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.