Wednesday 21 July 2010

I wonder where the yellow went - Wales 1st class oddity.

Why are cylinder numbers and plate numbers printed on sheets of stamps? Partly it's to record which plates have been used, and partly to show which colours have been used. Although there are other methods - like colour dots/traffic lights - the cylinder number also shows that the colours are all present and properly aligned.

So here's a little mystery which goes back to 2006.

On the left, the original version with colours as listed in the catalogue: blue-green, greenish-yellow, silver & black.

On the right, the 2006 version with the yellow replaced by black - but the stamp looks the same. Indeed, the stamp IS the same, I'm sure yellow is still present (* no it isn't!). Below, the date and colour-check marks in the right margin, also with the yellow replaced by black.

So what's the point? If the yellow wasn't clear enough to see when the sheets were checked, how does replacing the yellow cylinder number with a black one - which must have been printed with the black cylinder - help anyone??    * Official response here.

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