Queen-On-Throne


The Queen-on-Throne Issues were necessitated due to damage to the Two Pence Half Length die. Thomas Ham was commissioned to manufacture and print a new issue, with a full length portrait of Queen Victoria sitting on the throne being the adopted design.

Ham engraved a plate of 50 images on a steel plate which included unique plating letters for each image, thus, greatly simplifying the ability of collectors to plate the positions of the stamps.

The large number of stamps printed resulted in deterioration of the printing plates, leading to progressively poorer quality in the printings. This is one of the identifying features of these stamps.

These may be the most difficult of all the stamps issued in Victoria to properly classify. At the very least, they represent a significant challenge.


Reconstructing the plate positions for this stamp issue is described in an article under the menu option PLATING the 2d Queen-on-Throne


Red Brown - Ham's Engraved Printing

Ham engraved a plate of 50 different images on a steel plate. Each position was uniquely engraved, with the most prominent differences being the letters in the bottom corners. Each stamp has a unqiue combination of letters making it the easiest stamp from Victoria to plate. The plating guidelines are provided inthe philatelic article entitled PLATING the 2d Queen-on-Throne

Pairs and multiples of the Ham printings are much scarcer than the later printings.

Chestnut - Ham's Engraved Printing

A very distinctive and rare Chestnut shade is found. It is presumed that it was an experimental color which was used for only a few sheets. About 15 examples are recorded, and many are incorrectly identified.

A certificate from a relevant expert committee is advised!

Purple Brown - Ham's Engraved Printing

The Ham printings are also found in purple brown. This seems to be quite a scarce shade unused.


Brown Purple - Campbell Printing
Early Impression with Detailed Background

The Campbell printings were made using lithography. Several printing stones were used and each, in turn, became quite worn, resulting in progressively poor impressions.

Proper identification of the stages in the deterioration of the Campbell printings can be a daunting challenge to most collectors. Unless you are prepared to devote an extraordinary effort to this issue, I suggest you collect examples of the deterioration without specific regard to identifying them according to any of the major catalogs.

The first printings are quite easy to separate - the detail is less refined than the Ham printings, but they are complete, or nearly so.

Grey Brown - Campbell Printing
Early Impression with Detailed Background

The early printings also included a grey brown shade.

It is worth noting that all of the Campbell printings have a greyish tint to them, whereas the later Campbell and Fergusson printings all have a pink tint to them.

Violet Black - Campbell Printing
Early Impression with Detailed Background

A violet black shade is also found among the early impressions.

Unused examples of all of the Campbell printings are quite scarce.

Dull Lilac Brown - Campbell Printing
Early Impression with Detailed Background

The final shade group in the early printings is a dull lilac brown. It's very scarce unused.

Violet Black - Campbell Printing
Second State with Weaker Impressions

The second printing stage reveals some weakening of the impression, especially in the background behind the throne.

Grey Black - Campbell Printing
Second State with Weaker Impressions

Note the lack of detail behind the throne, however, the remainder of the image is still quite well formed. Unused examples of this entire group are quite scarce.

Grey Lilac - Campbell Printing
Second State with Weaker Impressions

The background behind the throne is visible here, but the overall lack of clarity is apparent. The deterioration in quality can be manifest in different ways in the overall image - in some cases parts of the image are missing, while in other cases, it can be blurred.

Dull Brown - Campbell Printing
Second State with Weaker Impressions

This example has complete details behind the throne but showing some mild deterioration when compared to the early printings.

Grey Purple - Campbell Printing
Third State with Missing Details

As printings continued, the impressions deteriorated further. At the third stage, the background behind the throne is absent altogether.

Purple Black - Campbell Printing
Third State with Missing Details

A purple black shade is found in this group.

Grey Drab - Campbell Printing
Final State with Flat & Blurred Impression

In the final Campbell printings, the impressions are flat and blurry. The background lines behind the throne blend together (but lacking the blotchy look of the later C&F printings). Unused examples are very scarce.


Lilac - C&F Printing
Early State With Complete Impression

The Campbell & Fergusson (CF)printings all have a distinctive reddish quality to them. The early impressions are full and relatively fine in quality.

Purple - C&F Printing
Early State With Complete Impression

The purple shade is a brownish purple, which can be similar in color to the Ham printing in purple brown.

Brown - C&F Printing
Second State With Some Deterioration

The first stages of deterioration reveal blurred or partly missing background behind the throne.

Brown Purple - C&F Printing
Second State With Some Deterioration

A brown purple shade is found among this group.

Warm Purple - C&F Printing
Second State With Some Deterioration

The warm purple is a distintive shade, not found elsewhere in any of the printing groups. Note the lack of detail behind the throne.

Rose Lilac - C&F Printing
Second State With Some Deterioration

Rose lilac is also distinctive to this group. Note the blurred lines to the sides of the throne and the lack of completeness above the throne. Unused exmaples of all of these shades are very scarce.

Dull Lilac Mauve - C&F Printing
Third State With Coarse & Worn Impressions

The impressions in the third stage of the printings are coarse, blurred and often show blotchy patches in the background which no longer resemble the lines in the original engravings.

Dull Mauve - C&F Printing
Third State With Coarse & Worn Impressions

There are many shade variations found in these CF printings which can be daunting.

