Four Pence Laureate With Compound Perforations 12x13x13x13

New Discovery – posted November 2005

The first perforating machine used in Victoria gauged 12 or less. All stamps were perforated on this machine from its’ introduction in early 1859 until October 1864, when it was retired for repairs. Soon afterwards, a new perforating machine was introduced which gauged just under 13. It was used exclusively until August 1865 when it, too, broke down and needed repairs. Luckily the perforation 12 machine had been rebuilt and it was brought back into service, followed soon afterwards by the repaired perforation 13 machine in October 1865. From that point, until July 1866, both machines were in use at the post office.

During this period, there were a couple of occasions when some printings were perforated vertically on one machine and perforated horizontally on the other, thus creating perforation 12x13 and perforation 13x12 varieties. Until the discovery of this stamp in 2004, no examples had been recorded with compound perforations where only one side had been perforated on one machine and the other three sides with the other machine. These might only occur in rare situations where a row or column of perforations had been omitted and subsequently corrected using the other machine.

The example shown is the Four Pence Laureate, in rose red, watermarked single lined 4, (sg121var), which was issued in December 1865, and is the first example to be recorded with this variety. This stamp has recently been granted an RPSV certificate stating it is genuine compound perforation 12x13x13x13. It is a companion to 2 other unique Laureate examples in the Trillium collection, which have similar compound perforation varieties.

A close examination of the scan will reveal that the perforation holes along the top are larger than those on the other three sides. One of the characteristics of the repaired perforation 12 machine is the larger holes (and thus sharper teeth between perforation holes) that are seen in this stamp.


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