General Telegraph 6d

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Prices have been brought up to date, and are for stamps in 'average' condition.  
The currency is now selectable, the default is British Currency (£).
  I have revised Hiscocks' original listing, though leaving references to the original designations. 
The new designations have 'RH' numbers (Revised Hiscocks) to avoid confusion.
_

 

The London District Telegraph Company (Limited).

Established 1859.

 

Shortcuts to different sections
1860 Provisional 1865 Calculator Statistics Stationery Evidence

 

1860/1

There is some uncertainty about when these stamps were first produced.
Philbrick & Westoby (1881) state: "The first series of stamps was issued in 1862, and at that time Alfred Ogan was the secretary to the Company ..."
Raymond Lister (1961), S. E. R. Hiscocks (1982) and Langmead & Huggins (2003) echo 1862 as the date of production.
The signature of the secretary on the first stamps, is indeed A. Ogan, but according to Steven Roberts of Distant Writing,
"... from 1861 until 1870, the position of secretary and manager was occupied by Charles Henry Curtoys, ..."
If this was the case then Alfred Ogan was no longer secretary by 1862, and for the stamps to bear his name, they had to date no later than 1861.
Another possibility is that he was secretary when the stamps were designed, but no longer when the stamps were first used.

Alfred Ogan (born 6 June 1824 in Hackney), by profession a public accountant, also wrote an influential book on the prevention of railway accidents in 1855.
Subsequently he moved his entire family to Uruguay/Argentina in 1875, where they helped the spead of the coast to coast railway system.
Hilary Waller, one of Alfred Ogan's great-great-grandchildren, is trying to find out more about his rôle as secretary of the LDTC, so if anyone can help, please get in touch.

--------------------

The first set had the values 3d, 4d and 6d, Perf.12½.

According to Langmead & Huggins, initially the rates were 4d for up to 10 words, 6d for 11 to 20 words, 2d for each additional 10 words.
This would have meant high usage of 4d and 6d but not many 3d.

Langmead & Huggins go on to say that in October 1862 the rates increased to 15 words 6d, 20 words or message and reply (15 words each) 9d, additional 10 words 3d."
This would mean high use of 3d and 6d but not much use for the 4d

Raymond Lister (1961) says:
"At first the minimum rate was 4d for 10 words. In 1861 it was found necessary to increase this to 6d for 15 words. It was again increased in 1866 to 1/- for 15 words."

I am not convinced all values were issued at the same time. I suspect that initially the 4d and 6d stamps were used and when the rates increased, the 4d was replaced by 3d.
The 4d is scarcer than the other two.

Steven Roberts also gives the following useful information:
"... on October 18, 1861, the District launched its major discount scheme for trade customers, offering 100 pre-paid messages for twenty shillings ..." [until 1866].
It is difficult to imagine how this could easily be accounted for without the use of stamps!
It also explains why the 6d stamp is relatively common."

Steven Roberts also says on How The Companies Worked (about two thirds of the way down)
"The London District Telegraph Company sold its 6d message stamps bound into small books with ten pages of six stamps in 1861."

LDTC Early Set. LDTC Early Set. LDTC Early Set.
RH1 RH2 RH3
Courtesy of Mike-Holt.com   - The 4d has a straight edge on the right which could indicate the edge of a pane. It is also the only one with a broken line under 'LIMITED'.
The 6d is now owned by Mark Talbot.

 

LDTC Early 3d. LDTC Early 3d. LDTC Early 3d.
3d control A1262 which was clearly on the right side of the sheet. 3d control A1336 3d control A1415 sold as a proof (the front is yellow).
Reverse of stamps above, courtesy of Andrew Higson.

 

LDTC Early 4d. LDTC Early 4d. LDTC Early 6d.
4d control A2466 on thick dull paper. 4d control A2468 on thin bright paper. 6d control A6244 showing surface colouring seaped around the edge of the sheet.
Scans of reverse of stamp, courtesy of Andrew Higson. The two 4d stamps (scanned together) are clearly from different sheets, though with close control numbers.