Grey Violet - C&F Printing
Third State With Coarse & Worn Impressions

Once again, many shade variants seem to exist within this group, and require a high degree of specialization to master. These examples represent my 'best guess'.

Red Lilac - C&F Printing
Third State With Coarse & Worn Impressions

Despite the fact that the background is present in this example, I've concluded this example must belong with this group by excluding it from every other group. The coarseness and blotchiness of the impression is undeniable.

Dull Purple - C&F Printing
Final State Blotchy & Blurred Impression

The final stage of deterioration is quite stunning. Unused examples are rare. My theory is that collectors and dealers in the early days tossed any examples they may have encountered as being merely spacefillers, thus denying all future generations of examples of these philatelic ugly ducklings.

Dull Grey Lilac - C&F Printing
Final State Blotchy & Blurred Impression

An incredibly fine example of one manifestation of the final printings. There are many variants found in these final printings due to overinking, lack of detail and inconsistent color shades.


The TVO Variety

A creased transfer on the the first Campbell & Fergusson lithographic printing resulted in a famous variety affecting position 48 on the plate (with corner letters Y-B). A diagonal crease is visible along the entire height of the stamp - from just inside the top right corner to the lower value tablet, with the W of TWO folded into a V.

This famous TVO variety is quite rare. About 2500 were printed - probably 30-40 survive.

This example is from the record TVO multiple.

To view it CLICK HERE


Yellow Green - imperforate, wmk STAR

This stamp, issued in October 1856, is one of the very few stamps printed in England for use in Victoria. It was designed and printed by Perkins, Bacon and Co. on paper watermarked with a large star and replaced the one penny Half Length. Supplies only lasted a few months when it was replaced with the One Penny Emblem.

Bright Blue - rouletted, wmk STAR

The Six Pence stamp was also designed and printed by Perkins, Bacon & Co. in England. It was delivered to Victoria as an imperforate stamp but was rouletted 5.5 ~ 6.5 by Robinson before it was issued in November 1858.

Light Blue - rouletted, wmk STAR

A lighter blue shade is also found.

Uncataloged - Perforated 12

According to the conventional wisdom, all of these stamps were issued rouletted, however, Kellow illustrates this exact stamp on page 104 of The Stamps of Victoria, and another similar example resides in the Trillium collection. The perforations found on both stamps exactly match the characteristics of the genuine Robinson perforations. It is quite possible that he found an un-perforated sheet at some later date and perforated them.

Can anyone supply images of additional examples?



S-W Forgery Type 1

This was made by an unknown forger, and is a companion to the Two Pence version shown below. The background is a diamond pattern, formed by criss-crossed lines, with each diamond filled with a spot of color. The overall appearance is made to simulate the Two Pence issue and bears no resemblence to the genuine Pekins, Bacon issue of this stamp.

S-W Forgery Type 1

The two pence version of this forgery is easily detected - the background, which appears as a series of diamiond patterns, bears little resemblence to the genuine stamp. The letters in the bottom corner are always S-W.


S-W Forgery Type 2 Die I

A very crude effort. The S has a long overhang at the top, the W has a hook extending leftward from the upper right corner. The W in TWO is weak and mal-formed. The background has very coarse lines, and the overall appearance is much less refined than the genuine stamp.

S-W Forgery Type 2 Die II

The third state found has more refined background, but has the same lettering characteristics in the S and the W at the bottom corners, and has the same weak and distorted W in TWO. The corner letters S-W are always present.

S-W Forgery Type 2 Die III

The third die state found has more refined features in the scrolls at the top left and right, finer background details and other small refinements to create a more realistic representation of the genuine stamp - buried in a scan of an album page it can be quite deceiving.


The Q-U Forgery

This is also the work of an unknown forger, always seen with the corner letters Q-U. The queen is not holding any scepter, which makes this very easy to identify. The indiex finger points upwards in a defiant gesture, there is a cross on the top of the crown, and the drape on the gown covers the first step.


The A-E Forgery - Deep Purple

This forgery may be attribuated to Panelli, and is one of the more credible efforts. Two die states are found. The first die state has a flaw just to the right of PENCE extending downward into the whie space. The W of TWO is deformed, the top of the scepter is pointed and the first E of PENCE is short.

The A-E Forgery - Warm Purple

A second site state is found which resmbles the later, worn impression seen in the C&F printings. The examples seen to date are in a warm purple similar to one of the genuine shades found. They are often cancelled with bogus barred ovals that can look correct. Some care is required to separate these form genuine examples.

The A-E Forgery - Violet Black

This forgery is also found in a violet-black shade which can easily deceive - on first glance, it can appear genuine. The die flaws to the right of PENCE, the short E in PENCE and the deformed W in TWO, are keys to identifying this forgery.

Panelli - 1d Forgery

The color found on this forgery is a lighter, bluer shade than found in the genuine stamp. The scepter is pointed, the queen's right are is within the throne. These are often found with a bogus watermark pressed into the paper, but it is a 5 pointed star, not 6 pointed as found in the genuine paper. Finally the borders at left and right are distinctively different than the genuine stamp.

Panelli 6d Forgery

The SIX PENCE verion of this forgery has the same characteristics as those found in the ONE PENNY, and should not present a problem with identification.


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 Catalog, Part I, British Commonwealth, by Stanley Gibbons Ltd. (2002)

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