1870 - 1884 Issues


As the various Laureate designs started to show wear, new designs became necessary. Instead of opting for a wholesale replacement of the Laureates with a new standard design, the postal officials decided, instead, to replace the denominations one at a time, as needed.

Bell and Naish designed most of the issues during this period, including a number of designs that lasted until the end of the colonial period in 1912.



Bell Design
Rose Purple - wmk V1

A Halfpenny stamp became necessary in 1873 when the postal rate for newspapers was reduced. Initially, officials overprinted the One Penny Laureate to provide the halfpenny rate, with the new Bell design being issued in February 1874. This new design, ironically, is half the size of the normal issues.

This shade is not noted in the major catalogs, but I have a number of copies in this shade, likely from the early printings.

This shade is found perforated 12 or 13 only.

Bell Design
Rose Red - wmk V1

The first shade noted in the major catalogs is the rose red, seen here. Perhaps the shade shown above is considered to be a deeper shade of this color?

This is found perforated either 12 or 13 only.

Bell Design
Lilac Rose - wmk V1

The lilac rose was issued in 1874. It is also seen only with perforations 12 or 13.

Bell Design - Emergency Printing
Rose Red on pink - wmk V1

Due to a paper shortage, an emergency printing was issued in March 1878, on pink paper, watermarked V1. Despite the fact that nearly 1,000,000 of these were printed, it is a scarce stamp.

Perforation 13 only is found.

Bell Design
Rosine - wmk V1

The Rosine shade appeared in 1880 on glazed paper. It is known perforated 12, 13 or 12.

Bell Design
Pale Red - glazed paper, wmk V1

Pale red is seen from 1882, perforated 12, 13 or 12.

Bell Design
Rosine - wmk V2

In March 1883, the printing was made on paper watermarked V2, in the same rosine shades as seen earlier.

Perforations 12 and 12 are found.

1901 Issue of Bell Design
Bluish Green - wmk V4

The Bell design was resurrected in 1901 and printed in a bluish green on paper watermarked V4.

1901 Commonwealth Issue
Bluish Green - wmk V4 or C/A

The Bell design was modified slightly for the Commonwealth issue, with the inclusion of the word POSTAGE along the bottom border.


Bell Design
Dull Bluish Green - wmk V1

The One Penny Bell design was issued in December 1875, on paper watermarked V1, perforated 12 or 13.

Bell Design
Green - wmk V1

Green shades commence about 1877. These are also found perforated 12 or 13.

Bell Design - Emergency Printing
Yellow Green on yellow - wmk V1

There were shortages of the V1 paper in 1878, forcing officials to make emergency printings on other available papers. The first such printing was on yellow paper, issued in February 1878.

Bell Design - Emergency Printing
Yellow Green on drab - wmk V1

The second emergency printing was in yellow green, on drab colored paper, watermarked V1, comb perforated 13. This printing was issued in March 1878.

Bell Design
Yellow Green - wmk V1

The yellow green shade on regular paper watermarked V1, appeared in 1880. Not only is it perforated 12 or 13 as the earlier shades, but is also found comb perforated 12.

Bell Design
Yellow Green - wmk V2

The printings on paper watermarked V2 were issued in September 1882, in yellow green.

Two perforations are known - comb perforation 12½ and a very rare perforation 12. The perforation 12 is characterized by large holes and must be authenticated with care.

Naish Design
Yellow Green - wmk V2

The Naish design has similarities to the Bell design it replaced - significant differences are the garlands on either side of the queen's portrait, and the crosses which replace the stars at the top corners.

The pale yellow was issued in October 1883, perforated 12½ only.

Naish Design
Green - wmk V2

The green shade appeared in January 1884, perforated 12 only.

Naish Design
Green - wmk V1

A printing of the Naish stamp, in a distinct shade of green, on paper watermarked V1 was issued in February 1884, after printings on the V2 paper had already been issued?

Two perforations are found - 12 and a very rare perforation 12.

Kellow states that unused copies are rare.

Naish Design
Pale Green - wmk V2

Pale green on the paper watermarked V2 appeared in May 1884. These are only found perforated 12.

1901 Commonwealth Issue
Rose - wmk V4 or C/A

The slightly modified Bell design was resurrected which incorporated a banner containing the word POSTAGE, for the Commonwealth printings of 1901-1912. These are in various pale red shades on paper watermarked V4 or C/A.


De La Rue Design
Brown Lilac - wmk V1

The De La Rue was one of only three issues that were not designed in Victoria (the other two being the Perkins, Bacon printings of the 1d and 6d Queen-on-Throne issues).