 

RH # Hisc. Desc. Rarity Mint Used Qty
RH1 H1 3d black on pale yellow paper (red control) R3 120.00 120.00 22
RH1a H1a 3d black on dull buff (red control) R3 120.00 120.00
RH2 H2 4d black on blue paper (red control) *R4 240.00 240.00 10
RH3 H3 6d black on vermilion-coated paper (black control) *R3 60.00 60.00 50

'Qty' is the number of scans I have. Their various origins do not allow distiction between yellow and dull buff papers (if there is any).
* R3 implies 10-50 copies probably existing and R4 implies less than 10. The 6d should be regarded as R2 (50-100), with the 4d being R3.

 

Layouts.

Hiscocks says "Both of the series of stamps issued were designed and printed by Truscott and Sons of London
and are reported to have been issued in booklets of 10 panes of six stamps." (From 1861, see Steven Roberts above).

Langmead & Huggins agree they were lithographed by Truscott and Sons but say nothing about sheet format.

After much effort and a lot of scans supplied by others (thanks everyone) I have come to the conclusion that:
The 6d was printed in sheets of 40, 5 rows of 8 stamps per row.
The 4d was probably printed in sheets of 18, I assume 3 rows of 6 stamps per row, but possibly sheets of 42. More scans needed.
The 3d has given me a lot of trouble. I think it was printed in sheets of 84, 4 panes of (3 x 7) stamps per pane.
A rather strange number, but works well for breaking up into booklet panes with a few left over for counter use.
It also produces a sheet face value of one guinea (21/-).


It seems likely that the 3d sheets at least, were broken up and sold in booklets.

 

My original page became very large as I included the evidence for my findings.
I have now split it into two parts with evidence for my (perhaps contraversial) findings on a different page.

 

So far, I have 84 scans of the following:

3d Yellow 4d Blue 6d Vermilion
A661
A1112, A1144
A1221, A1262, A1267
A1320, A1336, A1338, A1357, A1386, A1395(L&H)
A1401, A1404, A1415*, A1423, A1429,
A1448, A1463, A1469, A1480,
A2121, A4853
A2315, A2333, A2340, A2356,
A2364, A2367, A2392
A2465, A2466, A2468
A1967, A1968, A1979, A1991, A1993
A2006, A2013, A2017, A2020, A2032, A2041, A2042, A2057, A2059, A2064, A2092,
A2102, A2108, A2111, A2114, A2115, A2122, A2135, A2166, A2174, A2194
A2210, A2211, A2217, A2229(L&H)
A2338, A2341, A2345, A2371
A2414, A2425
A3543, A3546, A3547, A3548
A4110, A4418, A4419, A4722
A5304, A5312, A6244, A6248, A6261, A6272, A7404, A7409, A9855
23 10 53

* this is apparently a proof. Evidence suggests that these were made some time after production started to test surface coloured rather than coloured paper production.

 

Range 3d Yellow 4d Blue 6d Vermilion
LowestA661A2315A1967
HighestA4853A2468A9855
Difference41921537888

The 6d almost certainly got to the maximum 4-digit number. What happened then?
Logically, they would have simply started again with control numbers starting with 'B', but I have not seen or heard of any.
Perhaps they moved on to the next series, using hand-written numbers until a number-stamp was available.

 

 

1865   Perf.11½

Later the design was changed, initially with manuscript controls.

LDTC Transitional 3d control 240. LDTC Transitional 6d control 860. LDTC Transitional 6d control 427. LDTC Transitional 6d control 863 ?.
3d on blue-green paper,  RH4
Number 240
6d on vermilion paper,  RH5
Number 860
6d  RH5
Number 427
6d  RH5
Number 363 changed to 863 ?
From Langmead & Huggins, Colour Plate 1, Courtesy of the Great Britain Philatelic Society. Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.

I have now one scan of the 3d, control 240, as illustrated in the Langmead and Huggins book.
This matches row 5 stamp 8 of the later type (see below), the last stamp on the sheet of 40.
240 is the correct control number for the last stamp on the sixth sheet.

6d Control 860 is illustrated by Langmead and Huggins and matches row 5, stamp 4, though 860 would there be expected at row 3 stamp 4.
6d control 427 is a Group 2 stamp matching row 2 stamp 4 of the later type stamps, though 427 would there be expected at row 4 stamp 3.
6d control 863(?) is also a Group 2 stamp but matches row 3 stamp 5 of the later type stamps, though 863 would be expected at row 3 stamp 7.
(363 would be expected at row 1 stamp 3).
Group 2 stamps have the characteristic mark above 'ES' of 'MESSAGE' and extended bottom line of 'E' in 'CHIEF'.

