Emblems & Netted Corners


The Emblems Issue appeared in January 1857, to replace the One Penny and Two Pence Half Lengths, and to introduce a desperately needed Four Pence stamp.

The Emblems are actually small images at each corner of the stamp design, each representing one of the key elements of the colonial economy - farming, shipping, building trades, and mining.

The Emblem printings illustrate the transition from imperforate, to rouletted, to perforated stamps in the few short years they were in use.


1st Calvert Printing
Yellow Green - wmk STAR

The One Penny Emblem replaced the One Penny Queen-on-Throne issue in February 1857. In all, more than 2,000,000 were issued from this printing, on a thin wove paper watermarked with a star.

1st Calvert Printing
Deep Green - wmk STAR

The One Penny Emblem is also found in a deep yellow green shade, although this seems to be a scarcer shade, especially for mint examples.

1st Calvert Printing
Emerald Green - wmk STAR

None of the major reference books list an emerald shade? This example does not appear to be chemically altered in any way, but the shade is definitely more emerald than yellow green?

Feedback would be welcome...

1st Calvert Printing
Example of Poor Make-ready

Make ready was applied to the surface of the paper prior to the printing process to prevent the ink from bleeding through the paper. In some instances this was not properly applied, causing the image of the stamp to bleed through to the backside of the stamp.

These are not to be confused with rare examples where the stamp is printed on both sides.

1st Calvert Printing
Yellow Green - wmk STAR rouletted

In August 1857, the clerks at the GPO were provided a simple rouletting machine gauging 6.5 to 9. In most cases, they rouletted vertically or horizontally, but not both ways, because of the difficulty of adjusting the distance between the cutting wheels.

Judging from the scarcity of these stamps, it can be assumed that only a small number were rouletted at the GPO.

Unused examples are very scarce.

1st Calvert Printing
Yellow Green - Perf 12, wmk STAR

In early 1859, the stamp printer F.W.Robinson was contracted to perforate all the existing inventory of stamps. A few stray sheets of Calvert's first printing must have been found and perforated.

Genuine examples are in the same shade of yellow green found in Calvert's first printing, and on paper waterlarked STAR.

This is a rare stamp. Only about 25 copies are known, including 2 unused copies.

1st Calvert Printing
Deep Green - perf 12, wmk STAR

I have not been able to find any reference to perforated copies from Calvert's first printing in the deep green shade, however, every aspect of this stamp appears to be genuine. It is in the same shade, and on the same paper as Calvert's first printing in deep green, and the perforations look genuine in all respects.

Feedback would be appreciated....

2nd Calvert Printing
Pale Emerald - rouletted, no wmk

The second printing of the One Penny was on a thick, unwatermarked wove paper. According to his contract, all of the production from this printing was to be rouletted 8-9 on all sides (but, see also the imperforate issues which follow).

2nd Calvert Printing
Emerald - rouletted, no wmk

Calvert's second printing was found in two shades, of about equal scarcity. Shown here is the emerald shade, rouletted 7-9 on all sides (see also the imperforate issue which follows).

2nd Calvert Printing
Pale Emerald - Imperforate, no wmk

Calvert was contracted to roulette the entire printing, however, it was discovered that he had pawned some stamps and his contract was terminated.

Robinson was awarded the contract to replace him, but there was not enough time to roulette the remaining stock, so part of this printing was issued imperforate in the Spring of 1858.

2nd Calvert Printing
Emerald - Imperforate, no wmk

Some of the emerald shade from the 2nd printing were also issued imperforate in the Spring of 1858 for the reasons cited above.

1st Robinson Printing
Yellow Green - rouletted, no wmk

F.W.Robinson was awarded the contract to replace Calvert. His first One Penny printing was done in December,1858 in a distincitve bright yellow green, on a fine wove paper.

The first part of the printing was rouletted 5.5 to 6.5 on all sides. Unused copies seem to be rare.

1st Robinson Printing
Yellow Green - perforated, no wmk

Part way through the rouletting of the first printing, Robinson decided to switch to the new perforating machine he had acquired in early 1859. The majority of the stamps from this printing were subsequently perforated 12.

About 80% of the total printing of 1,500,000 was perforated, and 20% rouletted.

This was the first perforated stamp to be issued in Victoria.

