Identifying King George VI Stamps
Jamaica 5/ Line Perf Issue




 CW 23A SG 132A

The KGVI Jamaica 5/ Line Perf issue is seldom seen on dealer price lists. The history of this stamp appears to be tied to the Bermuda Line Perf's, and a few other stamps that were printed by De La Rue and perforated by other printers due to wartime damage.

According to Hugh James excellent work on Jamaica; which was published as "Study Paper No. 15" by The King George VI Collectors Society, the De La Rue Bunhill Row works were bombed and burned by the German Luftwaffe at the end of 1940. This destruction resulted in the loss of the normal perforation machines. As a result, a temporary perforator was used for the early 1941 printing of the 5 Shilling Jamaica issue. 6,000 stamps were printed, and all were sent to the colony. No stamps were distributed to dealers, and no other Jamaica 5 shilling printing appears to have been perforated using this equipment.

As a result of being sent to Jamaica for sale as postage, most copies of the Line Perf issues are found with cancellations. In fact, the Commonwealth Catalogue lists used prices for "examples with slightly heavy CDS" which would be typical for stamps that were used for heavier shipments that would require 5 shillings postage. This is fairly obvious in the two used examples shown above. (The one on the right is not torn, that is the cancellation blending in with the black background.)

I started looking for the Jamaica Line Perf after I read about it in Linn's Stamp News in the early 1980's. At that time, Reid Shaw was publishing a monthly column on the British Colonies (amazingly, it always seemed to have KGVI stamps featured). The unused example shown above was found by accident in a set of Jamaica stamps that was purchased from a Chicago area dealer. It was probably originally purchased at the Post Office by a collector on vacation in Jamaica.

In order to find these stamps, you will need a good perforation gauge, and an understanding of the difference between comb and line perf stamps.

Comb perforated stamps are perforated on three sides at a time. Then the perforator advances a row and repeats the process. This results in a fairly clean row of perforations. Line perforated stamps are perforated one line at a time. The result is not as clean and will typically produce a pointed perforation on one side. If you look at the center unused example, you should note the upper right perforation. This is the tell tale indicator of a line perforated stamp. (You should also know that the Jamaica line perf stamp is perforated about 14.2 on all sides, while the other 5 shilling issues are either comb perforated 13.5 x 14 or 13.25 x 13.75.) For the record, there is a slight reddish color difference to the orange border between the Line Perf stamps and the other printings, but it is not significant compared to the difference in the perforation.

Please do not treat the scans above as totally accurate in terms of color. Internet Browsers do not clearly show the entire range of colors in the spectrum.

I hope this helps some other collector find one of these elusive issues. Please feel free to write with additional information. It will be added to revised versions of this article.

Comments or Questions feel free to write

Links to other British Colonial Stamp Sites