This all suggests that the 3d plate may have been the same as with the later stamps.
The 6d stamps, though of the same type, appear to have had a different arrangement on the plate.

More scans needed.

 

RH # Hisc. Desc. Rarity Mint Used
RH4 H4 3d black on greenish blue (pen control) R5 - -
RH5 H5 6d black on vermilion (pen control) R5 - -

 

 

Shortly followed by ...

Despite L&H saying these are Perf. 12½, I make them Perf. 12
The controls were printed in either large or small type. The colours were changed to those below.

LDTC Later 3d. LDTC Later 3d.
RH6 RH6a  courtesy of Dr Mark Gibson.

 

LDTC Later 6d. LDTC Later 6d.
RH7 RH7a

In each pair, the first is the commonest type with large controls, followed by the small control.
Before this there were some with hand-written controls, but these were supposedly only known in official collections.

It's not always easy to see the difference between the large and small control numbers, but the large controls seem to be all 3 or 4 rather 'blocky' digits and are
usually pen-cancelled, whereas the small controls seem to be up to 5 stylized digits and are more often unused.


For the large control numbers, I have seen on the 3d, 206 to 4911. on the 6d, 424 to 8600.
For the small control numbers, I have seen on the 3d, 685 to 23499. on the 6d, 1037 to 39857.

Multiples are surprisingly scarce, making plating difficult.

Printed by Truscott and Sons of London in sheets of 40 (5 rows of 8 stamps).

RH # Hisc. Desc. Rarity Mint Used
RH6 H6 3d black on yellow (large control) Scarce 20.00 6.00
RH6a H6a 3d black on yellow (small control) R1 40.00 40.00
RH7 H7 6d black on rose (large control) Scarce 15.00 8.00
RH7a H7a 6d black on rose (small control) R1 30.00 30.00

Look here for an explanation of the table.

 

 

Layouts.


Again, after much effort and a lot of scans supplied by others (thanks everyone) I have come to the conclusion that:
The 3d and 6d were all printed in sheets of 40 with 5 rows of 8 stamps per row.

It is of course possible that the sheets were broken up and sold in booklets.

Evidence for my (perhaps contraversial) findings are here.

 

Characteristics on the 3d.

I have broken the control numbers down into Sheet Number(1+), Row Number(1 to 5) / Stamp Number(1 to 8).
I have put a thick green line around some major characteristics and a thin one around lesser associated ones I have listed.
The magenta lines represent smaller ones I did not list. Smaller marks may be visible or not depending on under/over inking and age of the stone.
I have used green to indicate primary flaws in which case the blue indicates secondary flaws.

Click a stamp to go to the details for it.

 

Row-1 PRIMARY flaws
All five have the following flaws in common:
1) Notch in left of 'C' in 'Co' corner.
Latent
2) Notch in 'D' of 'D' corner.
3) Dot between 'EC' of 'SECy'.
First digit 11/1 (1 stamp)
LDTC Later 3d 1481.
1/2 (3 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 4242.
1/3 (3 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 2763.
1/4 (4 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 2444.
1/5 (6 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 885.
1/6 (5 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 206.
1/7 (5 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 4247.
1/8 (2 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 10328.

 

These have a 'notch' on the left side of the 'T' corner, but it is higher than the other ones.

Row-2 PRIMARY flaws
All have the following flaws in common:
1) Bulge left of 'T' corner. 7) Dots to right of 'ON' in 'LONDON'.
2) Bulge bottom-right of 'T' corner. 8) Dot between frame lines under 'E' of 'SECy'.
3) Dot above 'C' in 'DISTRICT'. 9) Dot between lines under 'M' of 'MANAGER'.
4) Frame-break above 'G' of 'MESSAGE'. 10) Mark on vertical frame left of 'MESSAGE'.
5) Mark between lines, right of 'D' corner. 11) 'r-dot' - see below .
6) Mark on outer frame left of first 'O' in 'LONDON'.  
First digit 2 2/1 (5 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 4529.
2/2 (5 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 1450.
2/3 (3 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 4851.
2/4 (7 stamps)
LDTC Later small 3d 5252.
2/5 (7 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 1693.
2/6 (3 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 2134.
2/7 (2 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 4855.
2/8 (9 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 4216.