1st Robinson Printing
Yellow Green - Bordeaux Paper

A rare variety from the first printing was the result of a few sheets of a very thin Bordeaux paper being used. This paper was used in the later printings in bright green, but this 1st printing color is very distinctive and cannot be confused.

About 12-15 copies are recorded on the Bordeaux paper.

2nd Robinson Printing
Dull Green - perforated, no wmk

Robinsons's second One Penny printing was issued in mid 1859 on three types of paper, all of them in the same dull green shade.

The first issue was on an unwatermarked wove paper.

2nd Robinson Printing
Dull Green - Cracked Electro Variety

The One Penny cracked electro variety first appeared in this printing. The cracks are apparent in the scan - one crack extends horizontally from the O of ONE to the right frame of the stamp, and a second crack travels diagonally through the P of PENNY at the bottom. This is a scarce variety, with only 1 stamp being affected in each sheet of 120.

2nd Robinson Printing
Dull Green - laid paper

Part of the second printing was on a horizontally laid paper with the laid lines widely spaced.

2nd Robinson Printing
Dull Green - narrow laid paper

The final portion of this printing was on horizontally laid paper with the laid lines narrowly spaced. This is a scarce stamp. Kellow states that examples on the narrowly laid paper are 5 times scarcer than those on the widely spaced laid paper.

3rd Robinson Printing
Green - perforated, no wmk

In September 1859, Robinson's third printing was issued in a green shade which is slightly deeper than the dull greens from the second printing, but some examples can be difficult to separate. Two different papers were used.

The first paper is the same unwatermarked wove paper seen in the dull greens from Robinson's second printing.

3rd Robinson Printing
Green - wide laid paper

The 3rd printing is also found on the same horizontally laid paper with widely spaced laid lines used in Robinson's second printing.

Apparently no unused multiples are known of this stamp.

1st Government Printing
Bright Green - Horizontal Laid Paper

A distinctive color on the same paper as the 3rd Robinson printing.Can anyone supply me a copy of this stamp?

1st Government Printing
Bright Green - Thin Bordeaux Paper

The same bright green noted above, on thin, unwatermarked Bordeaux paper. Can anyone supply me a copy of this stamp?

2nd Government Printing
Pale Yellow Green - wmk ONE PENNY

Beginning January 1, 1860, the government moved stamp production to the Stamp Printing Branch and ended the practice of issuing private contracts for the production of stamps. F.W. Robinson was retained to continue printing stamps as the government employed printer.

2nd Government Printing
Yellow Green - wmk ONE PENNY

A slightly darker shade of yellow green is often separately cataloged for this, however, it was probably part of the continuum of printings that formed part of this issue.

This printing culminated the production of more than 12,000,000 One Penny Emblems. The time had come for a replacement, which came in the form of the Netted Corners design.


Pale Green - perforated 12, wmk ONE PENNY

In October 1861, the new Netted Corners design replaced the One Penny Emblems stamp. THe first shades were in a pale green.

Olive Green - perforated 12, wmk ONE PENNY

The later shades seen from this printing are in an olive green.

Olive Green - perforated 12, wmk 1

The new paper with numeral watermarks replaced the old Words of Value paper. The first printing on this paper was issued in February 1863.

Pale Green - perforated 12, wmk 1

The next shade was in pale green on the paper watermarked 1.

Apple Green - perforated 12, wmk 1

The apple green appeared in April 1864 on the paper watermarked 1.

Yellow Green - perforated 12, wmk double 1

An emergency printing in December 1863 used paper supplied by Tasmania that was watermarked with a double lined 1. These are in yellow green, perforated 12.

Dull Green - perforated 12, wmk double 1

Part of this printing was in dull green, also perforated 12.

Netted Corners - Unknown Forgery

A previously unrecorded forgery, which is not listed in Pope, printed on unwatermarked wove paper. No further information on the origins of this stamp can be provided at this time.

Just discovered in an Ebay lot July 2005


1st Calvert Printing
Pale Lilac - no wmk

The Two Pence Emblem replaced the Two Pence Queen-on-Throne issue in May 1857. It was printed on an unwatermarked wove paper in two separate shades.

Unused copies are very scarce.

1st Calvert Printing
Grey Lilac - no wmk

The second shade seen from this printing is grey lilac. They are imperforate on an unwatermarked wove paper.

Unused copies are very scarce.

