Great Britain 1882 3d on 3d lilac Plate 21 imprimatur, SG159var

SKU: RS2397

Sale price£2,750
In stock


Great Britain 1882 3d on 3d lilac Plate 21 imprimatur, SG159var.

A very fine unused imperforate imprimatur with original gum, lettered 'HJ'.

Scarce, one of only 24 possible examples many of which are in institutional collections.

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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