Laureates


The Laureate Issues got their name from the laureated wreath worn in the Queen's hair in each of the denominational designs of this issue.

The new Laureate design was driven in large part by the criticisms of the Beaded Oval designs which were not well received by the public or the postal officials who complained that the inscriptions were too small to read.

The Laureate designs ultimately replaced every denomination used within the postal system with the single exception of the Two Shilling stamp, which continued to be issued in the old Woodblock design.

The Laureates represent a complex but most interesting issue with plenty to offer the specialist. They remain one of my favorite collecting areas from Victoria.



Pale Green - De La Rue paper, wmk 1

The first printing of the One Penny was issued in September 1864, on DeLaRue paper, watermarked 1, perforated either 12 or 13, in a pale green shade.

There is a rare variety perforated 12 from an emergency usage of the Ferres machine, but these need to be authenticated as the normal perf 13 varies from 12 to 13 and could easily be confused for the Ferres variety.

Bluish Green - De La Rue paper, wmk 1

The bluish green was issued December 1864, on De La Rue (DLR) paper watermarked 1, and is found perforated 13 only.

Green - De La Rue paper, wmk 1

The next printing was in green, wmk 1, issued July 1865, perforated either 12 or 13.

Deep Green - De La Rue paper, wmk 1

Issued in December 1865, on DLR paper watermarked 1, perforated 12, 13 or 12x13.

The perforated 12x13 variety is very scarce.

Bright Yellow Green - De La Rue paper, wmk 8

This emergency printing was issued in December 1866, on DeLaRue paper wmk 8.

Unused copies are scarce.

Bright Yellow Green - De La Rue paper, wmk 1

A final printing on the remaining inventory of DLR paper watermarked 1 was printed in January 1867, perforated 13 only. It is a scarce stamp and care must be taken to separate it from the printings on Saunders paper in similar shades.

Bright Yellow Green - wmk 4

In March 1867 an emergency printing was issued on Saunders paper watermarked single lined 4. These are all perforated 13.

Bright Yellow Green - Saunders paper, wmk 6

Another emergency printing, this one on Saunders paper, watermarked 6, was issued June 1867.

A similar issue on De La Rue paper watermarked 6, is very rare.

Bright Yellow Green - wmk V1

The first printings on the V1 paper were issued in August 1867 in the bright yellow green shades. These are the only V1 printings of the One Penny using the Robinson plates. Only perf 13 is found. The Robinson plates often had internal distortions which can assist in identifying this printing.

Pale Yellow Green - wmk Double lined 1

An emergency printing on Tasmanian paper, issued September 1867, watermarked double lined 1, perforated 13.

Deep Yellow Green - wmk Double Lined 1

Issued October 1867, with the same characteristics as above, but in the deep yellow green shade.

Pale Yellow Green - wmk SIX PENCE

In March 1868 an emergency printing was issued on paper watermarked SIX PENCE. It is a rare stamp unused.

Pale Yellow Green - wmk Double Lined 4

An emergency printing from May 1868, on Tasmania paper watermarked double lined 4, perforated 13.

Kellow suggests that only 8 or 9 unused copies may exist, making it one of the great rarities of the Laureate issues.

Example shown is ex-Caspary.

Bright Olive Green - wmk V1

The second consignment of V1 paper was used for the Jan 1869 printing on the new Atkinson plates. These plates had fewer internal distortions. This printing is only found perf 13.

Printings made on Atkinson's plates were issued from October 1868 until 1875. Shades vary considerably, and most are very difficult to separate. I have found it easier to separate dated used copies, then use them as reference copies to compare against unused examples. Most perforated 13, however some printings are also found perforated 12.

Yellow Green - wmk V1

Yellow green printed from the Atkinson plates appeared in April 1869, perf 13 only.

Dull Green - wmk V1

The dull green shade was issued in March 1870, perforated 13 only.

Pale Green - wmk V1

The pale green shades appeared in Oct 1870, and can be found perf 12 or 13.

Grass Green - wmk V1

The grass-green shades were issued in 1871. The grass-green shade looks like a yellow green to me? These can be found perf 12 or 13.

Bluish Green - wmk V1

The bluish green was issued in July 1872, and is found perf 12 or 13.