1st Calvert Printing
Pale Lilac - rouletted, no wmk

Some inventory from this printing was rouletted 6.5 to 9 by the clerks at the GPO in the Fall of 1857. The precise number that were rouletted is not known, but it is a scarce stamp.

Only a few unused singles copies are recorded.

1st Calvert Printing
Grey Lilac - rouletted, no wmk

The grey lilac shade is also found rouletted by the rouletting machine at the GPO. Most copies are rouletted on 2 sides only, as seen here.

Unused copies are very rare with only a few singles known.

1st Calvert Printing
Grey Lilac - serrated, no wmk

The serrated perforation 18-19 is so rare that it is presumed that these must have been experiments that were later put into inventory. These are the same serrrations as found in the Six Pence Woodblock issues.

Kellow notes that only 6 unused and 4 single used copies are recorded of this RARE stamp.

This may be the only recorded example on piece. No covers are known.

1st Calvert Printing
Pale Lilac - perforated, no wmk

In early 1859, Robinson was contracted to perforate all existing inventories of stamps. One or two stray sheets of this early issue must have been found and perforated with the other stamps.

It is a rare stamp with perhaps 15 copies known, incuding 2 pairs. One unused copy has been recorded.

1st Calvert Printing
Grey Lilac - perforated, no wmk

Of the 15 or so known copies of this rare peroration variety, this is the only one I can identify that is in the gray lilac shade. All others I have been able to identify are from the pale lilac printings.

Does anyone have information on other gray lilac examples?

1st Robinson Printing
Brown Lilac - rouletted, horzontally laid paper

Robinson printed 2,500,000 copies of the two pence in the last half of 1858. The first of these was printed in brown lilac, on horizontally laid paper, rouletted 5.5-6.5 on all 4 sides.

1st Robinson Printing
Brown Lilac - rouletted, vertically laid paper

Some of the first printing was printed on vertially laid paper, rouletted 5.5-6.5 . These were issued in September 1858

1st Robinson Printing
Violet - rouletted, horizontally laid paper

A portion of this printing was in violet, on hoizontally laid paper, rouletted 5.5-6.5. These were issued in November 1858.

Unused copies are rare.

1st Robinson Printing
Dull Violet - rouletted, horizontally laid paper

Finally, a portion of this printing was in dull violet, on the same horizontally laid paper, rouletted 5.5-6.5.

Once again, unused copies are rare.

1st Government Printing
Brown Lilac - wmk TWO PENCE

By the time new inventory was needed, stamp printing had been taken over as a government function. The first few printings were on paper watermarked ONE PENNY, known by collectors as the Words of Value paper.

The first printing, issued in June 1861, consisted of 60,000 stamps in brown lilac, perforated 12.

2nd and 5th Government Printing
Bluish Grey - wmk TWO PENCE

The next printing was in bluish slate. A total of 60,000 stamps in this color were issued in July 1861. Another printing of 600,000 in this shade was issued in May 1862. The 2 printings are indistinguishable.

3rd Government Printing
Greyish Lilac - wmk TWO PENCE

The next printing on the paper watermarked TWO PENCE, in greyish lilac, perforated 12, totalling 240,000 stamps, was issued in September 1861.

4th Government Printing
Slate Grey - wmk TWO PENCE

The fourth printing was in slate grey, consisting of 480,000 stamps, which was issued November 1861.

6th Government Printing
Pale Slate - wmk THREE PENCE

In late 1862, the stock of Two Pence stamps was low, but the new shipment of paper had not yet arrived. Emergency printings were ordered using the paper watermarked THREE PENCE.

A printing of 120,000 in pale slate was made in December 1862 on the THREE PENCE paper.

6th Government Printing
Bluish Slate - wmk THREE PENCE

A portion of the 6th printing was in bluish grey. These were issued in January 1863.

7th Government Printing
Dull Reddish Lilac - wmk 2

The new paper watermarked with numeral 2 arrived in March 1863. All further printings of the Two Pence Emblem were on this paper.

The first printings on this new paper were issued in April and August 1863 in dull reddish lilac, perforated 12.

8th Government Printing
Grey Lilac - wmk 2

In September 1863 the next printing was issued in grey lilac. A total of 600,000 stamps were issued.

Four margin copies as shown are very scarce.

9th Government Printing
Grey Violet - wmk 2

The next printing, issued in October 1863 was grey violet, perforated 12.

10th Government Printing
Slate - wmk 2

The final printing of the Two Pence Emblem was issued in November 1863 in slate, perforated 12 on the paper watermarked 2.

In March 1864 the first printing of the Two Pence Laureate replaced the Two Pence Emblem.


Calvert's Printings
Printer's Proof - thin paper, no wmk

It is normal practice for printers to run one or two test sheets as proofs before commencing a major printing run. Calvert printed some proof sheets of the Four Pence Emblem that ultimately found their way into the public domain.

These are printed on a thinner paper than the issued stamps and have no watermark. Some of these proofs are printed on two sides, and should not be confused with the very rare printed on two sides error found in the genuine stamps.

1st Calvert Printing
Vermillion - wmk STAR

This was the first Four Pence stamp to be issued in Victoria, in January 1857. It is printed on the same paper used for the Perkins, Bacon Queen-on-Throne issues, watermarked with a STAR.

Two copies of this stamp are recorded which are printed on two sides. These should not be confused with proofs printed on 2 sides.

Unused copies are very scarce.

1st Calvert Printing
Brown Vermillion - wmk STAR

The ink mixture was altered slightly for the next printing of these. While the change is subtle, it can easily be separated when put side by side with the true vermillion printing.

1st Calvert Printing
Dull Red - wmk STAR

The next color found in this first printing is dull red.

Unidentified Printing
Bright Rose - no wmk

Can anyone assist me in classifying this stamp? It is mint with original amber colored gum which has tinted the paper and ink somewhat, but appears to be in a dull red shade - but with NO watermark? The impression is much stronger than usually found in the first printings?

Feedback would be welcomed....

1st Calvert Printing
Dull Rose - wmk STAR

The dull rose is the final shade seen from these first printings on the paper watermarked STAR.

1st Calvert Printing
Undocumented BROKEN ELECTRO Variety

A spectacular example showing a broken electro at the lower right corner of the stamp. The entire lower right corner of the image has separated and hinged downward.

In addition, there are several pre-printing folds clearly visible in the scan, perhaps caused by the damaged electro? These form tangible ridges in the paper.

No other example has been recorded, suggesting the damage was found soon after it occurred and was fixed.

1st Calvert Printing
Vermillion - rouletted at GPO

The Emblems were among the stock that were rouletted at the GPO during the final months of 1857. The rouletted examples are often found with rouletting along one or two sides only, always gauging 6.5 to 9.

Perhaps a single unused copy in vermillion may exist?

1st Calvert Printing
Dull Red - rouletted at the GPO

The dull red shade is known with rouletting done at the GPO. Often they are seen with rouletted on 2 sides only, as in this example.

One unused copy is recorded in this shade, just discovered in August 2005.

1st Calvert Printing
Dull Rose - rouletted at the GPO

This example includes an enclosed line of roulettes visible just inside the stamp design along the right side.

A few unused copies are known in this shade.

2nd Calvert Printing
Rose Pink - rouletted, no wmk

The next printing was in January 1858, on a good quality unwatermarked wove paper. Calvert was contracted to roulette the entire printing, but his contract was terminated before he completed the task. The rouletted version is illustrated here. Several shades are found, the first being this rose pink.

Unused copies are very scarce.

2nd Calvert Printing
Bright Rose - rouletted, no wmk

The second shade seen is bright rose shown here.

Unused copies are very scarce.

2nd Calvert Printing
Reddish Pink - rouletted, no wmk

The third shade is reddish pink, with the same attributes as the other shades from this printing. Roulettes always gauge 7-9 and are found on all 4 sides.

2nd Calvert Printing
Rose Pink - imperforate, no wmk

A portion of Calvert's 2nd printing was not rouletted. Calvert ran afoul of the law for pawning stamps and his contract was terminated before he completed this contract. Robinson took over as the stamp printer for the colony, but he had no time to roulette these, and issued them imperforated.

2nd Calvert Printing
Bright Rose - imperforate, no wmk

The bright rose shade is also found imperforate from this printing.

As usual, unused copies are very scarce.

2nd Calvert Printing
Reddish Pink - imperforate, no wmk

The reddish pink shade is also found imperforate from this printing.

