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NOTES ON THE 2d ADMIRALS

Images used with permission Stephen Reah-Johnson. 

Descriptions include abbreviated renderings of the fuller text: "The Colours and Printings of the 2d Admiral" by Stephen Reah-Johnson (RSCJ 245 - December, 2012).

Where the Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is not listed for 'variants', a measured estimate is included in proportion to known scarcity of the stamp.  This is more of a working estimate than definitive.

Where the term 'proposed SG number' is used, this must be understood as being a more workable and plausible classification rather than a status awaiting final Stanley Gibbons approval.

SG 209  Grey Black & Grey Black (shades)

Die I, Plate 1, State 1, Perf. 14

The King's white ear alone is enough to identify this printing.  The head color is between Black and Grey Black.  The portrait ink prints a clear image, which is not very dense, nor does it show through on the back.  The gum is smooth, shiny, opaque, and a slightly cream color.  The frame has a considerable range of shades (see below).  The ink in all shades is solid and even, without spots, but never shiny. 

SG Cat. Value: Mint £9.50
SG Cat. Value: Used £6.50

scan2aDie102

SG 209  Grey Black & Grey Black (shades)

Die I, Plate 1, State 1, Perf. 14

The head color is more Grey Black than Black (above). Both have a Greyish Brown frame color.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £9.50
SG Cat. Value: Used £6.50

 

 

 

scan2adie103

SG 209  Grey Black & Grey Black (shades)

Die I, Plate 1, State 1, Perf. 14

Black head and an Agate (deeper Brownish Grey) frame

SG Cat. Value: Mint £9.50
SG Cat. Value: Used £6.50

 

 

 

scan2adie104

SG 209  Grey Black & Grey Black (shades)

Die I, Plate 1, State 1, Perf. 14

Black head and Grey Black frame. 

This group of stamps is not uncommon, whether mint or used.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £9.50
SG Cat. Value: Used £6.50

 

 

SG 219 (P. 14) & SG 244 (P. 15) Black & Grey Black

Die II, Plate 1R, State 1 (A)

There are two shades: (A) & (B) (below).  In (A), the head is quite "Black".  The ink is slightly shiny.  In (A), there is no sign of the head on the reverse, and only a faint suggestion of the frame.  The gum is opaque and creamy.  In (A), the frame color is Grey Black. On both, the ink is solid, without spottiness and prints a clear image.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £13.00 (219) £6.00 (244)
SG Cat. Value: Used £2.50 (219)  £6.00 (244)

SG 219 (P. 14) & SG 244 (P. 15) Black & Grey Black

Die II, Plate 1R, State 1 (B)

In (B), the head is closer to Grey Black, but still darker than Die I.  The ink is slightly shiny.  The gum is more transparent, less creamy, and both frame and head can be seen, though still rather obscure.  The frame color is a shade lighter than Grey Black.  Both A & B are perhaps the most common of the 2d. Admiral - both mint and used. 

SG Cat. Value: Mint £13.00 (219) £6.00 (244)
SG Cat. Value: Used £2.50 (219)  £6.00 (244)

SG (219)  Black & Brownish Black

Die II, Plate 1R, State 2?, Perf. 14

Similar to (A) & (B) above, but the head color is lighter. Also, the contrast of light and dark areas is less pronounced, and the inking is less dense, without shininess.  It does not show through on the reverse at all.  Neither frame nor paper mesh show through.  The frame ink is solid. The gum is semi-transparent, either not at all cream-colored, or only slightly cream-colored.    

SG Cat. Value: Mint £13.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £2.50

SG (219)  Black & Brownish Black (shade)

Die II, Plate 1R, State 2?, Perf. 14

Frame shades exist ranging from 'Black' to 'Brownish Black', and there is also an 'Agate' variant. Both print a clear distinct image, without spottiness. This printing seems to be a little scarcer than SG 219, but the two are often hard to distinguish. 