Green - Overprinted ½ Half

When the inland newspaper rate changed to a halfpenny in July 1873, the One Penny was overprinted as shown. They are all from printings on Atkinson plates. Both perforations 13 and 12 are found, in shades of green and grass-green.

Green - Overprinted with Short ½

A very scarce surcharge variety occurred, affecting only 1 of the 2 plates used, and then only one stamp in each pane of 240. The ½ on the right side has a short 1.

The Short ½ Variety is very rare.


Violet - wmk 2

The first printing of the Two Pence was issued in April 1864, perforated 12 only, on DeLaRue paper watermarked with numeral 2.

Dull Violet - wmk 2

The next printings in October 1864 were printed in dull violet. Perforations 12 and 13 are both found. A few were perforated on the Ferres machine perforated 12½x12 or perf 12½. These need to be authenticated, as copies perforated on the 13 gauge machine could deceive.

Reddish Mauve - wmk 2

The reddish mauve shade appeared in November 1865, perforated 12 only. It can be a difficult shade to separate from the rosy-lilac shade shown below.

Rosy Lilac - wmk 2

The Rosy Lilac on paper watermarked 2, was issued in January 1866, and is found perforated either 13 or 12x13. The latter stamp can be useful for separating this shade from the reddish mauve, as no perforation 12x13 was issued in that shade.

For details about the only recorded example with compound perforations - CLICK HERE

Grey - wmk 2

The final printing on DeLaRue paper watermarked 2 was printed in grey and issued July 1866. Perforated eitherns 13 or 12, but the perforation 12 seems to be very scarce.

Lilac - wmk V1

Issued August 1868 from Robinson plates, perforated 13 only.

Dull Mauve - wmk V1

This shade is called dull mauve, but the shades I've seen are not very dull. Printed from Robinson plates, watermarked V1, perforated 13 only. These were issued October 1868.

Lilac Rose - wmk V1

Lilac Rose was printed on the Atkinson plates and issued February 1869, watermarked V1 and perforated 13 only.

Dull Lilac - wmk V1

Dull lilac was printed using the Atkinson plates, issued June 1869, watermarked V1 and perforated 13 only.

Silver Grey - wmk V1

The final printing of the Two Pence Laureate was in silver grey, issued September 1869, watermarked V1, and perforated 13 only. It can be separated from the early Grey-lilac shades because it is printed from the Atkinson plates which do not have any internal distortions that are characteristic of the Robinson plates. It is a scarce stamp.


Lilac - wmk 8

The Three Pence Laureate did not arrive until September 1866 after the last of the 3d Beaded Ovals was sold. The first printing was on emergency paper stocks, watermarked 8, perforated 13 only.

Lilac - wmk V1

The next printing was issued in July 1867, watermarked V1, in Lilac, perforated 13.

Grey Lilac - wmk V1

A second printing on the V1 paper was done in June 1868, in a grey-lilac shade, also perforated 13. Only about 38,000 of this stamp were issued, which is a very scarce stamp unused.

Grey Lilac - wmk Double Lined 1

When stocks ran low, an emergency printing was made in August 1868, on paper watermarked double lined 1, in a grey lilac shade, perforated 13. Only 21,000 were issued, making it a rare stamp, and very rare unused.

Orange - wmk V1

Commencing in 1869, printings of the Three Pence were changed to various shades of orange. This printing, from March 1873, is on unglazed paper watermarked V1, in rather bright Orange, perforated 13.

Dull Orange Yellow - Wmk V1

In late 1880, the Three Pence denomination was issued on glazed paper, perforated 12 1/2 on paper watermarked V1.

Yellow Orange - wmk V2

The Three Pence continued in use after the switch to the paper watermarked V2, and this printing of April 1883 is on glazed paper watermarked V2, comb perforated 12 1/2.

1885 STAMP DUTY Overprint
Yellow Orange - 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 Three Pence Laureate shown here.

To view the 1885-1900 Issues CLICK HERE

The `No Postage' 1901-1912 Issue

The Three Pence Laureate design was resurrected in 1901. This issue can be segregated from earlier printings by the watermark. The 1901 issue has watermark V4, while the earlier issues only had watermark types V1 or V2.

