Australia 1914-38 KGV sideface definitive series Plate Varieties
KGV Plate Varieties are stamps which exhibit a recurring printing flaw related to the surface-printing methods used in the 1910's-1930's. The earliest of the KGV sideface issues (and some later issues) were printed from steel plates manufactured by English master printers Perkins, Bacon and Co. and imported into Australia in mid 1915.
All other KGV sideface issues were printed from copper electro-type plates (or steel plates after 1926) manufactured in Australia between 1915 and 1938. A master die, comprising of a single stamp design engraved in steel, was used to make multiple impressions (120 per sheet, in left and right panes of 60).
Wear and tear on the printing plates resulted in damage to some of the 120 impressions on the printing plates. Some of this damage was minor, perhaps ony a tiny nick in the metal. Other damage was more severe, and in some cases large cracks appeared in some impressions. Stamps which were printed after these flaws developed on the printing plate display those corresponding flaws in the printed image of the flawed impression. Significantly, these recurring printing flaws enable us to identify the original position on the printing plate where the flaw occurs. Documentation of surviving whole sheets, blocks, multiples and single stamps has helped to reconstruct the development of numerous flaws in each of the plates used to print the KGV sideface defintive series.
Some flaws occurred early in the use of the plate and did not change throughout the use of the plate. Other flaws displayed a progressive development, sometimes recognised as several distinct "States". Some flaws occurred late in the use of the plate and consequently may be very scarce. Some flaws were repaired with varying degrees of success and evidence of these repairs or "retouches" may be found on the printed stamps. Postmarks, and especially dated postmarks are a useful indicator which can assist in tracing the development of plate flaws. Other indicators such as shades and paper types are also useful indicators which may assist in associating a particular stamp with a particular printing.
Plate flaws in the KGV sideface series are a fascinating field of study, and an increasingly popular field of collecting. This website has been established to provide an opportunity for collectors, researchers and investors, to purchase specific KGV plate varieties for their collections.