Printing for the common design stamps was undertaken by three companies (Bradbury Wilkinson & Co
., Thomas De La Rue & Co
., and Waterlow and Sons). Waterlow prepared the master dies of the vignette and frames. Duplicates were provided to the other two printers. This accounts for the differences in varieties seen. Perforation size for the Waterlow and Bradbury printings were 11 x 12 whereas the De la Rue perforations were 13 1/2 x 14. The De la Rue printings contain the Frame plate numbers on the bottom selvedges (margins) under the second stamp in the bottom row (10/2) and the Vignette Plate numbers under the fifth stamp in the bottom row (10/5). Although these were not present with the other printers the various plates have been identified. Bradbury and Waterlow undertook the printing for 15 colonies each (see below), while De la Rue did the printing for 14 colonies.
The printing paper used came from a single source (W. Howard and Sons) and was issued in sheets 25 x 13 inches. This permitted two vignette plates to be printed side by side and provides the background for pairings of various plates. The sequence of printing was firstly that of the vignettes (centre pieces). Frame Plates and the Value tablets were combined in stage two to provide the final product when these were "over-printed" onto the vignettes.
In addition to these three companies, a number of other printers were involved in the printing of the stamps for the remaining countries and dependencies (see other printers
The pages relating to each printer provide information on the varieties found with the various issues. I have also included a listing of plates used for each issue so that you can match stamps by this method as well
To view the stamps and varieties of each printer, click on the Printer's name below.
Gilbert & Ellice Islands Gold Coast
Trinidad & Tobago
British Solomon Islands
Kenya, Uganda & Tanganyika
Leeward Islands Montserrat
St. Christopher & Nevis
Turks & Caicos
Plates: 1 - 12
Plates: 2A, 2(A), 2B, 2(B), 4, 4/
Plates: 1, 2A, 2B, 3 - 10