Gambia 1898

This article was written by well-known philatelic writer Fred Melville (1882-1940):

On the 31st January, 1898, the following notice was issued in reference to the postage stamps of the Colony:—

“Withdrawal of Present Issue Of
Gambia Postage Stamps.

“On the 1st May, 1898, the present issue, if not previously exhausted, of all denominations of Postage Stamps in the Gambia that are then in the hands of the Government will be destroyed, and a complete new set of stamps will then be put in circulation.

“Administrator’s Office,
Bathurst, Gambia,
31st January, 1898.”

[pg 46]

After being faithful for nearly thirty years to the graceful design of the “cameo” stamps the Colony adopted the regular De la Rue type printed from a general key plate which did duty for a number of colonial issues.

Essays were prepared by making impressions from this key plate, shewing the profile of the Queen to left in a circle, and the words postage—postage at the sides, the top tablet being left blank for the name of the Colony, and a space for the sexagonal tablet of value at bottom also being left blank. The essays consist of such impressions with the name Gambia and the proposed values painted in by hand, to shew the approximate effect of the stamps which would be produced from this key plate. Only a very few such essays are known.

The values which were actually produced in the new series were—

½d. dull green and green (plates 2 and 3).
1d. carmine and carmine (plate 2).
1d. deep carmine and deep carmine (plate 3).
2d. orange and mauve (plate 2).
2½d. ultramarine and ultramarine (plate 2).
3d. mauve and pale ultramarine (plate 2).
3d. deep mauve and deep ultramarine (plate 3).
4d. brown and ultramarine (plate 2).
6d. olive-green and carmine (plate 2).
1s. violet and green (plate 2).
All the stamps were printed at two impressions, the general design being printed from the key plate, and the name Gambia and the value tablet by a “duty” plate printed separately. In the ½d., 1d. and 2½d. values, however, both key and duty plates were impressed in the same colour. The plates are constructed [pg 49] to print sheets of 120 stamps, divided in two panes of 60 stamps each. The plate number appears in the margin above and below each pane (plate XVI.). It consists of an uncoloured figure on a circular ground of colour, and is printed by the key plate. The plate numbered “2” was used for all the values in the set, but later printings of the ½d., 1d. and 3d. were printed from plate III. In the case of the ½d. and 1d. the printings from plate III. do not shew any marked variation in shade; but in the case of the 3d. both the mauve and the ultramarine colours are distinctively deeper.

The perforation throughout gauges 14; the watermark is Crown C.A. as in the last issue, but upright instead of sideways, as these postage—postage plates were constructed to fit the watermarked papernleft size-full wp-image-19517″

Gambia wmk 1898