2/ Seal of the Colony Issue

Updated - July, 2018
Thanks to John Cruttenden and Barry Moerke for their help with this article.

The Bahamas Seal of the Colony 2/ issues were initially part of the Tercentenary Set, but then were modified to replace the Queen's Staircase 2/ values.

Identifying the Bahamas Seal of the Colony issues is a matter of determining the difference between the initial design and the modified version; then sorting by paper and gum and finally sorting the color shades. All of the stamps were printed on paper watermarked Multiple Script CA, so that is not a factor in sorting these stamps. This stamps were in use from 1930 until 1948 when the Tercentenary of Eleutheran set replaced the definitive issues.

Most collectors can easily see the difference between the two designs. The initial version of the stamp has three dates under Bahamas. The dates were the initial settlement date in 1629, the Representative Assembly date in 1729, and the anniversary year of 1929. The set was issued in January, 1930 - right after the collapse of the stock market, and only 10,303 sets were sold (according to the Commonwealth Five Reigns Catalogue).

Remainders of the Tercentenary set were destroyed, but new 2/ stamps without the dates were ordered. These went on sale in 1931 and continued with multiple printings until the final printing in 1946. The catalogues list the iterations in several ways, so I am showing all of the 2/ stamps together to help you sort them.

After you sort the design, look at the paper and gum as seen from the back of the stamp. There are two variations. The earlier versions of these stamps were printed on paper that appears thicker and has white or yellowish gum that typically has some cracks in it. These were printed in the 1930's under King George V's reign. The later versions appear thinner and tend to have whiter flatter appearing gum. These stamps were printed under King George VI's reign, and include the Landfall overprint set. So if you can't figure out the paper and gum, look at any of the Landfall issues as a reference of the later issues. The best way to see this is to look at the back of the stamps against black paper. The two options are shown below, but scanners do not make the difference stand out like it does when you view it. You should also note that there are variations to the colors of these stamps, so don't be surprised to find more candidates with subtle variation than listed printings.

The catalog numbers are from the 1980 Commonwealth Five Reigns Catalogue (CW) for the King George V issues, the 2008 King George VI Commonwealth Catalogue 19th Edition for the King George VI issues, 2011 Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue (SG) and the 2011 Scott catalog (ST). The description is from the Commonwealth Catalogue. Please contact Bridger & Kay to obtain a copy of this publication.

In addition to the catalogue listings, there is information available from the tables produced by Potter & Shelton in their book "The Printings of King George VI Colonial Stamps" which was printed in 1951 by Stamp Collecting Ltd. Their table adds an additional 2/ value to the original series, a 1944 printing, and one more to the Landfall set, a 1943 printing. This is listed below integrated with the CW listings. Although the original 2/ values were overprinted for the 1942 Landfall set, Potter & Shelton indicate that the shades do not match up between the original issues and the overprinted ones. My guess is that this is because the stamps that were overprinted went to the Bahamas, so they might have been altered due to local humidity and temperatures.

Printing and distribution information for these stamps comes from "Bahamas Stamps and Postal Stationery to 1970" edited by Peter Fernbank. This information comes originally from the Crown Agents reports. You may obtain a copy from Pennymead Auctions.

The images were saved in a larger size and at a higher resolution so you can more easily see the details used in sorting them. Please be patient if it takes a few minutes for this page to load. You should also note that colors shown on the internet are not exact, so use the colors shown in reference to each other rather than as an exact match.

