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Waterloo and Sons Specimens of High Values of Issue of 1892

Specimens of High Values of Issue of 1892
These Liberian stamps may have been sales samples for the printers, Waterloo and Sons.

Specimen stamps are copies of actual or proposed stamps that are distributed by stamp issuers as "samples". On the envelope that contained the specimens of the high values of the Liberia issue of 1892 that are pictured above, Kasimir Bileski, a prominent dealer in Liberian stamps, noted, "It was stamps of this set that triggered an avalanche of contracts for Waterlow. They sent samples of these Liberia to postal administrations in 1892 and got plenty of orders to print stamps." Bileski priced the stamps at $100 (Note that they are not offered for sale here.) and provided the following explanation of the history of these specimens:


When the great printing firm of Waterlow & Sons Ltd. decided to close its stamp printing department (they still print currency for Great Britain and numerous other countries) it closed quite an era as they had printed stamps for over 50 nations, including Great Britain, Mew Zealand, Belgium, Iceland, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Congo, China, Siam, etc., etc.! Away back in 1892 they printed the handsome 1892 Liberian set.

Early in 1968 the English firm of Robson Lowe was instructed to sell by private treaty various proofs and specimen stamps that were once in the archives of Waterlow and Sons. My interest was in anything having to do with Liberian stamps and I did get a few varieties but others snapped up all that was available in a hurry.

(Enclosed is the Robson Lowe prospectus as printed on the inside front cover of the March 1, 1968 catalogue. Note that all offers were withdrawn Aug. 1, 1968. Actually all were sold out long before that).

In particular, a German dealer purchased what existed of the 1892 Liberian $1.00, $2.00, $5,00 values. (This affinity of German philatelic interest in anything Liberian has always intrigued me but then it's logical as for a time Liberian stamps, the Gabon Vipers, for example, were also printed by the German State PrintingDepartment). Located the new owner and persuaded him to sell me all he had, which was not a great deal as specimens like this just don't exist in large quantities. I gather there were 10 miniature sheets of 10 for the 3 dollar values so they are of considerable rarity as singles even, let alone as miniature sheets.

Note the colors used. I'm of the opinion these were meant to be the original colors of issue. For some reason they were changed to what actually appeared.

K. Bileski

The 3 great rarities - $50.00 each or all $100.00

(Waterlow specimens come punched for security reasons).

The three high values of the definitive issue of 1892 to 1896 were printed in different colours from the specimens: the one dollar is ultramarine and black, the two dollar is brown on yellow paper and the five dollar is carmine and black.


"Kasimir Bileski - September 14, 1908 to January 19, 2005." Saskatoon Stamp Centre. n.d.. Saskatoon Stamp Centre. Web. 16 Jul. 2012

Kloetzel, James E. ed. "Liberia." Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. Sidney, Ohio: Scott Publishing, 2008. Print.

Rogers, Henry Harper. A Century of Liberian Philately. Winnipeg, Manitoba: K. Bileski, Ltd., 1978. Print.

Williams, L.N. Fundamentals of Philately. State College Pennsylvannia: American Philatelic Society, 1990.



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