CHAT: The US Newspaper Stamps, or: The Headaches of a Philatelist (part 2)

(If you'd like to start reading from the beginning, then click HERE!)

29 July 2017
Heard back from D. While he thought he couldn't help me much, he did say that he believed that the BEP could make use of dies / plates from the ABNC. But then he started beating me around the ears with PR numbers, so I was at a complete loss. Until I remembered I had this old Scott catalogue (from 1957!), and yes there they were: the Newspaper stamps in all their glory and with all their PR catalogue numbers. So I figured that I had better first study the general issues, before delving in at the deep end. I spent a lovely evening making lists, reading catalogues and dreaming of wonderful collections...

What helped a lot was that I was able to identify three main sections within the 25 years of issues. There are loads of special printings but they do not really impinge on my collecting habits, so for me the main themes would be:

Phase 1: 1875/1893: eleven designs engraved for the CBNC, later called the ABNC. This will be rather straightforward and I just need to patiently await any signed proofs to pass me by.

Phase 2: 1894: four ABNC designs printed by the BEP. This is trickier for I need to find out whether the ABNC engravings were used or whether the BEP had them re-engraved or modified in any way.

Phase 3: 1895 onwards: eight BEP designs. Again, a slightly tricky area where I will need to determine whether these are new engravings or (like that $2) modifications of existing ABNC engravings.

31 July 2017
Another email from D. He sent some scans of items from auction catalogues and what have you. They're stunning! Of special interest was a die proof of the BEP $20 value, which was signed by Smillie.


Whilst his signature does not particularly look like the one on the $2 proof, there is a G hidden in the S, and other Smillies don't seem to fit time-wise, so I'm still confident that this is the GFC Smillie we've been talking about and will continue to be so until I get proof showing otherwise.


The other important item was a progressive proof of the BEP 10c value, which is signed by Lyman F Ellis, who, as we know by now, has also done the frame of the $2. This immediately gives rise to the following question: if Ellis did the frame/lettering of the 10c, and James Kennedy that of the 1c, which parts may then be identical and may we indeed have the beginnings of proof here that maybe frame and lettering were done by different people? Again, I'll need to get copies in so I can compare the frames more closely.


Another Ellis item was a progressive proof of the frame of the $2, which does not yield any new information, but is lovely anyway.


The final scan was that of a die proof of the BEP 1894 $6. This is interesting because it covers the phase 2 printings of the BEP. My Scott catalogue joyfully lists proofs for almost every newspaper stamp around, but it mentions no proof at all for any 1894 issue whatsoever. This proof here, dated December 15, 1894, must be of the 1894 set, because the 1895 set no longer includes a $6 value. So die proofs of the 1894 issue do exist! Pity it isn't signed. And it still does not answer the question whether the BEP used ABNC material or whether they had new dies made...

To be continued. Click HERE for part 3.

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