An untold part of Victorian Postal History
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An untold part of Victorian Postal History

Own a set of four Victorian Stamp Essays. Created in 1879-80 after Perkins, Bacon and Co. lost the contact to print Britain's low value stamps, these four trials were used to tender for the business.

The stamps that never were...

As you may know, stamp essays are the result of tests carried out by printers before production commences. Usually destroyed after use, these experimental issues present a rare insight into the secret life of the stamp. Your four trials have a fascinating history, and as they are nearly 135 years old it's remarkable they have survived so long.

A Revolution in Printing British Stamps

In 1879 Perkins, Bacon & Co. lost the contract to print low value British stamps. It was decided it was too easy to wash the postmark off, and the contract was opened up to other printers. Seven companies tendered for the business - in 1879 for the Penny stamp and in 1880 for the 1/2d, 1 1/2d and 2d values. Whoever won would have to totally revolutionise the production of British Stamps, making them more secure and harder to forge.

Deemed too intricate for production

Perkins, Bacon & Co. tried to win back the contract, and three of your essays are colour trials from their tender - the 1/2d and two 2d values. They are perforated and were originally printed together in a block of twenty-four. Despite being commended for their effigy of Queen Victoria, the designs were rejected as they were deemed too intricate to be reproduced successfully on a mass scale.

The fourth trial in your set is an imperforate One Penny essay produced by McCorquodale in 1879. Considering they were only founded in 1878, it is remarkable they were allowed to tender at all, but unfortunately their design was rejected. However, they went on to print postal stationery and are still trading today - a true British institution

Four rare 1879-80 Queen Victoria Stamp Essays

Your trails will come displayed in a Deluxe Presentation Folder with an accompanying Certificate of Authenticity, testifying to their ago and history.

Click ‘add to basket’ now to secure yours today.

Order Ref 185/M732/0
Price £545.00 (+ £4.99 p&p)


  • Featuring 3 trial stamps from Perkins Bacon & Co (1x 1/2d, 2x 2d)
  • 1d trial stamp from McCorquodale
  • In Presentation Case with Certificate of Authenticity

Numismatic pieces should be owned primarily for collector interest.
Coin Portfolio Management does not offer them as an investment and makes no guarantees in terms of future value.