'r-dot' : The signature near the bottom is that of the Secretary and Manager Charles Curtoys.
There is a dot above the signature written as if the 'r' in 'Charles' was an 'i' so I will refer to it as the 'r-dot'.

The 'r-dot' can help us. It can be as above or missing or over to the right near the 'l' of 'Charles'.
It depends on the stamp position, but not necesarily on the control number.
It can be clearly seen on the strip below.

 

Re-joined strip of 4 courtesy of Andrew Higson.
LDTC Later 3d rejoined strip.
4850 to 4853 are from row 2, columns 2 to 5

 

Row-3 PRIMARY flaws
All four have the following flaws in common:
1) Outward bulge from top of 'Co' corner.
2) Dot above second 'E' in 'TELEGRAPH'.
3) Partial frame-break under 'M' of 'STAMP'.
First digit 3 3/1 (2 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 1537.
3/2 (2 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 1978.
3/3 (7 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 2739.
3/4 (5 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 340.
3/5 (2 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 2781.
3/6 (7 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 2822.
3/7 (1 stamp)
LDTC Later 3d 2743.
3/8 (1 stamp)
LDTC Later 3d small 1584.

 

Row-4 PRIMARY flaws
All four have the following flaws in common:
1) Multiple outer frame-breaks top-right.
2) Notch in bottom of 'D' in 'D' corner.
3) Uneven shape of 'L' corner.
4) Black mark on the bottom of 'S' in 'DISTRICT'.
5) Bite out of left of 'M' of 'STAMP'.
6) Marks between 'NN' of 'CANNON'.
7) Dot above-left of 'o' in 'No'.
8) 'r-dot' over to the right near 'l' of 'Charles'.
First digit 4 4/1 (11 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 1105.
4/2 (6 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 1106.
4/3 (2 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 467.
4/4 (4 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 2148.
4/5 (4 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 1589.
4/6 (2 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 4910.
4/7 (4 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 1551.
4/8 (3 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 1872.

 

Row-5 PRIMARY flaws
All four have the following flaws in common:
1) Protrusion left of 'T' corner.
2) Frame-break below 'E' of 'SECy'.
3) Frame-break above 'D' corner.
4) Frame-break below 'D' corner.
5) Mark on frame left of 'L' corner.
6) White spot to right of 'T' in 'T' corner.
First digit 5 5/1 (2 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 2313.
5/2 (2 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 954.
5/3 (4 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 1355.
5/4 (1 stamp)
LDTC Later small 3d 1596.
5/5 (5 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 637.
5/6 (2 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 1558.
5/7 (5 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 1439.
5/8 (6 stamps)
LDTC Later 3d 1920.

 

 

 

 

A similar analysis with the 6d.

Until recently, the lack of any blocks and rarity of even pairs made this much more difficult.
This scan kindly provided by Martien Blank has substantiated much of the 'detective work'.
It certainly makes it clear that there were 8 stamps per row.

LDTC Later 6d block of 8.
I will refer to this in the text as the 'MB-block'.

 

Courtesy of Steve Lawrie.
LDTC Later 6d 2984 with selvedge.
2984 - 75/3/8 (Group 2) With imperf edge.

Control 2984 above is the only one of these I have seen without perforations down the side.
The 'MB-block' is perforated on the left and other examples from column 8 are perforated on the right.
Was this an error, or was this done for a reason ?

 

Characteristics on the 6d.

The arrangement of the 3d plate was fairly simple with the whole of each row derived from the same prototype (Group).
I expected the same of the 6d, but it was clearly not the case. some features on stamps also appear to have 'faded' over time.
See Row-1, stamp 1 , Row-2, stamp 1 , Row-4, stamp 2 and Row-5, stamp 7

I also had an expectation that some may have been printed as booklet panes.
Despite looking for evidence of this, I have to conclude that all the examples I have seen were printed in sheets of 40 stamps as with the 3d stamps.
The large and small controls fit the same pattern, but some slight differences suggest some plate-cleaning at some stage.
I have only scans of two examples of the earlier manuscript controls which are very similar to the 'Group 2' stamps below.