To view the 1901-1912 Issues CLICK HERE

The POSTAGE 1901-1912 Issue

In 1901 the design was altered to include the word POSTAGE below the bust of the queen, making it easy to segregate from earlier printings.


Deep Rose - wmk 4

The first printing of the Four Pence was issued in September 1863, on DeLaRue paper watermarked 4, and is only found perforated 12.

Rose-Pink - wmk 4

The rose-pink issues also appeared in September 1863, watermarked 4, perforated 12 only.

Deep Rose - wmk Double Lined 4

An emergency printing on Tasmanian paper watermarked with a double lined 1 was issued January 1864, perforated 13 only.

Dull Reddish Rose - wmk Double Lined 4

The color of the emergency printings of January 1864 ranged from very pale to very deep as shown here and above.

Dull Reddish Rose - wmk Double Lined 4

A second emergency printing on Tasmanian paper was issued in August 1865, found perforated 13, 12 and 12x13 (scarce). This example perforated 12 excludes it from the third and final emergency printing on this paper in 1868, which is found only perforated 13.

For details on the unique example with compound perforations - CLICK HERE

Red - wmk Double Lined 4

From a second emergency printing in Decmeber 1865 on the Tasmanian paper watermarked double lined 4, perforated 13 only, in shades of red.

Rose Red - wmk 4

Printed in February 1868, on Saunders paper, and found perforated 12, 13 or 12x13.

For details on a recently discovered example with compound perforations - CLICK HERE

Dull Rose (aniline) - wmk V1

The first printing on unglazed paper watermarked V1, was in April 1869, perforated 13 only.

Aniline Deep Red - wmk V1

Issued April 1869, on unglazed paper, watermarked V1, perforated 13 only, printed from Robinson plates.

Rose - wmk V1

The Rose shades appeared about August 1871, with some variation in the shades. Both perforations 13 and 12 are found.

Dull Rose - wmk V1

Dull Rose on glazed paper was issued in March 1879, with perforations 12 and 13 both found.

Dull Rose Red - wmk V1

Dull Rose Red on glazed paper was issued in November 1879. It is also found perforated either 12 or 13.

Bright Lilac Rose (aniline) - wmk V1

In February 1880, the bright lilac-rose shade appeared, on glazed paper, both perforations 12 and 13 are found.

Rosine (aniline) - wmk V1

The final shade is the very distinctive Rosine, also on glazed paper, which appeared in September 1880. Perforations 13, 12 and 12.5 are known.

The Four Pence Laureate was replaced in October 1880 with the 4d Bell design.


Blue - wmk 6

The first printing of the Six Pence was issued in February 1866, in blue. Perforations 12, 13 and 12x13 are known.

Blue - wmk SIX PENCE

An emergency printing on old paper stock watermarked SIX PENCE was issued in May 1868, perforated 13.

Blue - wmk Double Lined 4

An emergency printing on Tasmania paper watermarked Double Lined 4 was issued in June 1868, perforated 13. Indigo blue is also known.

Blue - wmk Double Lined 1

An emergency printing on Tasmania paper was issued in July 1868 on paper watermarked double lined 1. Perforation 13 only is known.

Deep Blue - wmk THREE PENCE

An emergency printing on paper watermarked THREE PENCE was issued in December 1869, perforated 13. It is also found in dull blue.

Dull Blue - wmk FOUR PENCE

An emergency printing on paper watermarked FOUR PENCE was issued May 1870, perforated 13. Deep blue is also found.

Dull Ultramarine - wmk V1

A printing in dull ultramarine on paper watermarked V1 was issued in December 1875, perforated 13 only.

Dull Milky Blue - wmk V1

This very distinctive shade was issued September 1879 on glazed paper watermarked V1, perforated either 13 or 12.

Prussian Blue - wmk V1

Issued April 1880, on glazed paper watermarked V1, comb perforated 12½ .

This is also found line perforated 13.

Dull Violet Blue - wmk V2

The Six Pence continued in usage long enough to be printed on the V2 paper. The first shade seen is this dull violet blue, issued November 1882, comb perforated 12½ only.

Indigo Blue - wmk V2

The Six Pence continued in usage long enough to be printed on the paper watermarked V2. This shade appeared November 1883.

The `No Postage' 1901-1912 Issue

The Six Pence Laureate design was resurrected in 1901, but in shades of green, making it easy to segregate from earlier printings.

To view the 1901-1912 Issues CLICK HERE

The POSTAGE 1901-1912 Issue

The Laureate design continued until 1912, but the design was altered in 1901 to include the word POSTAGE. All printings are in green shades making it easy to segregate from earlier printings.


Orange - wmk 8

This was the first Eight Pence stamp used in the colony. 60,000 were printed on paper watermarked 8, perforated 13, issued February 1865. They are prone to fading, and copies with clean impressions are very desirable.

Lilac Brown - wmk V1

These are printed on paper watermarked V1, perforated 13 only. There is also a very rare issue on wmk 10 paper in this shade (sg192).

Purple Brown - wmk 10

Saunders supplied the paper watermarked 10 that was used for these printings. This shade is only found perforated 13.

Chocolate - wmk V1

This shade was issued in August 1878 on paper watermarked V1. This is found perforated 13 only. A rare issue in chocolate is also found on paper wmk 10.

Red Brown on Pink

The red brown issue on paper watermarked V1 is only found perforated 12 with distinctively large holes. The same shade is found in the 1879 issue on wmk10 paper.


Grey - wmk 8

The first printing of the 10d was on paper watermarked 8, in various shades of grey. The number printed is not known precisely, but it was fewer than 60,000, and survival rates were not good as this is a very scarce stamp, and unused it is quite rare.

Grey Black - wmk 8

A small minority of the first printing are in a darker shade listed in catalogs as grey-black. It is a very scarce stamp.

Grey - wmk 8, Solid Corner Variety

One position in the sheet of 120 stamps had a solid block of color in the upper right corner, instead of the usual `ladder rung' border. With only one copy per sheet, the total number printed of this anomaly was less than 500, making it a very rare variety.

Dull Purple on Pink - Printing #1, 2

The grey printings were replaced with 4 printings on paper watermarked 10. Inverted, reversed and inverted+reversed watermarks are found in each printing in various proportions. Printings 1 and 2 consisted of 300,000 stamps - these were made in March 1866 and December 1866, and are found perforated 13 or 12x13.

Blackish Brown - Printing #3

This printing of 120,000 was issued in December 1869 in a distinctly blackish brown shade, perforated 13 only.

Purple Brown - Printing #4

The final printing of 120,000 is also found perf 13 only. The vast majority of this printing was later overprinted NINEPENCE, making the un-overprinted stamp a very scarce stamp. Inverted and Reversed watermarks are found.

Purple Brown - Overprinted NINEPENCE

When the postage rate for English mail via Brindisi was reduced to 9d, the 10d stamp had little use. Existing stocks were overprinted as shown in 1871. About 30,000 were overprinted in this shade, perforated 13, watermarked 10.

This is a rare stamp unused.

Blackish Brown - Overprinted NINEPENCE

In November 1870, the fourth printing of the 10d was almost entirely overprinted as shown. All copies are perforated 13, watermarked 10. Inverted and reversed wmks are found.

A rare double overprinting exists - only several known.


Deep Blue on Blue - First Printing

The first printing of the One Shilling appeared in April 1865. All stamps are perforated 13, watermarked 1, on DeLaRue paper. The stamps from this printing often display white patches as a result of poor make-ready.

Dull Blue on Blue - wmk 1

A distinctive dull blue shade was issued in January 1873 on Saunders paper, watermarked 1. This printing is found perforated either 12 or 13.

Indigo Blue on Blue - Watermarked 1

The final printing on Saunders paper was issued in September 1873 in a deep indigo shade. Both perforations 12 and 13 are found.

Light Blue on Blue - Watermarked V1

The final printing of the One Shilling was issued in May 1875, on paper watermarked V1. Both perforatons 12 and 13 are found.

This was replaced in August 1876 by the One Shilling Bell design.


Blue on green - wmk 2

The six pence Woodblock design remained in usage during most of the Laureate period. The various issues of this stamp are highlighted under the Woodblock section.

