Sorting out the GB 1955-58 Waterlow & DeLaRue Castle stamps?

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Alastair
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Sorting out the GB 1955-58 Waterlow & DeLaRue Castle stamps?

Post by Alastair »

I have over twenty of the GB 1955-1958 "Waterlow" castles and I would like to see if there are any De la Rue's in there.

I have the GB Concise which suggests several ways of distinguishing between the two, even without gutters/selvedge (which I don't have). However, I am left perplexed.

It may well be that all those I have are Waterlow and that, while I can see some differences, I am trying to compare apples with apples and thus missing the point.

Could someone who has both Waterlow and De le Rue printings please help me out, perhaps by posting a scan showing just what to look for???

Pretty please :?: :?: :?:

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Post by Clino »

I second the question. I am also curious about distinguishing the two printers on castle singles.

Peter

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Post by kedwaven »

Havent got round to checking mines yet as they can
be a bit of a nuisance to correctly identify, buts heres
something i came across somewhere, maybe shed a bit of light
Queen Elizabeth Castles:


The Queen Elizabeth Castles are available, for the collector, in 5 versions:

1955 Waterlow SG536-539 Watermark St Edwards Crown

1958 1st De La Rue SG5346a-539a Watermark St Edwards Crown

1959 2nd De La Rue SG595-598 Watermark Multiple Crowns

1963 Bradbury Wilkinson Watermarked Multiple Crowns SG595a-598a + 2/6d Chalky Paper

1967 Bradbury Wilkinson No Watermark SG759-762


You can see from the above list that the 1967 BW Issue is the only one easily recognisable because of its lack of watermark. The first 2 issues were complicated by the fact that from 1958 the Post Office switched printers from Waterlow to De La Rue.

Now DLR used the same die to print the stamp as Waterlow used so there is no difference in the design of the stamp. There are differences in the printers markings in the margins / gutters of sheets that allow you to readily identify the printings but who can afford to buy sheets??!!!

There are ways of telling the stamps apart, however, the Waterlow issues tend to be darker in shade, are less sharp and are usually characterised by whiskers of colour.

As a consequence DLR stamps are usually sharper, lighter and cleaner. Also the perforations of the DLR issues are closer than those of Waterlow. There are also generally difference in shades for each stamp that help with recognition:


DLR 2/6d is a warmer colour & less black

DLR 5/- is a lighter red

DLR 10/- is more of a blue colour, the Waterlow Ultramarine

DLR £1 Less intense black than the Waterlow


Now on to the 2nd De La Rue & Bradbury Wilkinson issues where, again, the problem arises with a change of printer. The first point to note is the change of watermark from St Edwards Crown to Multiple Crowns.

The basic difference is that the BW issues are more deeply engraved than the DLR showing more diadem detail and heavier lines on the Queen's face. ALSO the VERTICAL perf on BW is 11.9 to 12 the DLR issues are ALL perf 11.8.

There is also a difference in the gum between the two issues, the DLR being thicker which, reportedly, if you have Unmounted Mint versions of each stamp means that if held in tweezers and then dropped the BW will fall gum side up & the DLR gum side down. I haven't tried the latter but have it on good authority!


Please note that by far the easiest way of telling is by referencing one stamp against another from a set of "Key proofs" where the shades & other aspects mentioned are readily noticeable.

Dealers will, as part of their premium sort these out for you! As you can tell it's not an easy subject and does take some study.
Good Luck :shock: :shock:

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Post by GlenStephens »

Alastair after 30 years in stamp dealing I still have no real clue how to do it fast or accurately.

And given the huge price differences that is annoying.

The same way I can tell, from 30 years daily experience, what watermarks a 1/- Roo is from a 1 second facial glance, most UK dealers can do the same with WL and 1st DLR.

"Slightly Warmer and slightly sharper" impression might do it for them - but not for me!

I have a stockbook full around here somewhere I bought years back of used - many blocks of 4, 6 and 10 off parcels to here, and MANY have clear dates that make them one or the other with no doubt and even then they look the same to me, the £1 especially.

As the £1 is £30 or £60 each used, - picking them apart when you have many dozens is a major incentive. 8)
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Post by sherro »

Agreed. One of the hardest GB issues to identify correctly. Colour differentiation is a very subjective thing. What looks brownish black to one person can be blackish brown to another. Degrees of "intensity" can also be confused by heavy black postmarks, which most of these things have.
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Post by Alastair »

Thanks everyone for your replies!