The first printings of this stamp were issued in January 1870 in a distinctive brown lilac, perforated 12, on paper watermarked V1.

De La Rue Design
Dull Lilac Mauve - wmk V1

In September 1870, the dull lilac mauve shade appeared. It is found perforated 12 or 13 (the perforated 12 stamp was issued in July 1871).

De La Rue Design
Mauve - wmk V1

Mauve shades were issued in March 1873, perforated 12 or 13.

De La Rue Design
Deep Mauve - wmk V1, worn plate

A deeper shade of mauve, in a worn state, is seen in the later printings. Dated copies seen are in mid-1873. These are found perforated 12 and 13.

De La Rue Design - SCARRED FACE VARIETY
Mauve - wmk V1

It is an oversight that the major catalogs do not list this as a separate variety. It is a rare variety, found only in later printings.

The scar is actually caused by a significant crack in the electrotpye extending from the left border of the stamp to the right side of the queen's head.

Bell Design
Deep Lilac Mauve - Die I, wmk V1

In October 1873, the Bell design was issued on paper watermarked V1. These are most often found perforated 13, but perforation 12 also exists.

Die I stamps have a solid oval of color surrounding the value plate, whereas the later die II copies have an outer oval that is comprised of two thin colored lines showing a narrow band of white space between.

Bell Design
Dull Violet Mauve - Die I, wmk V1

A wide range of shades are found that form a spectrum of colors. Shades shown are representative of shade groups. This shade is found perforated 12 or 13.

Several unique examples of mixed perforations 12 & 13 are also known.

Bell Design
Dull Mauve - Die I, wmk V1

Dull mauve shades are also found in the Die I stamps, perforated 12 or 13.

Bell Design
Pale Mauve - Die I, wmk V1

Pale mauve is also identified as a shade from this group of printings.

Bell Design - RARE Mixed Perforation Variety
Pale Mauve - wmk V1

Kellow notes three unique examples with mixed perforations.

The example shown is perforated 13x12x12x12, and is the only example documented with this combination.

Bell Design - RARE Mixed Perforation Variety
Pale Mauve - wmk V1

Kellow notes three unique examples with mixed perforations.

The example illustrated is a fourth example, which is perforated 13x13x13x(13&12) (previously undocumented).

The stamp was perforated 13 on all four sides, but was badly off-centered, so a new well placed row of perforations was added on the left side using the line perforation 12 machine.

And see below...

Bell Design - RARE Mixed Perforation Variety
Pale Mauve - wmk V1

Whenever a new row of perforations was added, it was the custom to add a repair strip on the backside to hide the original, mis-placed row, as shown here.

In most cases these have become separated from the stamps, probably as a result of soaking the stamps in water to remove them from the covers on which they were affixed.

I have not been able to find any reference to an earlier example with a repair strip than this example?Feedback would be welcomed...

Bell Design - Emergency Printing
Dull Violet Mauve on green - wmk V1

Several emergency printings were necessary in early 1878 due to paper shortages. To fill the gap, officials decided to use existing stocks of several colored papers that were on hand.

The printing on green paper, watermarked V1, was issued in February 1868. These are all perforated 13.

Bell Design - Emergency Printing
Dull Violet Mauve on brown - wmk V1

The third and final emergency printing was on brown paper. This brown paper, watermarked V1, had been ordered some years earlier but never used. These were issued in March 1878, perforated 13.

Bell Design
Lilac Mauve - Die II, wmk V1

In die II stamps, the oval that surrounds the value plate is comprised of two thin lines, which are quite visible in the example shown.

The lilac mauve die II stamps were first issued in December 1878 and are found perforated 12 or 13 only.

Bell Design
Grey Mauve - Die II, wmk V1

The grey mauve Die II stamps, of 1880, are found perforated 12, 13, and 12.

The color of the paper in this example is being somewhat affected by toning caused by the brownish gum.

Bell Design
Pale Mauve - Die II, wmk V1

The pale mauve Die II stamps, of 1880, are found perforated 12, 13 or 12.

Bell Design
Die II - RETOUCHED

Position 5 in the sheet of the Die II printing was extensively retouched, having the entire chignon area of the hair redrawn.

If you examine closely, the swirls in the hair at the back of the queen's head are larger and have a different pattern than found on other examples.

Naish Design
Sepia - wmk V1

The Two Pence Naish issue represents a complex and fascinating study. There is a wide range of shades which can be difficult to separate, different papers, and some of the rarest perforation varieties to be found from Victoria. Shades identified for this issue may be subject to change!!

The first shades seen from November 1880 are in sepia, perforated 13,12 or 12(rare).