Est. Value: Mint £14.00
Est. Value: Used £3.00

 

SG 220  Grey Black & (pale) Blackish Brown

Die II, Plate 4, State 1 (A), Perf. 14

Both head and frame are paler than any other Die II 2d. In this shade, the color of the head has a greenish nuance, and shows on the reverse. The gum is creamy and semi-transparent, still shiny and fairly smooth with small shallow fractures. The head is clear, but not at all dense and shows almost no contrast between light and dark areas.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £40.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £5.00

SG 220  Grey Black & (pale) Blackish Brown

Die II, Plate 4, State 1 (B), Perf. 14

In this shade, the color of the head has a brownish nuance. The gum is more opaque, more yellow, rougher and the head is not at all visible, but the frame shows through more than does the frame on (A). The frame color is more greyish than 'Blackish Brown' (not on the color key). Both shades are scarce mint but common used.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £40.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £5.00

Pl4Die2State2

SG 220  Grey Black & (silvery tarnish) Blackish Brown

Die II, Plate 4, State 2, Perf. 14

Immediately identifiable by its 'crackly' gum - thick, yellowish to brownish, opaque and deeply fissured to the extent that the paper of the stamp wrinkles. Neither the head nor the frame are visible on the reverse.  The frame color is lighter than 'Blackish Brown', almost having a 'Slate Purple' nuance. Scarce mint, but somewhat common used. 

SG Cat. Value: Mint £40.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £5.00

SG (219)  Grey Black & Brownish Black

Die II, Plate 5, State 2? (A), Perf. 14

Plate 5 has the tell-tale thickening of the coat cross-hatching line tips on most plate positions. The head now shows some contrast between light and dark areas. Head and frame show through only slightly on back. In (A), the gum is very opaque, thicker and more cream-toned. The frame color is between 'Grey Black' and 'Brownish Black'.

Est. Value: Mint £20.00
Est. Value: Used £5.00

Pl5Die2State2B

SG (219)  Grey Black & Brownish Black

Die II, Plate 5, State 2? (B), Perf. 14

On B, the gum is thinner, not creamy at all and more transparent and the head is more visible. The frame color on (B) is browner and deeper, and judging by head texture it might be a later printing. In fact, the less dense head texture is a hallmark of Plate 5 printings. Considered uncommon in both mint and used. 

Est. Value: Mint £20.00
Est. Value: Used £5.00

 

Proposed SG 254c  (Deep) Black & Brownish Grey

Die IIIA, Plate 3R, State ?, Perf. 14

Characteristic deeply-inked, intense black heads. The frame is the palest of all the 2d.'s. The gum is thick, rough, somewhat toned, and fractures in midde sized pieces of medium depth. Neither head, frame nor mesh can be seen through the gum. The frame color is monochromatic and prints a clear image.

Est. Value: Mint £2,000.00
Est. Value: Used £25.00

PL3RDie3AshadeB

Proposed SG 254c  (Deep) Black & Brownish Grey (shade)

Die IIIA, Plate 3R, State ?, Perf. 14

A shade of the above. Both are extremely rare mint (only a handful of copies known) and scarce used. 

Est. Value: Mint £2,000.00
Est. Value: Used £25.00

 

 

Proposed SG 254b  Grey Black & Black (shades)

Die IIIA, Plate 6 (A), State ?, Perf. 14

Characterized by what appears to be underinked heads, which are only faintly visible on the reverse. The gum is toned, somewhat opaque, rough in texture, and fractures into a mosaic pattern of small pieces. The contrast of dark and light in the frame details is diminished or absent. 

Est. Value: Mint £25.00
Est. Value: Used £5.00

PL6Die3AshadeA2

Proposed SG 254b  Grey Black & Deeper Brownish Grey (shades)

Die IIIA, Plate 6 (A), State ?, Perf. 14

A shade of the above, and far more common. 

Est. Value: Mint £25.00
Est. Value: Used £3.00

 

 

 

Proposed SG 254b  Grey Black & Black

Die IIIA, Plate 6 (B), State ?, Perf. 14

The heads are of (B) and (C) are not as dark as the above (A) and not as densely defined. Like (A), the head image is faintly visible on the reverse. The gum on (B) is more transparent, smoother, sometimes shows faint horizontal streaks. The frame color is more 'Black' (without a brownish nuance), and there is little shade variation, but the contrast of light and dark areas is more pronounced.  

Est. Value: Mint £15.00
Est. Value: Used £6.00

PL6Die3aShadeC

Proposed SG 254b  Grey Black & Black

Die IIIA, Plate 6 (C), State ?, Perf. 14

(C) is a subshade of (B). The gum is white, more transparent still than (B), and the paper mesh can be seen. In (C), the frame color is a pure, rather cold color on very white paper. On both (B) and (C), the inadequacy of portrait definition is more noticeable.

Est. Value: Mint £15.00
Est. Value: Used £6.00

 

SG 256  Black & Black (shades)

Die IIIB, Plate 7, State 1 (A), Perf. 14

Readily recognized by the rather "squat" appearance of the portrait. A wide range of shades (see below) suggests more than one printing. The head is clearly detailed and full of fine details and fits closest with the SG color key 'Grey Black', sometimes with a bluish nuance. The frame is usually lighter than the portrait, and sometimes with nuances of blue, purple or brown.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £10.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £3.50

PL7Die3Bscan2

SG 256  Black & Black (shades)

Die IIIB, Plate 7, State 1 (A), Perf. 14

In all the shades, there is very little show through of the portrait on the reverse or none. On most examples, the gum is opaque, relatively smooth to somewhat rough, with shallow fractures into a mosaic pattern. The image to the left shows a brown nuance to the frame color.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £10.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £3.50

PL7Die3Bscan3

SG 256  Black & Black (shades)

Die IIIB, Plate 7, State 1 (A), Perf. 14

A lighter, more greyish nuance to the frame color

SG Cat. Value: Mint £10.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £3.50

 

 

 

PL7Die3Bscan4

SG 256  Black & Black (shades)

Die IIIB, Plate 7, State 1 (A), Perf. 14

A lighter purplish nuance to the frame color.  All four shades represented above are considered common mint and used.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £10.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £3.50

 

 

SG 256  Black & Black (shades)

Die IIIB, Plate 7, State 1 (B), Perf. 14

In State 1 (B), the portrait is coaser but still well inked, even more heavily inked. The frame color is within the spectrum from 'Black' to 'Grey Black', without nuances of other colors. The gum is the same as A (above). As with A, these stamps are common mint and used.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £10.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £3.50

PL7Die3Bstate1Bb

SG 256  Black & Black (shades)

Die IIIB, Plate 7, State 1 (B), Perf. 14

The 'Grey Black' frame color.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £10.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £3.50

 

 

 

SG 256  Black & Black (shades)

Die IIIB, Plate 7, State 1 (C), Perf. 14

In (C), the portrait is now very worn looking; both it and the frame tend to be the same shade of 'Grey Black', almost always paler than (A) and (B) above, sometimes very pale (see below). Some darker examples of (C) have a gum that is shiny and more transparent than others in this group.

Est. Value: Mint £40.00
Est. Value: Used £7.00

PL7Die3Bstate1Cb

SG 256  Black & Black (shades)

Die IIIB, Plate 7, State 1 (C), Perf. 14

It appears that (C) is rather scarce.

At this point, the plate is in need of re-entry, which leads us to Plate 7, State 2. 

Est. Value: Mint £40.00
Est. Value: Used £7.00

 

 

SG 255  Grey Black & Grey (shades)

Die IIIB, Plate 7, State 2, Perf. 14

With the re-entries, there is more uniformity in the quality of the portrait; there is also less tendency for the portrait to be off center relative to the frame of the stamp. There is an extensive range of frame colors (see below). The portrait occasionally has a bluish factor which is sometimes pronounced.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £16.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £6.50

PL7Die3Bstate2b

SG 255  Grey Black & Grey (shades)

Die IIIB, Plate 7, State 2, Perf. 14

A deeper 'Brownish Grey' nuance to the frame. On the reverse, the stamps from this group are much alike, the portrait showing through slightly, a semi-transparent gum with shallow fractures in a mosaic pattern, slightly toned and shiny.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £16.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £6.50

 

PL7Die3Bstate2c

SG 255  Grey Black & Grey (shades)

Die IIIB, Plate 7, State 2, Perf. 14

This shade has a light 'Brownish Grey' nuance to the frame. All shades from this group (except Perf. 15 - dealt with below) are common both mint and used.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £16.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £6.50

 

 

SG 279c  Grey Black & Grey (shades)

Die IIIB, Plate 7, State 2, Perf. 15

This rare Perf. 15 is described by SG as 'Black & Brownish Grey', but acutally comes in a variety of shades, one with a bluish nuance in the portrait and another with a pale grey black frame that has no trace of brown. For some reason the gum on these stamps is more opaque than elsewhere.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £5,500.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £400.00

PL7Die3Bstate2P15b

SG 279c  Grey Black & Grey (shades)

Die IIIB, Plate 7, State 2, Perf. 15

A darker frame shade with a brownish nuance.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £5,500.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £400.00

 

 

 

