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Friday, November 23, 2012

Variety Focus: Denmark's 4RBS classic with "Pemberton Double Strikes"

Although widely considered to be "number 2" in many parts of the world, Denmark's 4RBS brown has always been regarded as "Denmark's first stamp" by collectors in Denmark. It was issued to cover prepayment of the ordinary letter rate within Denmark.

Denmark 4 RBS Brown with "Pemberton Double Strikes"
In the Danish AFA catalogue, the 4RBS is listed as no. 1, and was issued on April 1, 1852, a month before the 2 RBS blue-- which is recognized as no. 2 in Denmark, but no. 1 in some parts of the world. It's a bit confusing-- but I personally believe the Danish approach is the most appropriate one, since these two stamps were definitely not issued as "a set," so treating them as if they "belong together" is incorrect.

The 4 RBS stamp is widely collected by specialists, and offers up a wealth of printings, colors and plate flaws. Even though it is a "number one" stamp from the 1850's, it remains reasonably affordable, with a catalogue value in the range of US$40.00 and up depending on the printing and color.

Over 15 million copies were originally printed-- across different printings-- so quite a few are still around. Collectible quality copies (maybe with 3 margins, or some tiny flaw) can generally be had for about US$10.00, although premium quality 4-margin copies sell for considerably more.

Detail of left and right frame lines
One of the major varieties on this stamp is known as the "Pemberton Double Strike" stamp, named after the philatelist who first identified it, many years ago.

The stamp is found only on plate I, position 19, and has a very visible splitting of the frame line at right, as well as a double frame line at left, and lots of "double strikes" in the wreath at bottom right.

This is not a Scott listed variety, although other large catalogues list it. The Danish AFA Specialized catalogue lists it, and most serious collectors in Denmark are familiar with it. The current catalogue value in the Danish AFA Specialized catalogue is 3000,- Danish kr. (about US $520.00).

The photo at left shows the double frame line at left (over the word "KONGELIGT") as well as the thickening/doubling of the right frame line, starting at the upper right corner.

Although this is a fairly scarce variety, copies can be found almost anywhere-- my own example came from an APS Sales Division circuit book-- which goes to show that it's always a good idea to take a closer look at stamps-- even those that are quite familiar to you!

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