For more details regarding the characteristics of the rare perforation 12 - CLICK HERE

Naish Design
Sepia Brown - wmk V1

In February 1881, the sepia brown shade was issued. This is always watermarked V1, and perforated 13, 12 or 12(rare).

For more details regarding the characteristics of the rare perforation 12 - CLICK HERE

Naish Design
Brown Aniline - wmk V1

The aniline brown shade appeared in May 1881, watermarked V1, and perforated 13,12 or 12(rare).

For more details regarding the characteristics of the rare perforation 12 - CLICK HERE

Naish Design - RARE Perforated 12 Variety
Sepia, wmk V1

Kellow suggests the total number of examples perforated 12, from all three shades on V1 watermarked paper may be just 20 copies.

Genuine examples have large holes and sharp teeth due to repairs of the line perforator in 1880 and always measure 12 OR LESS on the perforation gauge. Some perforated 13 examples may measure just above 12 due to variations along the row of perforating pins, but are not to be confused with the rare types.

Authentication of suspected examples is prudent.

Naish Design
Dull Grey Brown - wmk V1

Dull grey brown shades appeared in March 1882, watermarked V1. They are only known comb perforated 1½.

Naish Design
Dull Grey Brown - wmk V2

In August 1882, a similar dull grey brown was printed, but now on paper watermarked V2. These are found perforated 12 only.

Naish Design
Chocolate - wmk V2

The March 1883 printing was in a chocolate shade, watermarked V2, and perforated 12 or 12(rare).

For further insights on the rare perforated 12 variety, see the example below.

Naish Printing - RARE Perforation 12 Variety
Chocolate - wmk V2

Kellow suggests as few as 6 copies may be known in the chocolate shade on the V2 paper, perforated 12.

Genuine examples have large holes and sharp teeth due to repairs of the line perforator in 1880 and always measure 12 OR LESS on the perforation gauge. Some perforated 13 examples may measure just above 12 due to variations along the row of perforating pins, but are not to be confused with the rare types.

Authentication is prudent.

Naish Design
Mauve - wmk V2

The color of the Two Pence Naish was changed to mauve for the December 1883 printing. They are found perforated 12, and a single example is known perforated 12.

The perforated 12 example demonstrates the same characteristics as noted for the chocolate shade illustrated above.

For more details regarding the characteristics of the rare perforation 12 - CLICK HERE

1901 Issue of Naish Design
Reddish Mauve - wmk V4

The Naish design was resurrected for the 1901 issue. It is in a deeper, redder shade, and is printed on paper watermarked V4.

1901 Commonwealth Issue
Lilac - wmk V4

The Naish design was slightly modified with the inclusion of the word POSTAGE on either side, and used for the Commonwealth issue from 1901 to 1912. These are all watermarked V4 or C/A.


Naish Design
Rose Carmine - wmk V1

The Four Pence Naish first appeared in October 1881 in a rose carmine shade, watermarked V1, perforated 12½.

Naish Design
Rosine - wmk V1

The July 1882 printings were in rosine, also watermarked V1 and perforated 12½.

Naish Design
Rose Red - wmk V2

By the time the next printing was required in March 1883, the paper with watermark V2 was in use. These are rose red and always found comb perforated 12½

Naish Design - STAMP DUTY Overprint
Rose Red - wmk V2

The law was changed to require that all stamps have the words STAMP DUTY in their design by January 1, 1885. To comply, some denominations were overprinted, including the Four Pence Naish shown here.

To view the 1901-1912Issues CLICK HERE

1901 Issue of Naish Design
Bistre Yellow - wmk V4

The Naish design was resurrected for the 1901 issue, but the color was altered to bistre yellow. These were all printed on paper watermarked V4.

To view the 1901-1912Issues CLICK HERE

1901 Commonwealth Issue
Bistre Yellow - wmk V4

The Naish design was modified slightly with the inclusion of the words POSTAGE on either side, and used for the Commonwealth issues of 1901-1912. These are all watermarked V4 or C/A.

To view the 1901-1912Issues CLICK HERE


Bell Design
Pale Brown on pink - wmk 10

The Nine Pence Bell design was issued In March 1873, in pale brown on pink paper, with watermark 10. Perforations 12 and 13 are seen.

Bell Design
Red Brown on pink - wmk 10

The next shade seen is red brown on the same pink paper,in July 1874. These are also watermarked 10, and only seen with comb perforation 13.

Bell Design
Lilac Brown on pink - wmk V1

The next printing was made in December 1875, in lilac brown on pink paper watermarked V1, and is found only line perforated 12.

A good portion of this printing was later overprinted to create the new Eight Pence denomination, making this a somewhat scarce stamp, especially unused.