So perhaps Gavin-h can do with Castles what Glen can do with Roos! :lol: :lol:

The SG Concise mentions the following to look for:
- paper colour (I'm sure I have one stamp with decidedly creamy colour)
- ink colour (I see a very clear difference between two £1's and think I can see a difference with one of the 5/-)
- line sharpness (even at 1200 dpi, I see nothing of interest here)
- top perf on sides smaller than other perfs. I'm not sure I understand what SG was trying to say here! :? :? (I see all perfs the same size as far as I can tell on all stamps).

Gavin, can you help :?: :?:

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Post by iomoon »

Alastair

The top left and right perfs on one printing are fat and blunt, on the other, they are thin and pointy.
Off hand, and without catalog or albums to look at, I can't remember which is which.

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Post by Alastair »

Hi Iomoon,

Haven't "seen" you around for a while! :D

Yes, SG says the top perfs on the DLR are less wide.

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Post by Greg Ioannou »

Io is right -- it is easy to sort them by simply looking at the top perf on each side. Is it thicker than the others or about the same? And I always have to look up which is which. If you are trying to sort them this way and are having trouble seeing the difference, you'll find that all the stamps you have are the common type.

I'll try to remember to post a scan when I get home.

Greg

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Post by gavin-h »

Alastair wrote:Thanks everyone for your replies!

So perhaps Gavin-h can do with Castles what Glen can do with Roos! :lol: :lol: ...

... Gavin, can you help :?: :?:
Alastair,

Sorry, I'm absolutely clueless on GB stamps :oops:

Ask me about Germany, or Project Apollo, and I can provide a passable amount of information, but GB is a complete no-no to me. I lick the back of 'em and stick 'em on envelopes and that's about it... :?

Someone like PennyBlack1840 might have more idea :!:

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Post by OttawaMike »

Left - Waterlow (1955)
Right - De La Rue (1958)
Image

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Post by Alastair »

Thanks for the scans, Mike. Would you like to comment on how you came about these distinctions?

As to the top perf, I could say it is distinctive for the 5/- and £1 for the right hand side, but not for the left ?!?!?!?

I would agree there are colour differences, but of course scans don't help so much in this area (due to computer treatment -- I am not trying to imply they are not visible when looking at the stamps themselves).

As to the line sharpness, the scans are too low res to tell (for me :( ).

I can see no paper colour differences in these scans, but that, of course, is not conclusive.

In any case, thanks for your help!

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Post by Greg Ioannou »

For me, most of them are pretty readily sortable by that top side perf. The 2/6 especially are clear. The narrow pointy perf is the common one, and the wide perf is the scarce one. Most of the stamps either have a distinctly wide perf or narrow perf on one side or the other. I'd have trouble sorting both those 5/- ones from the perfs, though.

Greg

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Post by OttawaMike »

Both the perfs and the colours are quite distinct, although the reds don't seem to give near as much contrast on my screen as they do "live".

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Post by admin »

The end perf notes that SG give I have in the past found to be near useless in sorting accurately.

If you asked 100 collectors reading those notes, to then sort the 8 above you'd have 50 wrong guesses (at least!) in my view, if you randomly mixed up the stamps.

Which is why I still have a VERY tough time looking at one set in isolation (how I usually see them) and being sure.

I agree mint especially, next to each other on a page are a different sharper look when you see them, but gee, show me one single and ask me to guess ................

Glen
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Post by PennyBlack1840 »

For those struggling to even determine which are the earlier printings, namely the Waterlow and DLR as opposed to Bradbury, there is a very simple trick for MINT stamps!

Most mint stamps of this era will 'curl' when warm as stamps do, BUT apparently the more expensive 'waterlow' /DLR curl from top to bottom, the later Bradbury printings tend to curl at the sides. I was sceptical but it really does work, the heat in the palm of your hand is sufficient to trigger the curl, just place a stamp face down in your palm.

The other factor which 'may' assist is the paper, the very early Waterlow printings were on a 'creamy' coloured paper, the DLR was always on a 'light cream' paper. Unfortunately from February 1957 Waterlow also used 'light cream' paper. This plus the overall shading characteristics are the ebst guide.

As Glen says a lot of it is experience in the same way that Aussie dealers have no problems allocating Roos to watermarks.

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Post by hughymac9 »

One needs to be very careful when buying these stamps. A couple of years ago I bought some 1st DLRs from a very reputable UK dealer. I was not convinced and sent them back. The dealer admitted he had made an error and they were Waterlows. I think you need the combination of perfs, colour and impression to be absolutely certain. Its easy (so I'm told) to reperf along the top to make Waterlows look like DLRs.

