The 1c admiral stamp was issued in both sheet form and in three different coil perforations, as well as in booklet panes. In addition to the regular issue, a War Tax stamp was also issued in 1915, which incorporated the words "War Tax" right into the design. Unitrade lists six different shades of the sheet stamps, three of the perf. 8 vertical coil, and two of the perf. 12 horizontal coil. There are no shades listed on the War Tax Issue.
Unitrade's treatment of the shades is confusing for several reasons. The first is that they are not internally consistent between the sheet stamps, the coils, the booklets and the War Tax stamps. Each issue format appears to have been studied in complete isolation of all the others, instead of being studied together. Secondly, colloquial names have been used to describe the colours rather than a standard colour key like the Stanley Gibbons Colour Key.
What I will attempt to do in this post is to clear some of the confusion by showing you what I believe each major shade looks like. The only shade I do not have to show you right now is the grey green. I will add an example of this in a subsequent update when one becomes available. I will also cross reference the Unitrade names to Stanley Gibbons colour key names.
My basis for judging which shades are which in Unitrade is based mostly on my observation of the dates listed next to each shade group and an understanding that when Unitrade lists and prices a shade, what they are really doing is pricing a group of printings according to their relative scarcity. This means that other factors, like the paper, and the gum become just as important to correctly classifying the stamps in Unitrade as the actual colour. Another implication of this is that there is a range of shades within each of the listed groups. So I believe a collector, however well intentioned is incorrect in asserting that each listed shade is only one exact shade. You often hear a collector saying something to the effect of "yes that is a definitely bluish green, but its NOT the blue green" or something similar.
The Sheet Stamps
Unitrade lists the following six shade groups:
- Dark green
- Blue green, 1911-1913
- Deep blue green, 1913-1914
- Yellow green, 1915-1919
- Dark yellow green, 1920
- Grey green, no date given
- The stamps on the left and in the centre match the deep green colour swatch most closely.
- The stamp on the right matches the myrtle green swatch most closely. This shade is the one most often seen on the War Tax stamps.
The war tax stamps are described as being "green", but as we shall see from the scan below, nearly all of these stamps fall into the same dark green shade group:
- The left stamp is closest to the deep green swatch.
- The second and fourth stamps are closest to the myrtle green swatch.
- The third stamp is closest to the myrtle green swatch if it were darker, so deep myrtle green.
- The left hand stamp is closest to what the dull blue green swatch would be if it were darker - so deep dull bluish green.
- The right hand stamp is closest to the deep dull green swatch.
- The stamp on the left is closest to the dull blue green swatch if it were made very, very dark. In other words very deep dull blue green.
- The stamp in the centre is closest to the bottle green swatch. The gum on this stamp is a clear creamy colour with a satin sheen.
- The stamp on the right is closest to the deep grey-green swatch.
Dark Yellow Green Shades
Unitrade notes that this shade group is from 1920. Actually, I think it covers the period from 1920 until the colour was changed to orange yellow in 1922. The paper and gum should thus be consistent with other stamps of this period, which is to say that the gum is usually a shiny, smooth yellowish cream that sometimes has the appearance of having been "sponged on". Usually, but not always, the stamps will show no visible mesh. Sometimes there will be some stamps that have a fine vertical mesh that can be seen.
In terms of Gibbons colour key swatches:
- The left and centre stamps are closest to the yellowish green swatch if it were made darker, i.e. dark yellowish green.
- The right hand stamp is closest to the dull yellowish green swatch if it were made darker
The coil pair on the left is closest to dull green on the Gibbons colour key, while the one on the right is closest to deep green on the key.
If you want to view the 1c green Admirals that I have for sale in my store right now, please do click on the following link: