The presentation on this series covers the late Colonial period to the end of what is philatelically called the Early Federal Period up to the end of 1912. During this time the denominations which were not represented by the Pictorials were available from the 1892 “Tablets” and even the 8d and 9d “sidefaces” which go back to 1871. Some of these were reprinted with different watermarks etc.
The eight values of the Pictorials, based on 12 photographs, were first proposed to the London printing firm of De La Rue on April 20, 1899. The 1d and 2d designs were approved June 2 and the last design approval Sept. 6. The id and 2d finished stamps were invoiced Oct. 17 and presumably shipped around that date. The final 3 values were invoiced March 28, 1900.
The printings by De La Rue were engraved and all were printed on paper with an updated TAS repeating watermark. This is quite distinct and can often be identified without use of watermark fluid. The ink colour is quite consistent and neither Scott (Sc) not Stanley Gibbons (SG) list any varieties or colour shades, except for SPECIMEN overprint. Plate flaws are listed in the Australian Commonwealth Specialized Catalogue (ACSC). All are perforated 14 (unlike any of the later printings).
After the Federal Union (Jan. 1) De La Rue was advised on Sept. 17, 190l that all Tasmanian stamps were to be printed in Melbourne and the printing plates were to be returned. After the return these printing plates were used to prepare lithographic plates from January 1902; electrotype plates from October 1902; and stereotype plates from 1911. During this period paper with the Victoria watermark of V over Crown (V/Crown) was used from 1902 until September 1905 when Crown over A (Crown/A) watermark paper was used into the 1913 Kangaroo period.
Note: Stanley Gibbons lists by date and type of printing but does not distinguish between the typo printings 33mm wide which are listed by Scott as “Redrawn” #114-116.Scott does not distinguish the shade, perforation, printer, and watermark positions listed by SG. The ACSC has many more listings than SG which has 123 listings (these would be reduced by about half by deleting shades and their varieties) Scott has 21 basic and 7 varieties; Scott Classic has 21 basic and 15 varieties many of which are separate listings for perf 11.
By Ian Kimmerly, November 2016