1st Robinson Printing
Dull Rose - oily Ink, no wmk

Following Calvert's criminal conviction, Robinson was awarded the contract to print postage stamps. His first printing of the Four Pence was done on two separate types of paper. The first type was an unwatermarked wove paper seen here. The printing is distinctive due to the oily ink mixture he used, which gave a blotchy appearance to the printings.

Because of the urgent need for stamps, Robinson was not able to roulette them all, and some were issued imperforate, as in this example.

1st Robinson Printing
Dull Rose - oily ink, vertically laid paper

The second type of paper found from this printing is a vertically laid paper. Once again, the oily ink used for these produced a very distinctive blotchy impression which can be easily separated.

Due to the urgent need for stamps, Robinson did not have time to roulette the entire production, so some were issued imperforate as shown in this example.

1st Robinson Printing
Dull Rose Red - oily ink, vertically laid paper

The second shade found on the vertically laid paper is a dull red rose. The other attributes are the same as others from this printing.

2nd Robinson Printing
Dull Rose Red - imperforate, vertically laid paper

The next printing was made with normal ink, on a vertically laid paper, and was also issued imperforate to meet the urgent need for stamps.

Verifiable unused copies are rare, as rouletted copies can be trimmed to give the appearance of imperforate. Only copies with large margins all around can be accepted as genuine.

2nd Robinson Printing
Dull Rose Red - rouletted, vertically laid paper

The dull rose red shade is found on the vertically laid paper, rouletted 5.6 to 6.5 in the normal ink.

2nd Robinson Printing
Dull Rose Red - rouletted on vertically laid paper

This stamp is appears genuine in all respects, however, it is imperforate by roulette, with the roulettes measuring 7.5 to 8.5 and with characteristics that exactly match those found in the stamps rouletted at the GPO in late 1857.

Is it possible that an imperforate sheet from May or June 1858, when this stamp was issued as an imperforate, was rouletted vertically by the clerks at the GPO?

Feedback would be appreciated...

2nd Robinson Printing
Pale Dull Rose - rouletted, vertically laid paper

Once the production caught up with demand, Robinson returned to rouletting all new printings. The pale dull rose shade seen here is rouletted 5.5-6.5 on all sides.

2nd Robinson Printing
Rose Red - rouletted, vertically laid paper

The final shade from this printing is the deeper rose red seen here, rouletted 7-9 on all sides, on vertically laid paper.

3rd Robinson Printing
Dull Rose - perforated 12, no wmk

In February 1859, Robinson printed 1,000,000 Four Pence stamps on a good quality ,unwatermarked, wove paper, perforated 12.

4th Robinson Printing
Rose Carmine - perforated, no wmk

In June 1859 another printing on wove, unwatermarked paper was made. This paper is poorer quality than the paper used earlier that year, and the shade is rose carmine, making it possible to separate from the earlier printing.

5th Robinson Printing
Rose Pink - perforated, no wmk , THICK paper

An estimated 120,000 were printed in November 1859 on a thick hand-made paper, without watermark, and in a distinctive rose pink shade. All copies are perforated 12.

This is a rare stamp unused.

5th Robinson Printing
Cracked electro variety

Various examples of cracked electros appear in the printings of these stamps. The example shown here has a crack in the electrotype that extends from the left margin about two-thirds of the way up, projecting downward in a fairly straight line, cutting through the O of FOUR and extending to the bottom of the stamp.

6th Robinson Printing
Rose Pink - horizontally wide laid paper

This printing, from December 1859, is classified as rose pink, but the color shown here seems more like reddish rose. These are printed on a horizontally laid paper, with the laid line widely spaced. All copies are perforated 12.

6th Robinson Printing
Rose Pink - horizontally narrow laid paper

Part of this printing was on a horizontally laid paper with narrowly spaced laid lines. Unused copies are very scarce.

6th Robinson Printing
Rose Red - horizontally narrow laid paper

Shades of rose red are found from this printing, though the major catalogs do not list this shade. These are on horizontally laid paper with narrowly spaced laid lines, perforated 12.

6h Robinson Printing
Over-inked example, rose pink

A peculiar example showing an apparent kiss print in the lettering and smudged appearance due to over-inking.

Feedback would be appreciated...


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

The Emblems of Victoria, by J.R.W. Purves, Hawthorn Press, 1957

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)

<< Previous | Menu | Next >>