West Africa Study Circle

The KEVII Imperium Style Key Plate issues

About 10 years ago I produced an article for the London Philatelist1 that proved that Key Plate 2 was not a 240-set plate, as had been generally assumed, but was two plates of 120-set, both numbered ‘2’. These I termed Plate 2a (plate numbers in top margin) and Plate 2b (plate numbers in the bottom margin). To establish this it was necessary to extract all the printings from De La Rue’s Colonial Stamps books from all of the sixteen colonies that employed this design. The fact that of nearly 1,000 printings of all values only five were issued with 240-set sheets of paper for printing (for the Straits Settlement 1902 1c and 3c values), the rest being 120-set sheets, clinched the argument. However, the lists of printings did not form part of this article.

I still have all the details of these printings and felt that it would be a great pity if it were left to my executors to dispose of this valuable information (not that I plan going any time soon hopefully). My intention is to produce some sort of publication (nothing approaching the depth of my KGV book on the Imperium style issues) that will list all these printings plus whatever other useful information I can gather in. I am doing this in collaboration with a fellow KEVII enthusiast, Jeff Blinco, who is attempting to plate the issue through the progressive states of the plates (and is making surprisingly good progress).

It appears that there were some changes in the marginal markings on Plates 1, 2a and 2b) fairly late in the life of these plates and the full extent and date of implementation of these changes need to be defined. Similarly the various key plate flaws that developed need to be established and their introduction dated where possible.

What we both need are scans of study material, particularly sheets, panes or large marginal blocks (Jeff requires these at 600dpi since he is looking for very small plate characteristics in each position). Regarding Plate 2 examples, the Royal Philatelic Collection (the principal source of information on the plate numbers used for each value) does have a number of omissions for specific colonies that are known to exist elsewhere and hence scans of Plate 2 pieces (singles or blocks) would be most welcome, especially those from Plate 2b.

Within the territories covered by the WASC the colonies of Gold Coast, Northern Nigeria, St. Helena and Sierra Leone employed this design and we would most grateful if members having such material (from these or any other colony utilising this design) would assist us in this project. Please send scans to pfernbank@tiscali.co.uk.
Peter Fernbank

Reference: King Edward VII Imperium Style Postage & Revenue Key Plate 2, Peter Fernbank, London Philatelist, No. 1351, 2007, Vol. 116, pp. 391-396.