It is worth investing in a 10x magnifier. when viewed under this magnification the Waterlow has very grainy feathery wisps of colour whereas the DLR has a very precise impression.

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Post by hughymac9 »

I just tried blowing the image I posted up and unfortunately the original high resolution has been lost. So I'm not sure my post has been of any great help. If anyone wants to email me for the hi-res scans thats fine,

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Post by PennyBlack1840 »

Actually in my haste I omitted to give the single 'easiest' way to tell these two printings apart...............

The Waterlow stamps 'printing area' is ALWAYS shorter than that of the De La Rue, if you check the side by side images above this will confirm this fact for you and is the single best factor without worrying about the nuances of shade and print quality. It is a fact but not really recorded anywhere.

Hope this Helps!

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Post by hughymac9 »

Thats interesting I'll check mine tonight. What sort of difference are we talking? 0.25mm, 0.5 mm? It must be very small or everyone would use it. Do you know why there is a difference? Paper shrinkage? An interesting topic to discuss?

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Post by GlenStephens »

That is the easiest way to tell apart the Aust 1929 3d airmail Type A and scarce type B.

About ½mm difference!
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Post by hughymac9 »

Just looked at the used images and the 2/6 DLR does look taller by about 0.25 mm.

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Post by hughymac9 »

I am puzzled why the frame height difference is not mentioned in the SG specialist catalogue. I did know that the gutters between the stamps are narrower for DLRs but this isn't easy to measure reliably unless you have a vertical pair.

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Post by PennyBlack1840 »

No it is not mentioned in the specialised catalogues, but I am lucky enough to work with someone who has years of experience in GB stamp retailing and he has several little tips like this, much of which is not committed to print.

I trust his knowledge and experience more than the catalogue! It's amazing what you can pick up.

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Post by hughymac9 »

Pennyblack I dont doubt you are correct but I just checked the concise cat and it states that the same die was used by Waterlow and DLR and thus there were no changes in size ( or design) between the printers. So I wonder what caused the difference? Perhaps differences in the paper? I'll check my stamps tonight and I'll let you know if I could detect the difference

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Post by hughymac9 »

I just had a go at the measurements. With the standard ruler I have with 0.5 mm scale I couldn't measure any difference with confidence on any of the stamps I posted above.

I dont think the difference could be more than 0.1 mm or I would have detected it. In contrast I can easily measure the differences in the frame height of seahorse prints which is 0.6mm to 1 mm different
Perhaps it is easier with a magnified scale or image.


I'll have a go at magnifying the page I posted above.

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Post by hughymac9 »

I magnified the photo x3 and measured the frame height.
Results 2/6 W 6.90 cm DLR 6.98 Difference 0.8mm = 0.26 mm unmagnified
5sh W 6.95 DLR 6.98 Difference 0.3 = 0.1 mm unmagnified
10 sh W 6.92 DLR 6.94 Difference 0.2 = .06 mm unmagnified
1pound W 6.90 DLR 6.96 Difference 0.6 = 0.2 mm unmagnified

Range W 6.90-6.95 - 0.5 mm = 0.16 mm unmagnified
DLR 6.94-6.98- 0.4 mm = 0.13 mm unmagnified

Thus the trend is there for the DLR to be slightly bigger by 0.1-0.2 mm but there is some overlap in the measurements which varied by up to 0.16 mm by each printer. On this sample (acknowledging there may be image distortion by the camera lens) I would say it would be dangerous to rely on this measurement to distinguish the printers unless the stamp had dimensions at the extremes ie small waterlows or big DLRs. Hope this makes some sort of sense.

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Post by hughymac9 »

Actually I should correct myself and say the image came from a high quality scanner and not a photograph

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Post by Alastair »

Thank you all for your posts. However, I'm still a bit confused (and that's a euphamism :wink: ).

For those who says the top side perf is a good place to check, can you see a difference in the two large scans hughymac9 posted above?

If you can, then it is obviously I who doesn't know how to look at perfs. If you can't, does that imply that this difference is not always present between the stamps of the two printers, or that these two scans are of stamps of the same printer.

Thanks,
Alastair

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Post by admin »

Alastair wrote:
For those who says the top side perf is a good place to check, can you see a difference in the two large scans hughymac9 posted above?

If you can, then it is obviously I who doesn't know how to look at perfs. If you can't, does that imply that this difference is not always present between the stamps of the two printers, or that these two scans are of stamps of the same printer.
You are not alone. As I posted above, that test is near useless in many cases - and the stamps posted above bear that out!
admin wrote:The end perf notes that SG give I have in the past found to be near useless in sorting accurately.

