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Great Britain 1883 3d on 3d Lilac Plate 21, SG159

SKU RS4326

Great Britain 1883 3d on 3d Lilac Plate 21, SG159.

A superb unused example with original gum, lettered 'AF'.

Stanley Gibbons catalogue value: £650.

In the early 1880s, the British government became obsessively focussed on the concern that members of the public were removing postmarks from stamps to reuse them. The solution was to use “fugitive” inks for stamps which would easily dissolve in water. This approach reduced the available ink colours to just two – green and lilac. This ultimately led to the “lilac and green” unified issue in 1883.


The enabling Act passed on 18 August 1882 effective from 1 January 1883 resulted in an urgent need to find a solution since it was evident it would be impossible to produce the required new stamps by that date. Consequently, the current 3d and 6d stamps were reprinted in fugitive lilac and, to help identification, were overprinted with a large red “3d” and “6d”.


These overprinted issues were replaced by the lilac and green set 15 months later on 1 April 1884.

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