Group 1Group 2Group 3Group 4Group 5

 

R1/C1R1/C2R1/C3R1/C4 R1/C5R1/C6R1/C7R1/C8
R2/C1R2/C2R2/C3R2/C4 R2/C5R2/C6R2/C7R2/C8
R3/C1R3/C2R3/C3R3/C4 R3/C5R3/C6R3/C7R3/C8
R4/C1R4/C2R4/C3R4/C4 R4/C5R4/C6R4/C7R4/C8
R5/C1R5/C2R5/C3R5/C4 R5/C5R5/C6R5/C7R5/C8

 

It is possible that the layout was intended to be the same as with the 3d stamps. My suspicion is as follows:
Two intermediate stones of 4 stamps derived from the same prototype (a manuscript type ?) were prepared,
but instead of the pairs staying together in the same finished row, they got mixed up.
It is possible that the manuscript type were in booklets of six and that five of these were used as prototypes for the later plates of 40.
With the manuscript types being so rare though, this has to remain conjecture.

I have broken the control numbers down into Sheet Number(1+), Row Number(1 to 5) / Stamp Number(1 to 8).

Click a stamp to go to the details for it.

 

Row-1 PRIMARY flaws
Stamps 1 to 4 are from Group 4 Stamps 5 to 8 are from Group 3
1) Damaged 'C' in 'Charles'.
2) Indented top to first'E' in 'MESSAGE'.
3) Damaged left leg of 'A' in 'TELEGRAPH'.
4) Small notch on left of 'T' corner.

Latent
5) Dot above 'ET' of 'STREET'.
1) Frame break under 'y' of 'SECy'.
2) Dented bottom of 'C' in 'Co'.
First digit 1 Group 4 (6 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 4002.
Group 4 (4002)
LDTC Later 6d 4002.
Group 4 (4 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 3363.
Group 4 (3 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d small 21444.
Group 3 (3 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 37885.
Group 3 (3 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 3486.
Group 3 (3 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 1687.
Group 3 (2 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 4528.

 

Row 2 PRIMARY flaws
Stamps 1 to 4 are from Group 2 Stamps 5 to 8 are from Group 1
1) Large distinctive break above 'ES' of 'MESSAGE'.
2) Bottom of 'E' extended in 'CHIEF'.
3) Dot in 'C' of 'DISTRICT'.
4) Bite out of base of 'T' in 'T' corner.

1) Pattern of 4 marks below 'Co' corner.
Latent
2) Frame weakness below 'L' of 'LONDON'.
3) Frame weakness below-left 'M' of 'MESSAGE'.
4) Frame weakness below 'S' of 'MESSAGE'.
6) Dot above 'ET' of 'STREET'.
7) 'r-dot' - as in the 3d stamps above.
First digit 2 Group 2 (4 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d small 2929.
Group 2 (2 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 3850.
Group 2 (4 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 4971.
Group 2 (4 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 3292.
Group 1 (8 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 3853.
Group 1 (1694)
LDTC Later 6d 1694.
Group 1 (6 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 4735.
Group 1 (5 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 4016.

 

Row-3 PRIMARY flaws
Stamps 1 to 4 are from Group 3 Stamps 5 to 8 are from Group 2
1) Frame break under 'y' of 'SECy'.
2) Dented bottom of 'C' in 'Co'.
1) Large distinctive break above 'ES' of 'MESSAGE'.
2) Bottom of 'E' extended in 'CHIEF'.
3) Dot in 'C' of 'DISTRICT'.
4) Bite out of base of 'T' in 'T' corner.

First digit 3 Group 3 (7 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 3737.
Group 3 (2 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 3418.
Group 3 (5 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 1899.
Group 3 (2140)
LDTC Later 6d 2140.
Group 2 (3 stamps)
LDTC Later small 6d 9141.
Group 2 (4 stamps)
LDTC Later small 6d 15102.
Group 2 (1663)
LDTC Later 6d 1663.
Group 2 (5 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 424.

 

Row-4 PRIMARY flaws
Stamps 1 to 4 are from Group 4 Stamps 5 to 8 are from Group 1
1) Damaged 'C' in 'Charles'.
2) Indented top to first'E' in 'MESSAGE'.
3) Damaged left leg of 'A' in 'TELEGRAPH'.
4) Small notch on left of 'T' corner.