If you asked 100 collectors reading those notes, to then sort the 8 above you'd have 50 wrong guesses (at least!) in my view, if you randomly mixed up the stamps.

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Post by hughymac9 »

I posted the two blown up 1 pound stamps to illustrate the differences in the print quality not the top perf differences.

However the top perf of the DLR is obviously narrower than the other side perfs whereas this is not the case with the Waterlow.

However I would suggest the shade and particularly the print quality should also be considered when assigning the printer.

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Post by tonymacg »

The latest (July) Gibbons Stamp Monthly has the first of a two-part specialist study of the De La Rue Castles. Don't know if it will help, but it is copiously illustrated as they used to say in the Classics.
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Post by PennyBlack1840 »

Hughmac9

They are less tall and the easiest way is to put one of each printer next to each other - its clear with the naked eye and more so under magnification.

Don't forget the paper curl difference on mint stamps also as indicated ina previous post of mine.

Peter

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Post by hughymac9 »

Peter

I have looked hard at the of the side by side used stamps in this thread. To me the only comparison where there is an obvious difference is in the 2/6 stamps. From the scan I am unable to tell which of the other stamp frames were taller just by looking at them.

I also tried measuring my own stamps directly with an accurate ruler while they were in mounts (so no curl factor there) and I couldn't measure a consistent difference. I then blew up the stamp images x3 from a single scan ( in mounts so no curl factor). Here there was a slight trend for the DLRs frames to be slightly bigger by a calculated 0.1-0.2 mm, but there was variation of 0.1-0.2 mm for each printer and some overlap in the sizes between each printer. Maybe experts can use this factor to distinguish the printers but I'd rather rely on the combination of print quality, shade and the thinner top perf on the DLR.

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Post by Clino »

Having now looked over my first-issue castles (about 40 total for all four denominations, all used), lo and behold, the differences between the two printings seem clear. For the present, anyway.

I note that the small top perf appears to be obvious on only about half the DLR's.

What seemed best was comparing the height of the printed area and the clearness of the print. The DLRs all had a much clearer and cleaner Queen's head. This was not always obvious until I used my lens to look closely. It is a particular problem on some heavily cancelled stamps.

It is odd that all four of the stamps on my album page (the "best") were DLRs!!! I suspect I chose them because the image was clearer.

This discussion was very useful and many thanks to everyone who contributed.

Peter/Clino

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Post by admin »

Well done Clino!
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Re: Plea for help with GB 1955-58 "Waterlow" castles

Post by Alastair »

It has taken a long while, but I now have a far greater "experimental population" and think I have now managed to differentiate between the Waterlow and De la Rue printings from 1955 to 1958.

I thank all those who have responded to this thread. In particular, Clino's last entry was very useful. I would also like to thank Arls1 for providing some "pre-sorted" examples, even if I don't concur with that person's findings (the person who sorted them, not Arls!) in all cases. It is certainly helpful to have a base line to work from!

I would say that the colouring can help split the stamps into two groups, but is not sufficient to say which group is which. The top perf can be very different (as indicated in SG) but from my set of stamps this is in no way conclusive as a general remark; I have stamps from both printings where I can see no difference, and others where it can be seen.

I have also seen the difference in height of the printed area and this is also useful though a bit tiresome to measure as the difference can be very small.

I would say the best differentiatior is the area at the right where the Queen's head is. With a good magnifying glass, I have found this to be the best place to look.
ImageImage
On the left/top is the Waterlow printing and on the right/lower the De la Rue. The background lines, especially around the neck and face, show the "feathering" SG mention very clearly on the WL. Also, the lines at the top of the brow are heavier on the WL.

This is not so clear at this resolution but with just a magnifying glass it seems quite evident.

I hope this helps,

Alastair

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Re: Plea for help with GB 1955-58 "Waterlow" castles

Post by PennyBlack1840 »

Sorry to repeat myself but ....

By far the easiest way to tell these issues apart is the 'height of the printed area', it is abundantly clear on the set shown towards the top of this thread, it does not need a magnifying glass, just lay one stamp on top of another and hey presto it's done in seconds, no magnifier required!

I am lucky enough to work with one of the longest serving stamp dealers in London and I have picked this tip plus others up from him and other work colleagues.

I was flummoxed by these but not any more.

Peter

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Re: Plea for help with GB 1955-58 "Waterlow" castles

Post by crosscrescent »

Am enjoying this thread and have some of these stamps. Now to go look for the differences.

