Perhaps Tapling and Hughes-Hughes etc, were friends of Ormond Hil
He clearly had a documented proven history of actively soliciting STAMP FREEBIES from Perkins Bacon, just BEFORE Plate 77 was made, of known to be VERY valuable stamps for “two or three of my friends who are collectors.”
Ormond Hill, as early as 1861 (that we have written records of - just BEFORE Plate 77 was made!) made the following ‘irregular’ requests from Perkins Bacon, as outlined in Percy De Worms work “Beginning of the End”
which offer clear evidence that firstly, serious stamp collecting was certainly being practised at that time, and secondly, that irregular transactions were taking place for collectors via ''friends in high places''.
The more I read of the background and official records, the more convinced I am, that the MINT Plate 77 copies were distributed by Ormond Hill to buddies.
The obvious images we have of used copies like 'PH' that do not
match the mint copies in their '77' lettering, and none of them matching the roller die, points to other Funny Business of some kind going on.
Request made by Ormond Hill on the 18/4/1861
“Two or three of my friends who are collectors of Postage Stamps have asked me to procure for them specimens of new or uncommon stamps whenever I have it in my power.”
To which J B Bacon replied on the 24/4/1861:
“in reply I beg to state that I shall have much pleasure in complying with your request.”
This request asks for ‘uncommon’ stamps which clearly implies that collectors at that time understood their importance and value. Clearly, and very worryingly, Messrs Perkins Bacon were ready to oblige Mr Hill!
Leading Barrister William Hughes-Hughes, mentioned above, had an unused ‘Plate 77’ stamp in his collection - formed while these stamps were current, a most ‘uncommon’ stamp, and he states it was obtained for nothing "through influential connections"
.... was he one of Ormond Hill’s ‘friends’?
Request made by Ormond Hill on the 24/4/1861
“I do not wish to give you the trouble of printing specially for me on any account.”
This request is of great interest in that, did it imply that if Ormond Hill desired it, Perkins Bacon would have printed stamps especially for him?
Request made by Ormond Hill on the 1/11/1861
“I desired specimens for an Official collection and entirely for an official purpose.”
Ormond Hill's requests for Special Stamps from Perkins Bacon of course lost Perkins Bacon the entire Crown Agents account to Da La Rue - FOREVER
, when PB obligingly reprinted early imperfs from the Colonies in blocks of 6, to give to Ormond Hill AT HIS SPECIFIC REQUEST, for his stamp collecting buddies.
PB applied a 'CANCELLED' handstamp to them, and SG list them for around £15,000 apiece these days.
Hill gave these to friends, and when the ''You Know What''
hit the fan, Ormond Hill then slithered back to the corny story they were in fact for an ''Official Collection''. Despite his earlier letter asking these to be supplied to him, stating they were for “two or three of my friends who are collectors”.
I have in stock the very finest Ormond Hill ''CANCELLED''
6d NSW Imperf in stock (above - the Royal Collection example is very badly damaged) indeed it was printed from the ORIGINAL PB plates - 15 years after
it was issued! So 'Funny Business'
most certainly did go on with Perkins Bacon and Ormond Hill, deliberately and knowingly creating very valuable things for collectors, and Hill's buddies - that much is crystal clear, and is very clearly detailed in the official correspondence.
For most of these Ormond Hill 'CANCELLED' reprints, only 4 examples exist, and one of those is usually in Royal Collection, but that is not always the case.
NSW 1854-60 6d Diadem Imperforate Plate Proof in Dull Brown without watermark, and with portion of 'CANCELLED' obliteration from Perkins Bacon. Position 6 from the block of 6 of these famous specimens prepared in 1861 for presentation to members of the Hill family. Ex 'Manwood' and Jaffe. Invoiced for $A20,000 at Jaffe sale in 2005, when the full SG cat for this was just £5,500. Today's SG is 3 times higher at £16,000.
Six examples each of the so-called 'Ormond Hill Specimens'
were produced by Perkins Bacon for all of 'their' many Colonies, at the request of Ormond Hill, Rowland Hill's nephew and gifted to him, an action that resulted in the Agent for the Crown Colonies terminating Perkins Bacon's printing contracts, and demanding they hand back all printing plates and material they held.
The 'CANCELLED' handstamp was applied to blocks of 6 that were later separated, often with scissors or a blade, resulting in many of the individual stamps being cut-into or having trimmed perfs on one or more sides or being even worse damaged. (NB: for NSW, no issued stamps were available, so Plate Proofs retained by the printers Perkins Bacon were utilised - of which this is one)