Initial printing from Tercentenary Set
CW G97 - SG 129 - ST 88
2/ Black & Deep Blue
King George V era paper and gum
Yellowish gum on thicker paper
Cracks sometimes appear in the gum
King George V era stamps - Listed by Commonwealth Five Reigns Catalogue
All four of the shades shown below were from the 1931 printing.
36,600 stamps were printed in total for these issues.
29,400 went to the Colony the rest were released to the Crown Agents for dealers.
The fact that so many were sent to the Bahamas might account for the shade variations that can be found.
CW G99 - SG 131 - ST 90
2/ Grey-Black & Blue
CW G100 - SG 131 - ST 90
2/ Sepia-Black & Bright Blue
CW G101 - SG 131 - ST 90
2/ Sepia-Black & Dull Blue
CW G102 - SG 131a - ST 90a
2/ Slate-Black & Deep Blue
  This stamp is often sold as SG 131a because of the purplish center. It has the thicker paper and textured gum of the King George V issues. It is much more common than the true 1942 printing which is on whiter thinner appearing paper.
King George VI era paper and gum
Whiter gum on thinner paper. Gum tends to have a flat appearance
King George VI era stamps - Listed by Commonwealth King George VI Catalogue
Commonwealth Catalogue listings are in black, Potter & Shelton are listed in red.
The release date shown is from Potter & Shelton.
A total of 8 printings were made between 1941 and 1950.
Tying some of the details between the Catalogs and the Crown Agents printing reports seems impossible.
The dates listed in the Catalogs are the first use date, so that will not match the Printing date shown.
The allocation of catalog numbers and printings are my own decisions based on the print and release dates.
CW 22 - SG 131a - ST 90a
2/ Purple-Slate & Indigo-Blue

2/ Purple-Slate & Indigo
1942 Printing
CW 22b - SG 131b - ST 90
2/ Black & Deep Blue

2/ Black & Deep Ultramarine
1943 Printing
The stamp cataloged as a 1942 printing appears
to have come from these printing:
March, 1941 (12,540 stamps)
April 1941 (8,280 stamps)
All of the stamps were sent to the Colony and none were allocated to the Dealers in the UK.
The stamp cataloged as a 1943 printing appears
to have come from these printings:
August, 1942 (15,180 stamps)
December, 1942 (18,900 stamps)
January, 1943 Printing (33,000 stamps)
Stamps from the first two printings were sent to Dealers which is why I don't think the August 1942 printing includes the Purple Slate center.

It is possible that the August 1942 issue was included in the 1942 printing group above.
It is also possible that the two 1941 printings were part of the KGV issues.
The 2/ Purple-Slate & Indigo on thin white paper is very rare because it was used for the Landfall Set.
This couldn't have happened to any stamps sent to the Crown Agents for Dealer distribution,
so it seems logical that only stamps sent to the Colony were part of this shade.

CW 22b - SG 131c - ST 90
Not Listed in Commonwealth

2/ Brown-Black & Steel-Blue
1944 Printing
CW 22c - SG 131c - ST 90
2/ Black & Steel-Blue

2/ Black & Deeper Steel-Blue
1946 Printing
The stamp cataloged as a 1944 printing appears
to have come from this printing:
January, 1944 (48,840 stamps)
Stamps were sent to the Dealers and the Colony
from this printing.
The stamp cataloged as a 1946 printing appears
to have come from this printing:
September, 1946 (164,700 stamps)

Note the grey paper on this issue.
There is a August, 1950 printing with 9,000 stamps that were all sent to the Colony.
This stamp has not yet been determined, and has no catalog listing.
1942 Landfall Overprint issues
Commonwealth Catalogue listings are in black, Potter & Shelton are listed in red.
The date is from Potter & Shelton.
CW S14a - SG 172 - ST 126a
2/ Purple-Slate & Indigo-Blue

2/ Slate-Purple & Indigo
1942 Printing
CW S14b - SG 172b - ST 126
2/ Black & Steel-Blue

2/ Steel-Grey & Deep Steel-Blue
Between 1942 and 1943 Printing
CW S14 - SG 172a - ST 126
Not Listed in Commonwealth

2/ Grey & Deep Ultramarine
5/1943 Printing
CW S14 - SG 172a - ST 126
2/ Black & Deep Blue

2/ Grey-Black & Steel-Blue
6/1944 Printing

This article was written to help you identify your stamps.
Please feel free to ask a question, or include a correction.
We are always interested in additional shades or more information on these stamps.

Comments or Questions feel free to write
Classic Bahamas Stamps for sale based on the identification from this article.
Index to KGVI Stamp Description Web Sites
Links to other British Colonial Stamp Sites