ALFONSO XIII - BABY HEAD stamps of the PHILIPPINES

Details

Identification of Colours and Shade Varieties

Colours in Catalogues

First perhaps some words of caution when trying to identify colours decribed in colours - this is what the authors had to say in their introductions when it comes to colour.

 

Mencarini (1896):

I must confess the laborious work that has taken me to describe the colors of these issues is because the same inks have been used in identical values for different years and there being no other way to describe the stamp, I have had to stick to the headings that the whole sheets carry.

 

Batels, Palmer and Foster (1904):

...thanks are due to Mr Foster for the method of arrangement and the enumberation of the various shades in which the different stamps exist.

 

Palmer (1912):

... the writer has, in the following list of and notes upon the Philippines issues, given as main varieties those which, in his opinion, should be included in even the simplest general collection; but, as this list is also intended for the use of those who may desire to specialize to a greater or less degree, he has also given. as sub-varieties, all marked differences in shade or color, minor varieties, and types and varieties in the surcharges.

 

It will be noted that there were in all six issues of the 5 C. in various shades of green, as follows: Three issues for UNION GENERAL POSTAL (1892, 1894 and 1896); two issues for CORREOS (1891 and 1894), and one for COMUNICACIONES (1892). Scott's Catalogue lists all of these under two numbers (155 and 173), which leaves the others to be considered as shades merely. Study of dated cancellations, shades, paper and gum, and comparison with other stamps of the various issues, permits of assignment of individual copies to their proper issues with what is believed to be great accuracy. It is admitted, however, that it is impossible to do this through mere description of the color shade, as this varies considerably in the same issue, especially where it was a large one.

 

Tips for identifying colours and shades

Different shades exist in all of the Alfonso XIII babyhead series. These exist due to different 'printings' of the same stamp were created using inks that were similar in colour but not an exact match, during printing inks may have become dry, inks may even have been provided by different suppliers. There certainly was no computer controlled colour matching available and the overall process was very imprecise. Secondary influences also take their toll, in particular poor storage and tropicalisation due to the effects of high humidity.

 

When reviewing colours and shades I recommend ignoring stamps which have been affected by toning and those which display an overly brownish coloured paper. I also avoid mint stamps with no gum as it is likely that they have been affected by moisture in some form. The colour variations in stamps that have been caused by poor storage are therefore not reliable.

 

I recommend comparing stamps against each other rather than trying to match against a colour description from a catalogue. The colours used in different catalogues are often subjective and many have been adopted or adapted from translations of the orginal language. Accumuluate as many examples of the same stamp as possible and lay these out on either black and/or white paper under good daylight. I use a daylight lamp to provide a reliable and consistent light source. By comparing a large assortment against each other the contrasting shades are easier to pick out and the stamps can then be sorted into groups accordingly to reflect the main differences. You may also use gum type to further divide the stamps especially the 5c green varieties.  When sorting the stamps ignore any catalogue descriptions. Once sorted you can then try to describe what is different between the shades, sometimes using a colour chart (the Stanley Gibbons chart is relatively easy to obtain and is aimed for the use of stamp collectors. The colours used are based largely on the British Colour Council’s Dictionary of Colour, but the colour descriptions are those thought to be most familiar with stamp collectors) or you can simply just select examples of the typical shades and leave it at that.

 

For my purposes I like to note a distinct shade variety where it perhaps represents a point of interest regarding the printing and/or is notably different. Other shade varietes are simply the natural variations caused by the process of printing.

 

The following list includes some notes on the main shade varieties that I find useful to consider:

1c blue green
There is quite a range of shades associated with the 1896 blue green issue. It is often reported that a darker shade was issued later that same year although given the range of shades that exist identification of a dark blue green shade representative of the later printing is far from certain. However, notable shade varieties are therefore interesting to record in this respect.
  1c blue green
Cliche Type II
Gum Type C
1c blue green
(dark blue green shade)
Cliche Type II
Gum Type C
2c claret
The 1890 and 1894 printings of the 2c claret stamps can generally be distinguished based colour shade or pigmentation of the ink. However, the gum type (and in some instances cliche type) is a more reliable method to differentiate the printings.

The 1890 2c claret issue is an exception to the rule regarding ignoring discoloured paper as this issue appears to include examples which were printed on yellowish paper.
 
