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 Home  >  Resources  >  Articles  >  Iceland: Plate Varieties on Perforation 12.75 Numeral Issues
 
3 aur with Large 3: Showing three of the four AFA-listed plate varieties.
  Position 4: Colored spot in M of FRIM.
Position 16: Colored spot in A of ISLAND.
Position 17: Damaged R in FRIM.
(The fourth listed position is 53: Top frame line thinning and cut off.)
This stamp is one of the few Aur Numeral Issues printed with a 100-subject plate, thus on this stamp varieties only appear once in the sheet.
 
Iceland: Plate Varieties on Perforation 12.75 Numeral Issues
by Jay Smith

This article expands on and adds specifics to the AFA Iceland Specialized Catalog 1997 for some of the plate varieties on the underlying perforation 12.75 stamps that have been overprinted "I GILDI". The aforementioned catalog is (still) the primary catalog that lists and values plate varieties on early Icelandic stamps. However, to my knowledge, NO catalog lists or values those same plate varieties under the listings for the "I GILDI" overprinted versions of those stamps. Just to be clear, this article discusses varieties of the underlying stamps, not varieties of the overprints. The aforementioned AFA catalog usually supplies the stamp plate position when the variety only occurs once in the sheet. However, when the variety occurs four times in the sheet, as discussed below, the catalog does not provide the positions information.

Icelandic Plate Varieties are offered for sale on the Specialized Stamps pages such as Iceland 1896-1901 Perforation 13 Numerals and Iceland 1902 I GILDI Overprints.

The Icelandic phrase "I Gildi" translates to valid. The numeral-design stamps were going to be demonetized, however, their validity was extended through 1903 with the addition of the "I GILDI / '02--'03" overprint.

How the stamps were printed: In the book One Hundred Years of Icelandic Stamps, author Jon Adalsteinn Jonsson explains that for reasons of economy and expected low print volume, the Icelandic Skilling stamps were printed using only a single block of 25 clichés and that each sheet thus had to be printed four times to receive all 100 stamp impressions. This sometimes results in minor misalignment between the four quarters of the sheet and minor color intensity differences due to slightly different ink coverage. Jonsson goes on to say that the same plate-making method was used for all the aur denomination stamps (both regular postage and official) until the 50 and 100 aur bicolored stamps were issued in 1892 when plates of 100 clichés were made (and which contain a roughly equal number of normal vs inverted frames). From that point on, Jonsson says, the newly created denominations (i.e. 4 aur bicolor, 25 aur bicolor, 3 aur Large "3", and 4 aur Official) were made with plates of 100 clichés.

In the book Stamps of Iceland 1872-1904, Henry Regeling repeats the information supplied by Jonsson and further explains that the blocks of 25 clichés were usually disassembled between printings, cleaned, and reassembled in different order. Regeling defines and illustrates the cliché differences and illustrates their respective locations in the 25-block of each printing.

As noted above, the emphasis of this article is on the perforation 12.75 stamps that were subsequently overprinted "I GILDI". Most of the denominations that were thus overprinted were overprinted only on one printing of the underlying stamps. Only a few denominations of perforation 12.75 stamps received overprints on more than one printing: 3 aur "Small 3", 10 aur, and 25 aur Postage, and 3 aur Official. The 10 aur Postage and 3 aur Official thus each exist with two different arrangements of the cliché positions in the 25-block of perforation 12.75 stamps. However, the 25 aur was a 100-subject sheet and though it is widely accepted to exist in two colors varieties there was supposedly only one printing (per Regeling), thus only one plate arrangement. [Note: Because anybody could bring in stamps to be overprinted (see below), it is theoretically possible that other printings, thus other cliché arrangements could exist with overprints; any such items would be new discoveries of considerable rarity.]

The significance of the "four quarters" printing method is that any constant variety (color spot, white spot, broken line, etc.) existing in one cliché will thus occur four times in every complete sheet. At the same time, when the later-made plates of 100 contain a variety, it occurs only once in the sheet and is thus much more scarce.

How the stamps were overprinted: The overprinting was done locally in Reykjavik, 50 stamps at a time, on the top half vs bottom half of the sheet. One can thus find, between the top half and bottom halves of the sheet, joining between rows 5 and 6, variation in overprint ink intensity, horizontal overprint position, and vertical overprint position. It is always very nice to find blocks, or a full sheet, that show a significant difference between rows 5 and 6. A quantity of sheets were first overprinted on one half. Then the setup was changed and the quantity was overprinted on the other half. If the overprint type was accidentally damaged before the setup change, then a top vs bottom overprint position could look different; otherwise they should look exactly the same the same other than inking and impression differences (which can be considerable). [As an aside not relevant to this article, anybody could bring stamps to the printer to have them overprinted. The minimum overprinting quantity was apparently supposed to be 50 stamps. However, apparently it was also either permitted or just not noticed that some clever people substituted irregular stamps (what we now know as the very rare stamps) into the sheet/block being overprinted, probably by placing them on top of another stamp. This type of action is also the source of pairs of which only one stamp is overprinted.]

Icelandic Plate Varieties are offered for sale on the Specialized Stamps pages such as Iceland 1896-1901 Perforation 13 Numerals and Iceland 1902 I GILDI Overprints.
 

3 aur "Large 3" Perforation 12.75
Unoverprinted stamp: Scott #22, Facit #21, AFA #22
Plate of 100 clichés first printed in 1901. Each variety occurs in only ONE position.
4 Colored spot in M of FRIM.
16 Colored spot in A of ISLAND.
17 Damaged R in FRIM.
53 Top frame line thinning and cut off.

5 aur Perforation 12.75
Unoverprinted stamp: Scott #24, Facit #23, AFA #13B
Plate of 25 clichés. Each variety occurs in FOUR positions.
1, 6, 51, 56 Dent in upper frame line, cut off upper right corner, dent in lower frame.
32, 37, 82, 87 Left frame line bends inward at top and bottom.
34, 39, 84, 89 Cut off lower left corner, upper left corner dented on left side.
33, 38, 83, 88 Short right leg of A of ISLAND (can be hard to recognize).
?? Right and left frame lines bend inward. AFA lists this under the perforation 12.75 stamp, referring back to the perforation 14 x 13.5 stamp, however, however I have not observed it on a perforation 12.75 stamp.

6 aur Perforation 12.75
Unoverprinted stamp: Scott #25, Facit #24, AFA #7B
Plate of 25 clichés. Each variety occurs in FOUR positions.
1, 6, 51, 56 White spot in front of POST, dent in right frame line near AUR, scratches in lower left corner.
5, 10, 55, 60 Small colored spot under N of ISLAND, dent in right frame line.
33, 38, 83, 88 Lower frame line dented under FRI and thinning to the right.
42, 47, 92, 97 Thin right frame line, lower frame line dented under IM (hard to see on positions 92 & 97).
?? Dent in right and lower frame lines near right corner.
AFA lists this under the perforation 12.75 stamp, referring back to the perforation 14 x 13.5 stamp, however, however I have not observed it on a perforation 12.75 stamp.

10 aur Perforation 12.75
Unoverprinted stamp: Scott #26, Facit #26, AFA #8B
Plate of 25 clichés. Each variety occurs in FOUR positions.
Both Printings 8 & 9 were overprinted. Between printings 8 and 9, the 25-block was disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled in different order. THE CLICHÉ POSTIONS LISTED BELOW ARE FOR PRINTING 9.
2, 7, 52, 57 White spot in oval band at center right, dents in upper right frame line.
Right frame line dented near top.
AFA #8By gives this description and says "several varieties"; there are in fact 9 distinct variations, in the following positions (each line are the four positions of the identical variety):
3, 8, 53, 58
4, 9, 54, 59
5, 10, 55, 60
12, 17, 62, 67
13, 18, 63, 68
21, 26, 71, 76
22, 27, 72, 77
32, 37, 82, 87
43, 48, 93, 98
Color spot at top of left leg of N.
AFA #8Bz gives this description and says "2 different types". They are:
Position 11, 16, 61, 66: Color spot at top of right leg of N.
Position 25, 30, 75, 80: Color spot at top of left leg of N. AFA illustrates this type.
45, 50, 95, 100 Split left frame by S of POST.
?? Dent in upper frame line near left corner, cut in outside of oval band at center right.
AFA lists this under the perforation 12.75 stamp, referring back to the perforation 14 x 13.5 stamp, however, however I have not observed it on a perforation 12.75 stamp. Regeling confirms that this cliché was NOT used for printing any of the perforation 12.75 stamps.

20 aur Perforation 12.75
Unoverprinted stamp: Scott #47, Facit #28, AFA #14B
Plate of 25 clichés. Each variety occurs in FOUR positions.
22, 27, 72, 77 Upper left corner cut off and white spot in front of ISLAND.
24, 29, 74, 79 Broken right frame line near bottom.
35, 40, 85, 90 Two blurred white spots after D of LAND.
42, 47, 92, 97 Break in lower frame line under ST.

