be identified within the second printing.

The first printing has a gum type A, whereas the second variety is found with a gum type B. This observation suggests that the stamps from the second printing were probably issued later in 1893.

Shade varieties of the second priniting

It is noted that some of the shade varieties represented by the second printing exist on stamps utilised for the 1897 surcharges (including reprints and forgeries). However, these base stamps appear to be associated with the first printing (with Gum type A and exhibiting a worn plate).

Harradine (1987) suggested that a new plate was probably used for the second printing. However, constant flaws are noted in both printings as well as in previous and later issues of the 20c values, suggesting that the base plate comprised the same cliches although retouches appear to have been undertaken.

Colour and plate appear to match the 1893 printing, but dated December 1892.

Example of second printing with incomplete impression of the oval frame requiring colour and gum type to also be used in identification.

Bartels et al suggested that the quantity of 40,000 recorded by Mencarini for this issue may be the total quantity for both varieties. However, Palmer F later indicated that it was unknown whether the quantity included both varieties and it probably did not. It is notable that although the quantity of this issue is apparently scarcer than the 1896 20c dark violet issue (80,000) the latter issue generally commands a higher price in current day catalogues.

Of the popular modern catalogues only Stanley Gibbons lists the two varieties differentiating them on colour. Between 1903 and the 1940s/1950s Scott described two varieties based on colour (the colours described were “grey brown” and “dark brown”). The current Scott catalogue lists only a single printing.

Edifil:   #103 sepia ‘sepia’ (1891-1893)

Scott:  #174 grey-brown (1892)

SG:      #186 olive sepia (1 Jan 1892);  #186a greyish brown (1 Jan 1892)

Peterson, D. 1999. First and Second Printings of the 1890-1896 Postal Issues. Philippine Philatelic Journal, vol 21 no. 3, pp 9-15. (superseded by Peterson, 2000)

Palmer, M. 2023. The 1892/1893 20c grey brown (Scott #174) issue. Philippine Philatelic Journal, vol 45 no. 4, pp 14-16.

1894 20c dark violet


Cliché Type I, Gum Type B.

Sheets of 100 (10 x 10) inscribed CORREOS  80,000 from 800 sheets issued 1 January 1894

Colour descriptions of the 20c issue are generally “dark violet” or “deep violet”.


#46 20c dark violet

Palmer (1912) describes a “violet” shade variety (compared to the darker shade of “violet black”). 

Given the number of the 20c dark violet stamps issued then compared to other similar denomination stamps this issue generally commands a relatively high price in current day catalogues, e.g.

20c grey brown (40,000) Scott 2014: $4.00

20c dark violet (80,000) Scott 2014: $17.00

25c brown (80,000) Scott 2014: $8.50

Edifil:   #116 blackish violet ‘violeta negruzco’ (1894)

Scott:  #175 dark violet (1894)

SG:      #196 deep violet (1 Jan 1894)

1896 20c orange


Cliché Type I, Gum Type C.

Sheets of 100 (10 x 10) inscribed CORREOS 100,000 from 1,000 sheets issued 1 January 1896

Sheets of 100 (10 x 10) inscribed CORREOS 10,000 from 100 sheets issued 10 October 1896

Bartels et al (1912) record that the 20c orange stamp was issued in two batches, the first (100,000 stamps) in January 1896 with the second smaller issue (only 10,000 stamps) in October 1896. None of the contemporary authors indicate a method of distinguishing between the two issues and therefore the recording and differentiation of these two issues is more of an academic significance rather than of practical use.


#47 20c orange

Generally the colour of this issue is described as “orange” or “red orange” although Bartels et al describe shades of “orange”, “reddish orange” and “red orange”.

shade varieties 

20c orange plate proof - imperf 


Edifil:  #128 orange ‘naranja’ (1896)

Scott: #176 orange (1896)

SG:     #204 orange (1 Jan 1896)

Postal Usage


Registration "Certificado" cancel (Peterson Type 6) on 20c pale vermillion


 Correos Manila circular date stamp [February 1892] on 20c grey brown (with worn oval frame cliche)

Correos circular date stamp [11 July 1894] on 20c dark violet in majenta ink


Registration "Large R" cancel (Peterson Type 7) on 20c orange



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