North Borneo Labuan 1878 (Nov 2) 12c, engraved essay die proof in black on glazed card (82x96mm) with complete die-sinking, in the design adopted for all the Labuan issues from 1879-1894. With pencil endorsements 'Approved/WIS/Nov. 2'., SG3.
Insignificant faults in the surround at the right, but a unique and beautiful item of the highest importance and technical interest.
This was the first attempt at the design, less than three weeks after the initial approach by the Crown Agents on 15th October, and at a time when the printers, De La Rue were apparently contemplating the production of plates using dies. whereas the actual printing plates for this issue were produced by the pantograph, with a slightly different portrait of the Queen. (Differences can also be seen in the Jawi and Chinese inscriptions are essentially identical). As a result no other 'die proof' in this format) is extant.
The essential introduction to a collection of the Queen issues of Labuan.
Provenance: Ex De La Rue archives (CRL 15/9/76, lot 782), Cmdr Burnett (CRL 23/10/84, lot 477) and Patrick Cassels (Spink 8/11/2006, lot 1646, realised £11,174).
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