Saturday, September 17, 2005

Nigerian Nightmare

I'm stuck at home with a badly pinched sciatic nerve, doing the "bedrest and medication" bit, waiting for it to heal itself. That means that, while I'm a bit high on medication, I'll have lots more time to work on my own stamp collection, and to write on this blog.

About a month ago, I acquired a HUGE box of stamps off paper from about 50 countries. There were two or three countries where there were up to 500 copies of some stamps. The largest representation was from Nigeria - at least 50 stamps where I had more than 50 copies each, and two sets that exist in more than one type each. Actully, I'm happy with that - this has helped me immensely, because for the first time since I started collecting stamps, I have enough copies of some issues to distinguish which are which! Still, it's a lot of stamps to sort through.

Some of them are easy. The yellow or white "2d" can easily be distinguished:

I thought I had the 4d stamps pretty well figured out, too, until I got this mix. It's strange how you can imagine you know what the catalogues are talking about, but it doesn't become obvious until you actually see it. Then you think, "Well, Duh!". Here are three of the five 4d stamps:

The top stamp is the original issue, with large "MAURICE FIEVET" on the left side. The perf 12.5 x 12 is exactly the same. The second stamp is the initial issue with the "4d" and "REPUBLIC" in bolder, larger letters. Notice that the "MAURICE FIEVET" is smaller, and has been moved to the right side - the easiest way to distinguish these stamps. The bottom stamp is an unlisted variety of the 1969-72 re-issue with "N.S.P.& M. Co, Ltd." added below the design. In this variety, both the "4" and the "d" are thinner than the regular design.

There are also minor color variations between the earlier and later sets, as this side-by-side comparison shows (disregard where the thin mylar covers the stamp image):

Some of the differences are minor, just a slightly different shade of color, just a bit more of one color than before, and so forth. Some of the other changes are a bit more obvious, such as the change to the head of the kingfisher on the second issue, and the smaller spots on the leopard in the 4d issue. The changes are minor, but they're just one more aspect of these stamps that should be considered.

Sometime next week, I'm going to be looking at the 1973-80 "Nigerian Industries" set.