25 aur Perforation 12.75
Unoverprinted stamp: Scott #29, Facit #29a & 29b, AFA #21 & 21A
First printing with Greenish Blue center; Second printing with Clear Blue center. Same varieties exist on both.
Plate of 100 clichés first printed in 1900. Each variety occurs in only ONE position.
7 Oval worn/damaged on right side (hard to see on the first printing).
44 "ISLAVD" (damaged N).

40 aur Perforation 12.75
Unoverprinted stamp: Not regularly issued and is a rarity. Scott #--, Facit #30, AFA #15B.
Plate of 25 clichés. Each variety occurs in FOUR positions.
Due to the rarity of the unoverprinted perforation 12.75 stamps (ca. 50 printed), AFA does not list any plate varieties. Two, possibly three, of the varieties AFA lists for the perforation 14 x 13.5 stamps are present on the overprinted perforation 12.75 stamps, however, they appear in different plate positions (thus indicating that the 25-block was disassembled and reassembled in different order). The following varieties and positions are based on my observations of the overprinted stamps.
5, 10, 55, 60 Right frame line bent inward at bottom.
21, 26, 71, 76 Top frame line broken near left corner (much more obvious in positions 71 & 76). Probably same as AFA variety #15y.
32, 37, 82, 87 Dent in top frame line above L. Very likely same as AFA variety #15x.
35, 40, 85, 90 Weak upper left corner. Potentially same as AFA variety #15æ, however, AFA's illustration (which were sometimes "created artwork" rather than scanned from actual stamps) shows a completely open corner.

50 aur Perforation 12.75
Unoverprinted stamp: Scott #30, Facit #31, AFA #16B
Plate of 100 clichés first printed in 1901. Each variety occurs in only ONE position. I did not observed any notable varieties when examining a full sheet of overprinted stamps.
none AFA lists a variety: '0' in value circle partially color filled. However, I have not observed this variety on any perforation 12.75 stamps (including a full sheet of overprinted stamps). It is possible that the perforation 12.75 variety listing was accidentally copied from the perforation 14 x 13.5 listing without confirming that it exists on the perforation 12.75 stamps.

Official 5 aur Perforation 12.75
Unoverprinted stamp: Not regularly issued and is a rarity. Scott #--, Facit #TJ12, AFA #TJ4B
Plate of 25 clichés. Each variety occurs in FOUR positions.
Due to the rarity of the unoverprinted perforation 12.75 stamps (only a few examples known), AFA does not list any plate varieties. The following varieties are based on AFA's variety listings for the perforation 14 x 13.5 stamps; the positions are based on my observations of overprinted perforation 12.75 stamps.
1, 6, 51, 56 Left frame dented above U.
4, 9, 54, 59 Lower frame line dent under R.
15, 20, 65, 70 Lower left corner cut/broken (illustration in AFA shows corner missing, but that is probably wrong).
34, 39, 84, 89 Upper and lower right corners rounded.
42, 47, 92, 97 Lower frame line thin under A.
?? Lower frame dented under 5 and cut to right of R.
AFA lists this variety under the perforation 14 x 13.5 stamp, however, however I have not observed it on a perforation 12.75 overprinted stamp.

Official 10 aur Perforation 12.75
Unoverprinted stamp: Scott #O12, Facit #TJ13, AFA #TJ5B
Plate of 25 clichés. Each variety occurs in FOUR positions.
25, 30, 75, 80 "String of pearls" below ISLAND.
35, 40, 85, 90 Cuts in left frame line.
41, 46, 91, 96 Lower frame line dented below 10 and near left corner.
42, 47, 92, 97 Lower left corner cut off.

Official 20 aur Perforation 12.75
Unoverprinted stamp: Not regularly issued and is a rarity. Scott #--, Facit #TJ14, AFA #TJ7B
Plate of 25 clichés. Each variety occurs in FOUR positions.
Due to the rarity of the unoverprinted perforation 12.75 stamps (only a few examples known), AFA does not list any plate varieties. The following varieties are based on AFA's variety listings for the perforation 14 x 13.5 stamps; the positions are based on my observations of overprinted perforation 12.75 stamps.
14, 19, 64, 69 Split upper frame line toward left.
24, 29, 74, 79 Lower frame line broken below AU.
35, 40, 85, 90 "String of pearls" below ISLAND.
43, 48, 93, 98 Cuts in upper frame line.

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