To view the Woodblock Issues CLICK HERE


Blue on Yellow - Printing#1

A very small printing of 1200 was issued in December 1867 in small sheets of 25 stamps. This would be a mere 48 sheets, not enough to distribute a single sheet to each post office! They were printed on paper with watermark V1 upright, perforated 13. The first printing stamps are always wider, and have a `deep edge' with darker inking along the border and often show traces of the edges of the cliches. As well, 25% of the first printing are found with the watermark reversed.

Blue on Yellow - Printing#2

Another very small printing of 1700 stamps, once again in sheets of 25. Printed on paper watermarked V1, reversed wmks are not found in this printing, and stamps from this printing are always narrower than the first printing. All copies are perforated 13.

Indigo & Carmine - Printing#1

Issued in October 1868, perforated 13 on unglazed paper watermarked V1. Total issue was 5,000 making this another very scarce stamp.

Blue & Carmine - Printing #2

Issued in April 1869, with a total printing of 45,000, making this the most common of the early five shilling stamps. All copies are perforated 13 on unglazed paper watermarked V1. This copy is dated Ap 24 69 making this a very early example.

Pale Bright Blue & Carmine - Printing#3

The previous printing lasted 8 years. This printing of 6,000 was issued in May 1877, on glazed paper, watermarked V1, perforated 13. All subsequent printings were on glazed paper.

Grey Blue & Carmine - Printing #4, 5

Two printings were issued in April 1878 and March 1879 in these colors which cannot be separated. Total issue was about 12,000, all perforated 13 on V1 paper.

Deep Lavendar Blue & Carmine - Printing#6

The final Die I printing of 6000 stamps was issued in June 1880, perforated 13 on V1 paper.

This is the only printing with watermark sideways which is an easy marker for separating this printing from the others.

Bright Blue & Red - Die II

From an new engraving of the old design, stamps from these later issues can be segregated from earlier printings easily, as there is no thin blue line below the crown. Perforations 12 and 13 are both found. These are all printed on glazed paper, watermarked V1 upright.

MAJOR MULTIPLES

Indigo & Red - Die II

No information is known on the number issued in this color, but it is a very scarce shade. The total number issued of the Die II printings was less than 28,000. Both perforatons 12 and 12 are found. These are all printed on V1 paper.

Bright Blue & Red - Short `I' Variety

A distinct variety appears in one position per sheet in which the second `I' in SHILLING is noticeably shorter than the other letters. This is a very rare stamp as only 275 of them were issued ( 1 per sheet of 100).

Light Blue & Red - 1891 Reprint

Reprints were issued when Victoria joined the UPU in 1891 (some copies exist without an overprint). These are in distinctive colors and printed on V2 paper, making them easy to separate from earlier postal issues.

The 1901 No Postage Issue

While this stamp does not belong in this section, an example is included for reference as many collectors confuse these later issues with the earlier Laureate issues. Please refer to the Issues of 1901 - 1912 for further information.

To view the 1901-1912 Issues CLICK HERE

The 1901-1912 POSTAGE Issues

Once again, these are often confused for the earlier printings.

To view the 1901-1912 Issues CLICK HERE


Spiro Brothers Forgery

A crude forgery with a poorly defined portrait area printed on porous paper. It is printed on unwatermarked paper, and has blue printed frame printed approximately where the perforation lines are placed. Postmarks are often a series of straight lines or a quarter circle, both being quite unlike anything used by the post office.

Spiro Brothers Forgery

A bi-colored version of the Spiro forgery exists, attempting to emulate the later bi-colored Laureate printings. It has the same features as noted above.  The garlands that surround the portraits are often blotchy and do not have well-defined points as normally seen in the genuine printings.

Unknown Forger

A respectable effort, but printed on unwatermarked paper. The curly ornament at the very bottom is pointed inwards in the genuine stamp but points outwards in this forgery. The forgery appears to be quite rare as this is the only example I have documented.

Unknown Forger

A convincing forgery, but printed on unwatermarked paper. The shading on the neck is a cross-hatch of vertical and horizontal lines whereas the genuine only has horizontal lines. The bow in the hair is longer and shaped differently and other small differences can be detected.


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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