Cheers
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Re: Plea for help with GB 1955-58 "Waterlow" castles

Post by Alastair »

Peter,

I think you have to take all the distinctive criteria into account and use whichever is the most appropriate in the circumstances.

For example, if you only have one stamp to hand, for me, the colour difference is useless, having nothing to comapre against. Again, the height test is useless. The perf distinction may be useful but from what I've seen, there is often nothing special to note (at least, not visible to me). But the background test as shown above will always work.

Don't get me wrong. I believe in what you are saying. The height difference between the two stamps I used in the scan above is flagrant!

Cheers,
Alastair

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Re: Plea for help with GB 1955-58 "Waterlow" castles

Post by fletches1 »

Or you could make a template from one of them, known type like this to tell Rotary from Flat Plate in the Harding issue.
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Re: Plea for help with GB 1955-58 "Waterlow" castles

Post by Alastair »

I have now sorted out all my St. Edwards Crown stamps and am happy with the result. I measured all the stamps and found from .90 to .92 inches for the Waterlow and from .91 to .92 for the DLR. So I am not convinced about using the height as a decisive factor. I still prefer judging from the background behind the Queen's head.

Now onto the Multiple Crowns watermark. I reckon the best guide is the perforations: 11.8 for DLR and 11.9 or 12 for BW. The differences in the engraving may be very difficult to judge due to eventual wear on the plates.

Below is a comparison with BW at the left and DLR at the right.
Image
The difference seems quite simple. But consider the scan below which the perforations show to be BW and DLR (left and right respectively) but the difference in detail is minimal.
Image
Thus, I suggest the perforation is the best differentiator between the DLR and BW. Of course, if there is no watermark, no problem!

Alastair

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Finchley Chris
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How to identify GB Castles High Value stamps 1955 onwards

Post by Finchley Chris »

Is there a relatively simple, step-by-step, way to identify the GB high value castle stamps from 1955 onwards? (SG 536 etc.) I don't want to be shouted at by anyone (no names) for not using a catalogue but find using the SG catalogue quite confusing. :?

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Re: How to identify GB Castles High Value stamps 1955 onward

Post by Iggy »

Hi Chris

There were 5 printings of the Wilding Castles from 1955 to 1967.

To identify them we need to separate them into 3 groups by watermark.

Edward Crown with E2R watermark
Multicrown watermark
No watermark


An E2R watermark would be printed by either 1955 Waterlow or 1958 DLR

The Multicrown would be printed by 1959 DLR or 1963 Bradbury

No watermark will always be the (SG759-762) 1967 Bradbury Print (That's the easy one :lol: )

Look for the thinner top side perf on the DLR print as compared with the thicker Waterlow. As well as a slight difference in shades the DLR printing is much finer. More noticeable on the queens head, the head is more sharp and lighter on the DLR print

Remember less expensive Waterlow has wider top perf and less sharp Queens head.

Next post will the Multiple crowns DLR and Bradbury
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Re: How to identify GB Castles High Value stamps 1955 onward

Post by Britcollector »

Thanks!

Best response to that question I have seen

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Re: How to identify GB Castles High Value stamps 1955 onward

Post by Iggy »

The 1959 DLR (SG595-598) and the 1963 Bradbury print (SG595a-598a)

The difference with the top perforation is not so noticeable between the two printers, however there is a difference in the colour shades, unmistakable on the 10/- blue.

But the easiest way to tell them apart is the quality of the print. Again the DLR print is much finer than the Bradbury print (shown on the right) The queens head is again the best place to look.

Remember the DLR print has a much finer print and the Queens head appears much sharper and lighter.

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Re: How to identify GB Castles High Value stamps 1955 onward

Post by ewen s »

Hi Chris,

In addition to Iggy's detailed examples there was also the thread below from 2008 which had some clear close-up scans relating to the Queen's head.

https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6747

I have a nice set that I got from Glen around the same time so can show the Bradbury examples (SG 759 - 762);
Image
Cheers,

Ewen

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Re: How to identify GB Castles High Value stamps 1955 onward

Post by Finchley Chris »

Iggy and Ewen, excellent, thank you. :)

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Re: How to identify GB Castles High Value stamps 1955 onward

Post by Finchley Chris »

http://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6747

Having read this thread, I think I am getting there! :roll:

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Re: How to identify GB Castles High Value stamps 1955 onward

Post by beerwagen »

Thank you for posting these excellent and instructive pictures!!! :) It is better than a thousand words.

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