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Victorian Centenary

2d Sheet

5 plates
Perf 10 70,000,000
Perf 11 45,000,000

Single plate
Perf 10 5,000,000
Perf 11 1,000,000

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Single plate
Perf 10 2,000,000
Perf 11 1,500,000
2nd July 1934 Perf 10

Designed, and engraved, by FD. Manley.

The very first Rotary Recess Issue. From the very beginning, this method of production was an outstanding success.

Issued as a commemorative to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the State of Victoria and the settlement of Melbourne, it's capital. The design was a contemporary drawing of the Yarra River with the past and present represented.

6th August 1934 Perf 11

Initially perforated comb perf 10, it was found to tear a little too easily and hard to separate. The perforator was subsequently changed to 11 the next month and remained so for all subsequent issues in this format. The later perforation is relatively scarce as the bulk of printings appear with the earlier perforation.

The remarkable thing to observe in this issue is the quantities produced. A staggering 115 million of the 2d. Much much larger quantities of course were produced of most of the KGV typographed definitives, over a period of time. But that was the point that most impressed the authorities. A single print run, producing huge quantities of stamps, in attractive recess design.

Two distinct papers exist for this issue.

Cowans: probably only 10
Thin & tough
gum very transparent
paper curls
clear impressions
Used on Harbour bridge for comparison.

Wiggins Teape, probably only perf 11
Thick soft
Slightly opaque gum
non curling
slightly blurred impressions.
Used on Macarthur for comparison

Note the colour of the 1 shilling value was not a U.P.U value. This colour was used again on the 1/- Anzac.


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Cylinder Layout

Copper electros.

This is an illustration of one, 320-on, full plate, comprising 4 post office sheets. Don't confuse this with the 2d that had a total of 5 cylinders produced. Only one 'plate' was used on the press at any one time.

Note how close this arrangement is to the eventual 640 printings of the zoo series. A mere halving of the horizontal design-width produced twice the quantities and became the mainstay of production for the next 30 years.

Ash got it right first time. Being a perfectionist, if he didn't like this experimental layout he would not have continued with it. The Landscape layout of the Victorian Centenary issue was used for all other subsequent issues. Each printsheet (plate) was organised as four separate post office sheets of 2 panes. Each pane was 10 rows of 4 stamps, with the pane separated by a comparatively narrow gutter. A John Ash imprint appeared below the centre of each post office gutter.

Plate dots very similar to the 2d recessed Harbour bridge are on each plate but are mostly guillotined away. Guidelines between stamps appear frequently throughout the sheet.

In this illustration, the crack appearing on LP R2/1 of the 2d caused that po sheet to be supplied to post offices specially marked '78 stamps' until such time as a new printing plate was made.


wpeA1.jpg (122321 bytes) A total of 5 plates were created for the 2d value. One of the 2d plates developed cracks very early and the two stamps affected were removed from sheets prior to issue. This plate was subsequently replaced by a fifth creation, sometime during the initial perforation of 10.

The illustration shows the typical characteristics of all sheets and denominations. Upper printsheets were perforated through the bottom margin.



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