Latent
5) Dot above 'ET' of 'STREET'.
1) Pattern of 4 marks below 'Co' corner.
Latent
2) Frame weakness below 'L' of 'LONDON'.
3) Frame weakness below-left 'M' of 'MESSAGE'.
4) Frame weakness below 'S' of 'MESSAGE'.
6) Dot above 'ET' of 'STREET'.
7) 'r-dot' - as in the 3d stamps above.
First digit 4 Group 4 (3 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 3785.
Group 4 (3 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 3146.
Group 4 (4 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d small 8267.
Group 4 (7 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 508.
Group 1 (3 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 3949.
Group 1 (2 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 2150.
Group 1 (4 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 30231.
Group 1 (4 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 3272.

 

Row-5 PRIMARY flaws
These are all from Group 5
1) Double frame-break above 'SS of 'MESSAGE'.
2) Broken left serif at bottom of 'L' in 'L' corner.
3) Multiple breaks to lower right outer frame line.

Latent
4) Dot above 'ET' of 'STREET'.
5) Characteristic 'D' in 'D' corner.
First digit 5 Group 5 (8 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d Pair - 1713 and 1714.
Group 5 (6 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d Pair - 1713 and 1714.
Grp 5 (3 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 4955.
Group 5 (5 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 4436.
Group 5 (3 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 477.
Group 5 (5 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 2838.
Group 5 (6 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 3319.
Group 5 (5 stamps)
LDTC Later 6d 560.

 

 

 

 

 

On the question of which came first, small or large controls.

Here is an interesting series:

LDTC Later 3d 1557. LDTC Later small 3d 1569. LDTC Later 3d 1576. LDTC Later 3d 1589.
1557 (large - 39/5/5) 1569 (small - 40/2/1) 1576 (large - 40/2/8) 1589 (small - 40/4/5)

I think it unlikely that it is the same 'sheet 40' for both large and small controls.
I think it is possible that the same number may exist with large and small controls.

There are several possibilities, either large and small were used concurrently from the beginning, and the large either discarded (or not) when it got to maximum count.
Alternatively The large could have been used first and replaced by the small when it got to the maximum count (or before).
I do not see the small being used first, then replaced by the large (having less digits) unless of course it had more digits that never got used.
However the highest count I have seen is less than 40,000 and I'm sure we would have seen numbers above that if they all came before the large controls.

Look closely at the pair below. It may provide the answer.

LDTC Later 3d 1920.
1105 (28/4/1) fairly well centered, and 1106 (28/4/2) poorly centered.

I would have expected this (digitally constructed) pair to fit together better if they were from the same sheet.

However, most of my reconstructions below are compatible, so I suspect that the re-use
was only until a replacement machine with more digits could be obtained.
Alternatively, all the used examples are from a narrow time period (the takeover) and previous ones were destroyed.

It should also be noted though that as well as the 4879/4880 pair shown,
I have seen 4886 and 4893, but nothing higher than these, another indication of a narrow time slice.

 

LDTC Later 3d 4216. LDTC Later 3d 4216.
Courtesy of Martien Blank. Courtesy of Mike-Holt.com
(Now also owned by Martien Blank).
Two examples of 3d, large control 4216 (row 2, column 8). Used and unused.
Clearly the numbers were re-used. An adjoining stamp is only likely to match one of them.

 

Definitive evidence.

The most telling piece of evidence is the fact that most of the cancelled large control stamps still have their gum.
This implies that they were pre-cancelled ready for use, but not in fact used.
Almost certainly this is because the Post Office takeover intervened, which would imply that these were the type last used.

 

 

 


These also seem to have once been joined (5/1 and 5/2).

 

LDTC 2781 print error.

Stamp 2781 has a curious printing error (?)
by the 'P' of 'STAMP'.
At first I thought the stamp had been repaired,
but there is no surface damage.

Stamp 2141 in the same position (3/5), but 16 sheets
earlier does not have shis.
I am looking for a later example from this position.
LDTC Later 3d separated Pair - 2781 and 2782.
The cancel on 2782 continues onto 2781. They must have been joined when cancelled.

 

LDTC 2137 print error.

Shortly after that I got this item, probably from the same collection.
Stamp 2137 has another curious printing error (?)
on 'MESSAGE' and on '90'.
Again there is no surface damage.
With this though, it is not clear what part has been duplicated.
The pattern on the 'A' does not match any part of the stamp.

