1855 – 1859

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Officials 1855
1855. 1 January. Shield of Spain.
Designed by José Pérez Vareta. Printed in typography in the National Stamp Factory. Size: 18.5 x 22.6 mm.
Circulation: January 1, 1855. Postal validity until July 31, 1866.
Quantities issued
½ onza: 30.890.600.
1 onza: 30.760.500.
4 onzas 10.853.500.
1 libra: 6.740.200.




Large and wrong number of pearls in the crown
Letters touch the inner frame
Coarse lines throughout

Probably the same source as the previous forgery
Inner central lions and castles are very crude

Very wide crown
Letters are shorter
Dots are missing

Decent forgery
Crown is wide
Lions are thin
Many breaks in the inner frame

Crude forgery
Letters touch the frame
Lions are poorly drawn
Crown cross touches the frame

Wrong number of pearls in the crown
A of LIBRA touches frame and no end dot
Lions are poorly drawn

Chain links narrow
Central lions and castles very crude
Large cross
Breaks in inner frame

1855 to 1859 Isabel II Genuine issues
3 printings Edifil (Ed) 39-50 plus 1 (NE1) not issued.

First printing with watermark 1855 left
Second printing watermark 1856 right
Third printing, no watermark 1856-62
NOTE some forgeries have watermarks but not as well detailed.

Genuine Issues

Ed 39/43/47 & Ed 40/44/48
Qty. issued 3.764.823 & 168.093.486

Ed 41/45/49  Blue & Blue-Green
Qty. issued 2.418.754

Ed 42/46/50
Qty. issued 2.101.075

Ne1A and Ne1 not issued, 2,000,000 were prepared.
The majority were cancelled with bars, few mint exist.
Others were disabled with a single ink line (they come from the sample sheets).
The above is probably a later print. The first one had issues with the value table distortion, see below, and is very rare.

Unissued NE1 & NE 1e

Forgeries exist and are easily distinguished by the almost complete absence of a serif on the 1 and no distortion on the left side of the bottom right frameline.

Color Tests

Ed 48 – 4c
5 different types
2 basic types – Type I and II
3 subtypes
Type V subtype of I
Types III and IV subtypes of II



The last one, Type V has the highest CV.

Above are the genuine characteristics applicable to the complete series shown above.
1. & 6. The OS are closer together than the other letters.
2. The leaf tips point between the pearls.
3. The shading curls upwards.
4. Missing shading.
5. Lower shading id broken midway.
7. The dot after the 4 is lower than the other 2.
8. The corner flowers have 5 distinct circles and the bottom left one is very close to the frame.
NOTE also the well placed background color dots, forgeries tend to be out of alignment.

The 4c can be found in a variety of shades

Given the quantities and varieties issued, the 4c is one of the most studied early stamps of Spain.
One of the most remarkable studies is this plating of a full sheet of 200 stamps

Genuine always on the left

Forgery Type I
Overall quite good
Bottom letters are thicker especially the 2 and the A touches the frame
Many of the pearls are smaller
Section below the neck is attached unlike the genuine

Forgery Type I
Very large T
The eye lacks shading
Top RE very thick

Forger Type II
Thick bottom letters
Eye, nose and mouth lack shading and outlines
All bottom letters too thick

Forgery Type III
Large nostril
Pearls larger
All letters too short
Hair lines wrong

2 Other Type III

Forgery Type IV
Very short letters
Background pearls are irregular and pearls in the circle are small
Lack of lines and white spots in the hair

Forgery Type V
Very thick letters touching the frame
Sleepy eye look
Irregular background pearls and many in circle fused to the frame
White ares in the hair

Forgery Type VI
Very good forgery
Neck lines lacking
The 4 is inclined, the AR are not
Distance between the EO is larger
Small top C

Forgery Type VII
Nose is wrong
Background pearls are small
Corner elements lack dots
Pronounced chin

Forgery Type VIII
Nostril slightly large
Tall bottom letters
End of ribbon lacking definite tassels

Another Type VIII

Forgery Type IX
Sleepy eye, pointed nose
Very thick awkward letters
Background pearls very irregular

Forgery Type X
Small background pearls
Letters short, thick and irregular
Face lacks details

Forgery Type XI
Very crude forgery lacking and proper details
Thick irregular letters

Forgery Type XII
Facial features all wrong
Hair lacks shading lines
Top letters are too short, TOS of bottom very irregular

Forgery Type XIII
Heavy shading above the eye
Background pearls are too small and separated

Forgery Type XV
Very poorly executed – no features match the genuine

Forgery in variant color
Background pearls uneven
ARTOS taller than CU
Heavy shading in front of eye

Forgery Type I
Background pearls are very irregular
Top letters short, REAL very thick
Face does not extend far enough

Forgery Type II
Facial features are wrong
Bottom letters are tall and better defined
Thick irregular outside frame

Forgery Type III
Decent forgery
Top letters broken
Thick shading above the eye
Thick shading lines in the hair

NOTE – The 2r also comes in the 1r color.
This is a rare error found in a full sheet of the 1r.
Forgeries are plentiful. generally made by chemical alteration and replacing the numeral of another stamp.
Often cheap stamps of the Antilles are used.