Identifying King George VI Stamps
Nyasaland 10/ Issues
According to Bob Dickgiesser and Eric Yendall in "King
George VI Large Key Type Stamps of Bermuda, Leeward Islands,
Nyasaland"; CW 17 was printed in November, 1937 and CW 17a
was reprinted in January, 1938. There is a difference of opinion
on this issue. Apparently, there is no record of a reprint. So
it is possible that these stamps were printed at the same time.
Bob's book indicates that there were 25,440 copies of CW 17 printed,
and only 4,560 copies of CW 17a; so this is legitimately a rare
Pictured above, CW 17 and CW 17a differ in several areas.
The most noticeable difference is the blue-green head color of
CW 17a compared to CW 17. I have to warn you, the color is a
little off in this scan. Expect to see a more bluish-green color
to the head plate of CW 17a compared to the deep green head plate
of CW 17. You might also note that CW 17 has a much brighter
red frame color than the brownish-red frame of CW 17a.
Probably the most subtle difference is the paper used for
CW 17a. Under close inspection, you should notice tiny holes
which appear as dots in the paper. It almost looks like little
bubbles formed when the paper was made and rose to the surface.
These bubbles do not appear on CW 17.
I hope this short overview helps you identify this valuable
stamp. Please feel free to use the email button below to add
comments, or ask questions. It is the purpose of this article
to invite collaboration from readers. Any additional information
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Mark Warren on October 21, 2001
I've been studying the Nyasaland KGVI 10/, SG 142 and 142a,
and have come to the following conclusions, which I submit for
The headplate color varies within both printings. There are
darker head shades of SG142a which come closer to SG142 than
one might like, making this a less than reliable indicator. However,
the paper of SG142a is always a darker green than the pale emerald
of SG142. The SG142a paper also seems to have black specks in
it, resembling dirt, which SG142 does not.
Personally, I agree with Bob Dickgiesser that SG142a was a
replacement printing done shortly after the end of the run due
to spoilage of a number of sheets of SG142. (Dickgiesser's King
George VI Large Key Type Stamps of Bermuda, Leeward Islands and
Nyasaland (Highly recommended to anyone serious about these issues),
states at page 116 that "...because of excessive waste during
the initial printing, a reprint was immediately ordered...".
Typically De La Rue did not record replacement printings as they
were not the subject of a new requisition, but merely the fulfillment
of the previous one, even though printed with a different paper
and a new batch of ink for both head plate and frame.