February 2021

The Zululand 1894 £5 purple & black


Recently added to stock is the iconic £5 red and black, showing the recently discovered error “Black (ZULULAND and £5) Double”. Its status was in jeopardy for many years after it was erroneously identified as a forgery, and it is only through recent research by our very own Dr Philip Kinns that the stamp was given its correct status as a genuine double print, in line with the other Major De La Rue rarities, almost all of which are highly elusive due to DLR’s impeccable Quality control standards. 

Indeed, one of the many reasons that De La Rue won the printing contract for the Crown Agents after the Perkins Bacon scandal was the sheer quality of their output. As well as the remarkable quality of their engraving, the accuracy of perforation (something not mastered by the USA until well into the 20th century), the lack of major errors in their production processes bordered on extraordinary.  

De La Rue errors like the Zululand £5 are remarkably scarce- and even then are often limited to small plate varieties, making a complete double Duty plate and country name even more unusual. This item could not have existed had it not been such a ‘close’ double, it would have been immediately rejected on the factory floor.  



The previous theory about this fascinating and remarkable error was that it had been forged, presumably in Zululand. This ignored the technological capabilities of the colony at time- there was almost certainly not a single resident capable of reliably reproducing an engraved die, but what was initially missed was the fact that a gummed sheet, without value tablet and fully perforated would have needed to be delivered to the colony from De La Rue, something even more unlikely that the double printing which had actually occurred! Despite the manifest flaws in this argument, it was accepted and published, with these items offered as forgeries for many years!  

Also included in the article is detail of a fascinating forgery of Zululand, produced by bleaching a Hong Kong Stamp and reproducing the impression of the stamp photographically. It is, sadly, only let down by the fact that the stamp in question is postmarked “AMOY”, over 11,000 miles away in China! 

Years of research went into the material, and the full article is highly recommended.  

As this stamp is so ‘new to science’ as such, this is only the second example we have recorded, and there cannot possibly be many more out there, given that mint examples of the normal stamp are rarities, commanding a catalogue price of £5,500. Don’t miss it! 

If you would be interested in reading the original aricle 'The Zululand £5@ A controversy resolved" written Dr Philip Kinns, Emeritus Director of Philately at Stanley Gibbons, you can do so here...


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