SG 258  Grey Black & Agate

Die IIIB, Plate 9, State 1, Perf. 14

Identified by the sepia frame combined with the coarse looking (cap break) portrait. Closer to 'Agate', there is a sub-shade that is spot on 'Sepia'. The portrait does not show through to any significant degree. Examples are found in which the portrait is very off-center relative to the frame.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £65.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £12.00

PL9Die3Bb

SG 258  Grey Black & Agate

Die IIIB, Plate 9, State 1, Perf. 14

A shade of the above. In both, the gum is usually greyish (sometimes cream colored) and semi-transparent, slightly rough, with tiny fractures in a mosaic pattern, without paper mesh being revealed. Relatively scarce both mint and used.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £65.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £12.00

SG 257  Grey Black & Grey Black

Die IIIB, Plate 10, State 1, Perf. 14

The portrait has a slightly bluish nuance to a brownish 'Grey Black'. The frame is usually a lighter version of 'Grey Black' warmed with the nuance of 'Brownish Black'. The ink is evenly distributed but under magnification has a slightly rougher surface than is usual with 2d. Admirals.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £16.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £11.00

PL10Die3Bstate1b

SG 257  Grey Black & Grey Black

Die IIIB, Plate 10, State 1, Perf. 14

A shade of the above - both having a slightly rough semi-transparent gum which allows the portrait to show through slightly and through which the paper mesh can usually be seen; sometimes it is heavily toned and sometimes it has a hint of a cream color. Common mint or used.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £16.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £11.00

PL10Die3Bstate1c

Uncataloged (Bluish) Black & Grey Black

Die IIIB, Plate 10, State 1, Perf. 14

A distinct shade from a separate printing run, and having a very bluish portrait, which is somewhat coarser (whitish) than SG 257 above. There is an olive factor in the frame color that is absent in the regular SG 257. More common than SG 257 both in mint and used.

Est. Cat. Value: Mint £10.00
Est. Cat. Value: Used £8.00

The White Paper Printings

A new frameplate, No. 8046, is now introduced.

SG 291  Black & Grey Purple

Die IIIB, Plate 11, State ?, Perf. 14

Frame color is actually redder than 'Slate Purple'. The frame and portrait show slightly on the back; the gum is slightly toned (yellowish) and transparent, allowing the paper mesh to be seen. The whiteness of the front of the paper should be noted. Scarcer than SG 292 (below), but overall quite common.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £12.00
SG Cat. Value: Used £8.00

SG 292 (P. 14) & SG 312 (P. 15) Black & Slate Purple

Die IIIB, Plate 12, State ?

"Slate Purple" is not far off the actual frame color., which however is somewhat more "Grey Black". It does not show on the reverse, nor do either the portrait or the paper mesh. The gum is thicker than SG 291 above, more opaque, and fractures in mainly tight parallel diagonal fissures. It is a bit less toned. See shade below.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £9.00 (292) £48.00 (312)
SG Cat. Value: Used £11.00 (292)  £** (312)

PL12Die3Bb

SG 292 (P. 14) & SG 312 (P. 15) Black & Slate Purple

Die IIIB, Plate 12, State ?

A shade of the above (less purple). In both, the portrait color is marginally lighter than on SG 291, and should be called "Grey Black". The paper on its face is distinctly white. It should be noted that the frame color is more drab than in SG 291. Fairly common with used examples showing up at the very end of 1922.

SG Cat. Value: Mint £9.00 (292) £48.00 (312)
SG Cat. Value: Used £11.00 (292)  £** (312)

Uncataloged  Grey Black & Grey Black

Die IIIB, Plate 10, State 2, Perf. 14

The portrait color is 'Grey Black' (with a brownish nuance). It does not show on the back, nor does the frame, nor the paper mesh. The frame color is deeper and solid and falls between 'Black' and 'Brownish Black', with the browner shade also being lighter. Comes Perf. 15 (see below).

Est. Value: Mint £15.00
Est. Value: Used £12.00

PL10Die3Bstate2b

Uncataloged  Grey Black & Grey Black

Die IIIB, Plate 10, State 2, Perf. 15

In both, the gum can be very toned though the paper is white; it is thick and crackled (a sure characteristic of this printing) in a roughly vertical fracture pattern. Scarcer than SG 292 and SG 312.  Used examples after July, 1923.

Est. Value: Mint £ Not sure
Est. Value: Used £ Not sure