Stamp 1537 in the same position (3/1), but 15 sheets
earlier does not have shis.
The common factor seems to be that both flaws are along
the horizontal line along the middle of the sheet.
They are also 'Alt's of each other being on the same row but 4 apart.
LDTC Later 3d 2137 with flaw.
2137 also has an interesting printing flaw.

 

 

This calculator made my life easier.

On the evidence that at least some sheets with 5 rows of 8 stamps were used, I made a 'widget' to decode sheet position from control number.
Click on 'popup' to open it in another small window.

Enter a Control number to check          

Sheet (1+)Row (1->5) Column (1->8)
   

This has allowed me to translate the control numbers above to a 3D co-ordinate giving me the sheet, row and column.

 

 

* Assuming the highest control number seen reflects the quantity issued.

These figures beg an explanation.
The survival rate for Large controls is higher for used stamps, whereas for Small controls it is higher for unused.

Fortunately there may be an explanation.
Steven Roberts records about halfway down Competitors Allies, the Companies' claim:
“The low rate charged for messages, sixpence for fifteen words exclusive of address, and half-rates for pre-paid answers,
does not by any means affect the precautions taken for the safe keeping and delivery of the messages entrusted to the Company’s care.
Each receives its particular and goes through its regular course from desk to desk and room to room, until its work is finally accomplished,
when it is carefully put up in company with all papers bearing in any way upon it, and preserved for three months
in one of the numerous presses close at hand, from thence to descend at the end of that period to the cellar,
after a two years’ sojourn in which it is finally destroyed.”

The used LDTC stamps currently available can then be seen as (primarily) a sample of
the last two years or so of the companies telegraph forms, 'liberated' at the time of its' takeover.

These would seem to be mostly Large controls! This is a great surprise to me, but (at the moment) I can see no other interpretation.
It might also explain why there are so many unused small control stamps about if they were left over at the end.

My chief objection to this is that mainly the 6d were used and if they only used 8600 of these in 2 years, that implies about 12 per day !
Not exactly the usage I would expect for the whole of London.
This suggests that the majority were diligently destoyed at the takeover, or perhaps handed over to the Post Office.
Perhaps a member of Post office staff was responsible for releasing them.

The control-number sequence can be used over and over, but pairs tend to mostly match-up and I would expect to see some in the 9000's.

LDTC Later 3d 4216. LDTC Later 3d 4216.
Courtesy of Martien Blank. Courtesy of Mike-Holt.com
(Now also owned by Martien Blank).
Two examples of 3d, large control 4216 (row 2, column 8). Used and unused.
An adjoining stamp is only likely to match one of them.

Possibly each branch was sent a batch of sheets and used them sequentially, with the used examples coming from only one or two branches.

Unused examples would be a combination of ones deliberately 'collected' plus leftovers after the Post Office takeover.

 

Stationery.

A Delivery Form, courtesy of Steve Lawrie. (Printed 9/1/60, used 2/2/60 - FRONT)
9/1/60 LDTC Message form - Front

 

Delivery Form, used 2/2/60 - BACK, showing 25 Stations and original pricing.
9/1/60 LDTC Message form - Front

 

An unused Message Form, courtesy of Dr Mark Gibson. (Printed 11/2/60)
1860's LDTC Message form.

 

No. 3 Delivery Form, courtesy of Steve Lawrie. (Printed June 1862, used 21/7/6? - FRONT)
9/1/60 LDTC Message form - Front

 

No. 3 Delivery Form - BACK, showing over 100 Stations and the new pricing.
9/1/60 LDTC Message form - Back

 

A later No. 3 Delivery Form, courtesy of Dr Mark Gibson. (Printed Jan 1866, used 20/2/66 - FRONT)
The wording "(in direct communication with the Provincial and Continental Telegraphs)." has been added.
9/1/60 LDTC Message form - Front

 

No. 3 Delivery Form - BACK, showing over 100 Stations and the new pricing.
9/1/60 LDTC Message form - Back

 

 

Comments, criticisms, information or suggestions are always welcome.
Contact:   Emale
Please include the word 'Telegraphs' in the subject.
Alternatively Yahoo Group   Yahoo-Group   is a forum.

 

Last updated 18th. April 2017

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