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Great Britain 1847 1s pale green, SG54

SKU JC3310

Great Britain 1847 1s pale green, on Dickinson silk thread paper, (Embossed Die II), SG54.

A magnificent mint example with original gum and, exceptionally, cut square with four clear margins. A very rare stamp in such exquisite condition.

Accompanied with a British Philatelic Association (BPA) certificate of authenticity.

The Embossed postage stamps from Great Britain were issued during the reign of Queen Victoria between 1847 and 1854. They were a very important part of the communications revolution taking place at the time. 

They included three stamp values - 6d, 10d and 1 shilling. The 1-shilling rate was for postage to the USA, the 10d to Europe, including France and Italy and the 6d covered the rate to Belgium. These higher value embossed stamp issues opened up postal communication worldwide. It brought about staggering growth in international trade as the perfect partner to the steamship and railways of that time. 

Embossed British stamps are particularly interesting as they include three features that are unique to British philately – the method of die production, the method of printing and the use of silk thread paper. 

Britain’s experimentation with embossed stamps only lasted seven years when they were replaced by new surface printed definitive postage stamps. The embossed printing process was ridiculously laborious. Stamps were printed one at a time on silk thread paper. The design was raised and recessed to create a rough surface. The working die had to be used to apply each impression individually to the printed sheet by hand. As a result, the impressions were usually poorly spaced, either being too close together or too far apart. It was quite common for stamps to overlap. 

Postal workers would then often cut around the octagonal design before they were sold. In short, the process was totally ineffective. Few quality examples were produced from the printing process in the first place and most were used for postage. Because of this, good quality mint examples are very desirable to collectors, but difficult to find. Finding a mint, clean square-cut example with four clear margins is extremely difficult. 

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