Wednesday 10 May 2017

Keen observation reveals mixed use of SBP2 backing paper

When I first reported the use of the second type of security backing paper (SBP2) I showed that if the backing paper was re-reeled and used inverted, the format of the text would be different.

"I shan't be adding any further on this for the present.  It's probably not worth separately listing both types on the same stamp as a sales option in our webshop, certainly not at present. "
See full text on later blog post here.

Small Upright Large Upright Small Inv Large Inv -- --  Small Inv Large Upright Small Up Large Inv

Now an eagle-eyed customer (thanks Rolf) has observed that the two different formats have already been used - and nobody else seems to have noticed, probably because at this stage no individual stamp has appeared on both types.

So far the split seems to be:

2nd and 2nd Large counter sheets M17L
1st and 1st Large counter sheets M17L
2017 new tariff high values counter sheets M17L
5p and 20p counter sheets M17L
1st Large Business Sheet M17L (shown below)

2nd M16L MBIL
2nd M16L MTIL
1st M16L MTIL
1st M16L MTIL
1st M17L MTIL (shown below)

So aside from the 2nd class business sheet, all the thin-paper stamps (counter and business sheets) have been printed on what I described originally as an 'inverted' SBP2;  and all the thicker booklet stamps have been printed on original (upright) paper.

More new printings
As 'Trelantis' mentions in a comment on last week's post about the 5p and 20p sheet stamps, the 1st Large business sheet and 12 x 1st booklet, both M17L, have now appeared and will be listed on our webshop when it reopens later today.  The iridescent printing on the business sheet is not very strong, being similar to the M16L booklet issued earlier.

1st Large business sheet (Norvic 2916aB.7) - printed 22/02/17

12 x 1st booklet M17L (norvic 2936a.7) packing date not yet known.  Cylinder numbers W7 (red),  W1 (iridescent), W2 (phosphor).


  1. Interesting. From what you say, it would seem that(so far):-
    - all stamps printed by DLR (counter sheets of 25 or 50) are SI - LU - SU - LI
    - all stamps printed by Walsall (except 1st large business sheet M17L) are SU - LU - SI - LI

    The first question is -- why is the 1st large business sheet M17L different to other Walsall printings. If You take a reel SU - LU - SI - LI paper and re-reel it so that it goes through the printer "in the other direction", you will get stamps that are printed on SI - LU - SU - LI backing papeer. (Thanks to the "Bookmark" for pointng this out.) I suspect that something like this has happened to that business sheet.

    That still leaves the question of why DLR stamps are different to Walsall stamps. Do DLR use a different paper manufacturer? I think that they do, but can any expert out there confirm (or deny) this?

    A side question, for someone more expert than me, would be whether the direction of the backing paper is going to interact with the direction of printing. "Bookmark" informs us that Walsall printings are usually inverted direction of printing. I haven't seen the 1st large M17L business sheet yet, but is that printed inverted as usual? Or is it going to prove to be an exception?

    Curiously, "Bookmark" also tells us that DLR printings are upright direction of printing. Is it just coincidence that they have the opposite direction of printing AND the opposite direction of backing paper to Walsall? Or is this telling us something deeper about how the two printers produce stamps? (Whilst I can clearly see that Walsall printings are inverted, I have a lot more trouble convincing myself that DLR printings are upright -- but I have no doubt that says much more about my failing eyesight!!)

    More questions than answers ...

    1. Your DLR / Walsall split makes more sense than my thin paper / thick paper split.

      DLR didn't print on original SBP as they were waiting for a (different) paper manufacturer to produce the paper they neded. I don't know about direction of print: it's something I can't strain my eyes to bother with!

      But I've also been told that some booklets and one counter sheet exist both ways. I've not seen the evidence yet.

  2. The Walsall 6 x 1st-class retail books (MSIL/M16L) and 12 x 1st-class retail books (MTIL/M16L and MTIL/M17L) exist with security backing paper version 2 with both directions. Also the De La Rue £1.17 Machin from counter sheets exists with security backing paper version 2 with both directions.

    1. I'll be very pleased to add images, and record this in the checklist. I wonder, though, do collectors want both versions in every instance? Could get expensive!

  3. Ian
    Looking at the five new high value reprints you supplied to me today, the £1.17 and £2.27 are printed on "SU LU SI LI", the other three being on "SI LU SU LI" (as is the 20p, and the 1sts and 2nds I already had). The text pattern looks quite different in the area of the cylinder block, the former shaped like a hump, whereas the latter looks wavy. Does this mean that any value will likely be printed with paper in both directions?

  4. Since "stamp collector" is clearly not appropriate, is there a special name for collectors of backing paper?

  5. 1st Large Red MFIL M17L also now showing on eBay.


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