GREAT BRITAIN, 1890, £1 Brown Lilac, Watermark Orbs, I.R. Official (SG Specialised L10; SG O12; Scott O13). Lettered I-B, original gum, lightly hinged, well-centered, rich luxuriant color on pristine white paper, deeply etched impression
VERY FINE. A FABULOUSLY CHOICE EXAMPLE OF THE HIGHLY SOUGHT-AFTER ONE-POUND I.R. OFFICIAL ON WATERMARK ORBS PAPER. EASILY ONE OF THE FINEST OF THE APPROXIMATELY DOZEN EXAMPLES EXPERTIZED.
A little known fact about the underlying £1 on Watermark Orbs paper stamp is that this issue was printed in error. Wiseman explains in detail that on Nov. 5, 1887, a Warrant was issued calling for the stamps to be printed. The word "Orbs" was accidentally written instead of "Crowns". The error was noticed well before the supply was exhausted, but the Orbs stock was issued nonetheless. There is no reason to believe the I.R. Official overprint was done to "use up" the supply of these errors.
While some effort was made to prevent unused Official stamps from reaching the general public at the time of issue, there was little stock control, as these stamps were often used by tax collectors rather than Inland Revenue employees. As discussed in Wiseman, enterprising clerks sold examples to the stamp trade, despite official efforts to discourage the practice. By 1896, well after the regular issue and use of the £1 Watermarked Orbs, Official stamps were eventually made available to the public, but their availability was not widely publicized nor were they offered in every post office. These circumstances and the high value of a sterling pound contributed to the rarity of this stamp.
Owing to the long size of this stamp, examples invariably have faults such as creases and bends. Many unused examples have also been regummed. Examples free of faults with original gum are great rarities.
Ex Baillie. Signed Mondolfo. With 1963 A. Diena, 1979 Buhler (also backstamp) and 1980 R.P.S. certificates. SG £100,000. Scott $100,000.00
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