What the....?.

edited November 2022 in Chatter 0 LikesVote Down
Ok, I've seen a lot of things in the world of philately, not nearly everything, but I've seen a lot of things, and I ain't never seen this.
This is StG New Zealand 401a, currently offered for bidding by a good dealer in England. What is it, how'd it happen, how often? I'm fuddled...


  • 15 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Scott #133, Catalogue 2022
    I don't understand "StG New Zealand 401a".
  • StG New Zealand 401a = Stanley Gibbons catalogue number.
  • edited November 2022 0 LikesVote Down
    My best guess is that during the perforating process, the sheet moved just enough to throw the pins off by one notch, meaning that a certain part of the entire sheet ended up looking like this (size depending on when the slip occurred). This would then be a vertical pair taken from the sheet right at that transition level.
  • Not sure that I can agree with your there George. It's too specific. The speed of perforation machines, and perf wheels is too fast for a "slip" in the page to come out in prefect vertical alignment like that. You can't just move a page over while it's being perfed without causing some other significant issue in the paper (tearing, folding, etc.)

    Phil's got a real mystery here. I'd need to know more about the perforation machine that perfed these stamps to understand how this freak could occur.
  • Dunno Scott. New Zealand used comb, line, and rotary perforating machines. Line perforators required the sheets be moved manually after each "cut" of a single line of perforations, so I can imagine how the operator might have accidentally created a shift, perhaps by accidentally moving the guide arm by one notch. Also with line perforators, once a sheet was perforated in one direction, the sheet had to be turned to perforate in the other direction. The issue here in the vertical perforations only. Disclaimer: I'm still guessing...
  • I could see the possibility of a line perforator being off, though I don't know if that's physically possible. Then a full sheet would be perforated at the same time, at least in one direction. But it seems odd to me that a machine might be capable of that. Wheel perforation certainly is not. Comb similar to line, but I am rather certain fixed in any linear direction.
    This is a real mystery.
    My other inclination is to say faked... but I don't know enough about these issues if there is base material for such a possibility, but the fact that it has a catalog listing (apparently Gibbons 401a) suggests there is a real explanation for this.
  • The name Wayne Youngblood is likely familiar to you. I contacted him since he's an EFO kinda guy and he wrote back:
    "This was probably caused by a misalignment of a comb perforator (shaped like one) that perforates 3 sides of a stamp at a time."
  • Thank you, George, that is one thing that starts to make sense. If the print shop used a devise which perforated three sides at a time, then i can see how this could have occurred. New Zealand has a very proud and detailed postal history, and there were many quality control issues in the early years. I was concerned about this item because it was listed by a British firm with a good reputation, but there was no explanation about the perf shift. The pair was presented as if it was something everyone should know about already. And, unfortunately, I do not. Ya'll let me know if you find out more...
  • The top stamp has 15 perf holes on the vertical, while the bottom one has 16. The perf holes are also two different sizes.
  • edited November 2022 0 LikesVote Down
    I've finally looked at my '08 Scott Specialized. It mentions that vertical pairs of three higher values of this set exist with different perf counts on the sides. That is likely what happened here. The perfs are 13.5 & 14.5. I can see that happening with 3-sided perf combs bracketed together, and thus the different perfs top and bottom .In this case the combs were misaligned and presto.
  • I can also see postal clerks cussing these things when they showed up
  • Ah yes, I know Wayne. His explanation sounds reasonable, and comb is the one type of perforation device that I have no experience with. I'll have to look into it more, though I don't believe the US ever used them (which, as a US expert, is why I don't know much about the comb perforators).
    But great to have an answer that is understandable.
  • This answers a question of mine that came up two or three days ago when I was cataloging a few Newfoundland stamps for sale. Scott #87 exists with a number of perforation varieties, all with horizontal perforation gauge 12 but with various vertical perforation gauges (11, 12 and 14). I ended up with a single copy of each.

    But what was really interesting was the very last listing under this catalog number. Scott 87h, with no value given, is listed as having perforations of 12 x 12 x 12 x 11. This may have answered where this unusual perforation variety came from and why it is not common (thus no value given). This is the only time I can remember coming across the perforations for a stamp having a listing for all four sides.

    I was using a 2022 edition Scott Classic Catalogue.
  • Richard,
    Open you Scott Classic Catalogue and take a look at Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Austrians were the Hands Down Super Stars of Perforation Varieties.
  • Harry,

    I have a bunch from Bosnia to list, but just haven't gotten around to working on them. This gives me something to look forward to. Every area seems to have it's own quirks.
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