The Shades Of The 5c Violet And 7c Red Brown Admiral Issue Stamps 1922-1928


Today's post will deal with the shades of the two re-issues of the 5c and 7c values. Unitrade lists a few shades for the 5c, although as we shall see, there are more than what Unitrade lists, and none of the shades are actually violet, but rather all are either shades of purple or lilac. Curiously, there are only two listed shades of the 7c red brown: red-brown and pale red brown, even though there is a world of difference between the shades of the wet printings and the dry printings. The so called pale red-brown of the 7c dry printing is actually closer to chestnut on the Stanley Gibbons Colour Key, and is quite distinct once you become familiar with it, although if you are not used to seeing it, you could easily miss it and classify it as a common red-brown shade.

Again, in keeping with the format of the previous posts, I will show examples of each shade and will cross reference the Unitrade shade names to the equivalent shades on the Stanley Gibbons Colour key, indicating how swatches om the key have been extrapolated to arrive at the actual shades.

The 5c Violet

Unitrade lists three shades for this stamp:

  • Violet
  • Grey violet
  • Rose violet
In actual fact none of the shades I have seen on this stamp are violet. All of them are actually shades of either lilac or purple. The shades of the wet printings on normal paper display the most variation, while the shades of the wet printing on thin paper and the dry printing appear to be quite uniform. Both the so called grey violet and rose-violet seem to exist only in the wet printings.  Unfortunately, this is a colour that tends to show up on scans as very blackish, so you will need to look at the scans for a few minutes to allow your eyes to adjust so that you can see the differences between the colours. 

Wet Printing "Violet" Shades

The above three stamps are all examples of the basic Unitrade violet shade. The stamp in the centre is the shade you will usually see. The one on the left is rosier than the centre stamp, but not enough to be the rose-violet, while the one on the right is much duller, but again, not sufficiently greyish to be the grey-violet. Using the Gibbons Colour Key, the three shades are from left to right:

  • Deep reddish lilac
  • Deep purple
  • Blackish purple

Wet Printing Thin Paper and Dry Printing Shades

The stamp on the left is the well known wet printing on the so-called thin paper, which is actually not thin at all, but that is a subject of another post. The shade of this stamp is uniformly blackish purple to very deep reddish lilac. I have not come across any significant variation in the shade of this stamp, though it is almost always darker than the regular wet printings that are not the grey violet or blackish purple. The stamp on the right is the dry printing with the re-drawn frameline (all of the dry printings of this value have the re-drawn frameline). The shade of this stamp is very close to the first one on the left above, being a deep reddish lilac. Again, all of the dry printings I have come across are this shade.

Grey Violet and Rose Violet Shades

The first two stamps above are examples of Unitrade's grey violet, while the one on the right is the rose-violet. The actual shades according to the Gibbons Colour Key are:

  • Deep dull purple
  • Dull purple
  • Deep dull reddish purple - similar to the dull reddish purple, but deeper. 
Below is a comparison scan of the three basic wet printing shades:

From left to right we have:

  • Deep purple
  • Deep dull purple
  • Deep dull reddish purple
Hopefully this helps you with identification of the shades on this stamp. 

The 7c Red Brown

Unitrade lists only two shades for this stamp: red-brown and pale red brown. The naming of the shades is close to their true colours although the pale red-brown and the red-brown on thin paper are really shades of chestnut, while the wet printings are deep bright red browns or lake-browns, as opposed to plain old red-brown. 

Dry Printing Shades

The first three stamps on the left are all examples of the Unitrade listed red-brown. The fourth stamp from the left is the scarce so-called pale-red brown, while the last stamp on the right is the dry printing on thin paper - another very scarce stamp. If you compare the fourth stamp to the others it is clearly paler, but there is also a slight orangy cast to the colour. If you compare this stamp to the chestnut swatch on the Gibbons Colour Key it is almost an exact match. The fourth stamp is similar to the red brown shades, but again, it has a slight orangy cast, being a much deeper version of the chestnut shade. In terms of the Gibbons Colour Key we have from left to right:

  • Reddish brown
  • Red-brown
  • Bright red-brown - similar to the red-brown, but a touch brighter. 
  • Chestnut
  • Deep chestnut
Wet Printing Shades

The wet printing shades are all much deeper, brighter and richer than the dry printings. The above three stamps are all similar, but if you look at the scan long enough, you should be able see some differences between the colours of these three stamps. The stamp on the left is both lighter and brighter than the second two, 

According to the Gibbons Colour Key, we have from left to right:

  • Deep lake-brown
  • Bright red brown - similar to reddish brown but redder and brighter.
  • Deep bright red-brown - similar to above, but slightly deeper. 
This concludes my discussion of the shades of these two stamps. My next post will discuss the shades of the first and last 10c stamps in the series, the plum and bistre-brown. If you wish to view the 5c and 7c stamps that I currently have for sale, please click on the following links:


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