  2c dark claret
Cliche Type I
Gum Type A
2c claret
Cliche Type I
Gum Type B
2c violet
The 1892 2c violet is also found in a pale violet shade. The pale violet shade is associated with sheets with the inscription "UNION GENERAL POSTAL" where as the more common violet shade is found on sheets inscribed "COMUNICACIONES". Based on changes made to the cliches that make up the sheet, the pale violet shade was printed first
  2c pale violet
Cliche Type II
Gum Type A
2c violet
Cliche Type II
Gum Type A
2 4/8c olive grey
The 1892 2 4/8c olive grey exists in a wide range of shades and the grey olive shade is often noted to contrast the difference (although there are also grey shades). This stamp is known in different plate settings with cliches repaired or replaced and there are reports of an 1894 printing. However, currently it does not appear to be possible to differentiate printings or plate settings based on colour as the shade varieties are known to occur in the different plate settings.
  2 4/8c olive grey
Cliche Type I
Gum Type A


2 4/8c olive grey
(grey olive shade variety)
Cliche Type I
Gum Type A

5c green
There are four issues of the 5c green, two in 1892 and two in 1894. While the 1892 and 1894 issues can be differentiated by gum types the only reliable way to differentiate the two 1892 and the two 1894 issues are if sheets include the top sheet inscription.

While some catalogues attribute shades to each of the four issues in reality there is great variety within each issue and even examples of the 1894 issues (distinguished by gum type) can appear to be similar to the 1892 shades.

However, examples are provided here to represent some of the typical shades that are referred to.
  5c green
(light chrome green shade)
Cliche Type I
Gum Type A
5c green
(sage green shade)
Cliche Type I
Gum Type A
 
  5c green
(very pale green shade)
Cliche Type I
Gum Type B
5c green
(pale green shade)
Cliche Type I
Gum Type B
6c violet brown
The 1892 6c violet brown is also found in a pale violet brown shade. Two plate settings are known for the 6c issue where the cliches appear in different positions and the pale violet shade is associated with sheets of the setting that was most likely printed first.
  6c violet brown
Cliche Type II
Gum Type A
6c violet brown
(pale violet brown shade variety)
Cliche Type II
Gum Type A
6c carmine rose
A range of shades exist for the 1896 6c carmine rose. It is reported that a darker shade was issued later that same year. Notable shade varieties are therefore interesting to record in this respect.
   
  6c carmine rose
Cliche Type II
Gum Type C
6c carmine rose
(dark carmine rose shade)
Cliche Type II
Gum Type C
 
10c pale claret
There are notable shade varieties within the 1891 and 1892 pale claret issues and also the 1894 10c claret issue and attention is needed to avoid confusion. Indeed the 1891 so-called pale claret issue appears to be a closer shade to the 1894 claret issue. In practice the 1891 pale claret issue is easiest identified by the presence of a datable cancellation.

The 1892 pale claret and 1894 claret are best differentiated using the gum types before considering shade varietes.
 
  10c 'pale claret' 
(claret shade)
Cliche Type I
semi-transparent paper
clear gum

10c pale claret
Cliche Type I
Gum Type A

12 4/8c yellow green
The 1890 12 4/8c yellow green includes a distinct green shade variety. Indeed most used stamps are of this shade and based on constant flaws it appears to represent an early phase of the printing.
  12 4/8c yellow green
Cliche Type I
Gum Type A
 12 4/8c yellow green
(green shade variety)
Cliche Type I
Gum Type A
20c rose/20c salmon
The shades of the 1890 20c rose and 1891 20c salmon have always been difficult for the average collector to distinguish. Recently the Scott catalogue deleted the 20c salmon and changed also changed the description of the 20c rose to 20c pale vermillion, which has served to add further confusion.

Additional notes and discussion on the shades of the 20c rose issue.
  20c rose
Cliche Type I
Gum Type A
20c rose
(salmon shade variety)
Cliche Type I
Gum Type A
25c dull blue
Colour can be a useful indication of the 1891 and 1892 25c dull blue printings although other indicators should also be used.
  25c dull blue 
Cliche Type I
semi-transparent paper
clear gum
25c pale dull blue
Cliche Type I
Gum Type A

1/8c, 1m and 2m pale green
It is often reported that a darker shade of these stamps were issued in 1893. Notable shade varieties are therefore interesting to record in this respect.
  2m pale green
Cliche Type I
Gum Type A
2m green
Cliche Type I
Gum Type A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Details

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