Bell Design - Overprinted 8d
Lilac Brown on pink - wmk V1

The single weight postal rate to England was reduced to Eight Pence in July 1876, which created an immediate need for such a denomination. As the old rate of Nine Pence was being superceded, it was appropriate to overprint those stamps to fill the void.

The Eight Pence overprint was issued in mid-July 1876 and saw usage until January 1877 when the Eight Pence Laureate was issued.

Bell Design - F.IGHTPENCE Error
Lilac Brown - wmk V1

A rare variety was created by a broken E in the overprint, which has become known to collectors as the F.IGHTPENCE variety. It is thought to exist on only one position per sheet of 120, which would mean that only 500 copies were produced of this rarity.

Kellow suggests that only a dozen examples may be known.

Bell Design
Apple Green - wmk V2

The Naish design was re-issued in October 1892, but was printed in apple green.

To view the 1885-1900 Issues CLICK HERE

Bell Design
Carmine Rose - wmk V2, V3, V4

Further printings were made in various reddish shades during the 1890's.

To view the 1885-1900 Issues CLICK HERE

1901 Commonwealth Issue
Dull Rose Red - wmk V4

The Bell design was slightly modified with the inclusion of a banner containing the word POSTAGE and issued as part of the Commonwealth issues of 1901-1912.

To view the 1901-1912Issues CLICK HERE


Bell Design
Indigo Blue on blue - wmk V1

The Bell One Shilling design replaced the Laureate design in August 1876.

The first printings were indigo blue on blue paper, watermarked V1, perforated 13 only.

Bell Design
Deep Blue - wmk V1

The next printings, issued July 1877, were in a deep blue shade on blue paper, watermarked V1. These were also perforated 13.

Bell Design
Pale Blue on blue - wmk V1

A pale blue shade appeared in March 1880 on the same blue paper, watermarked V1, perforated 13.

Bell Design
Bright Blue on blue - wmk V1

Bright blue was the next shade, issued in September 1880. It is found perforated either 13 or 12.

Bell Design - STAMP DUTY Overprint
Blue on blue - wmk V1

The law was changed to require that all stamps have the words STAMP DUTY in their design by January 1, 1885. To comply, some denominations were overprinted, including the One Shilling Bell design shown here.

To view the 1885-1900 Issues CLICK HERE

1901 Issue of Bell Design
Yellow - wmk V4

The Bell design was resurrected for the 1901 issue, printed in yellow on paper watermarkd V4.

To view the 1901-1912Issues CLICK HERE

1901 Commonwealth Issue
Yellow Orange - wmk V4

The Bell design was later modified with the inclusion of the word POSTAGE on either side and issued as part of the Commownwealth issues of 1901 to 1912.

To view the 1901-1912Issues CLICK HERE


Bell Design
Deep Blue on green - wmk V1

The Two Shilling Woodblock design was finally retired in 1881 after a quarter century of usage, and replaced with the new Bell design.

The first printing of this stamp was issued in deep blue, watermarked V1, perforated 12. It is quite rare unused and no unused multiples are recorded.

Bell Design
Light Blue on green - wmk V1

The next printing in April 1883 was light blue on green paper, watermarked V1, perforated 12½.

Bell Design
Ultramarine on green - wmk V1

The ultramarine shade was issued in June 1884. also on green paper, watermarked V1, and perforated 12½.

A number of these are found with the watermark sideways. They are relatively scarce, and unused they are rare.

Bell Design - STAMP DUTY Overprint
Ultramarine on green - wmk V1

The law was changed to require that all stamps have the words STAMP DUTY in their design by January 1, 1885. To comply, some denominations were overprinted, including the Two Shilling Bell design shown here.

To view the 1885-1900Issues CLICK HERE

1901 Issue of the Bell Design
Blue on pink - wmk V4

The Bell design was resurrected for the 1901 issue, printed on pink paper and watermarked V4.

To view the 1901-1912Issues CLICK HERE

1901 Commonwealth Issue
Blue on pink - wmk V4

The Bell design was slightly modified with the inclusion of a banner containing the word POSTAGE, and included as part of the Commonwealth issues of 1901 to 1912.

To view the 1901-1912Issues CLICK HERE


The Stamps of Victoria, by G.Kellow, B&K Publishing, 1990.

A Subject Index of Victorian Philately, by G.Kellow, Royal Philatelic Society of Victoria, 1988

The Encyclopedia of British Empire Postage Stamps, Vol IV, by Robson Lowe Ltd., 1962

Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue, Part 1, British Commonwealth,Stanley Gibbons Ltd., (2002).

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