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Set 9T

T47-T61 (44-58), unused.

1922-23 (December-January) "Saorstát" 3-line overprint in black or red (Thom)

T47 (44)
1/2d green
[288] [504]

T48 (45)
1d scarlet
[288] [504]

T49 (46)
1 1/2d red-brown
[288] [504]

T50 (47)
2d orange
[288] [504]

T51 (48)
2 1/2d blue
[MID]  [LAR]

T52 (49)
3d violet
[MID]  [LAR]

T53 (50)
4d grey-green
[MID]  [LAR]

T54 (51)
5d brown
[MID]  [LAR]

T55 (52)
6d purple
[MID]  [LAR]

T56 (53)
9d olive-green
[MID]  [LAR]

T57 (54)
10d turquoise
[MID]  [LAR]

T58 (55)
1s bistre

T59 (56)
2/6 brown
[MID]  [LAR]

T60 (57)
5s carmine
[MID]  [LAR]

T61 (58)
10s blue
[MID]  [LAR]

Design: Low values (1/2d through 1s), T47-T58): Great Britain issue of 1912-13, Scott 159 (T47), 160 (T48), 161 (T49), 162a (T50), 163 (T51), 164 (T52), 165 (T53), 166 (T54), 167 (T55), 183 (T56), 171, (T57), 172 (T58): King George V, designed by Sir Bertram Mackennal. High values (2s6d through 10s, T59-T61): Great Britain issue of 1919, Scott 179 (T59), 180 (T60), 181 (T61): "Britannia Rules the Waves," designed by Sir Bertram MacKennal. This issue is the type of 1913, retouched (generally evidenced by the dot above the middle of the top frame on each value).

Printing (Base Stamps): Low values (1/2d through 1s, T47-T58): typography; Harrison & Sons, London and High Wycombe, printed in sheets of two panes of 120 subjects (12 x 10). The panes are aligned vertically, so a full sheet contains twenty horizontal rows of twelve stamps, with a horizontal gutter separating the panes. 6d value printed on chalky paper by the Stamping Department of the Board of Inland Revenue, London. High values (2s6d through 10s, T59-T61):engraving; Bradbury, Wilkinson and Co., London, printed in sheets of forty subjects (4 x 10).

Overprint: Saorstát Éireann 1922 (Irish Free State 1922), in three lines, by Messrs. Alexander Thom & Co. Ltd., Dublin. Overprints are a shiny blue-black or red (though most of the low blue-black values are also known in a dull black), and most commonly measure 8.5 x 15 mm. Standard widths of individual lines are as follows: "Saorstát" - 15 mm; "Éireann" - 12.5 mm; "1922" - 6.25 mm. Meredith identified five different plates for the low values.

Separation: Low values (1/2d through 1s, T47-T58): Perf. 15 x 14. High values (2s6d through 10s: Perf.11 x 12.

Watermark: Low values (1/2d through 1s, T47-T58): Monogram Royal Cypher (Scott wmk. 33; Crown and GvR). High values (2s6d through 10s, T59-T61): Monogram Royal Cypher (Scott wmk. 34: Large Crown and GvR).

Date of Issue: No official dates of issue. Earliest authenticated dates of use are as follows: 1/2d - 18 December 1922; 1d - 16 December 1922; 1 1/2d - 21 December 1922; 2d - 11 December 1922; 2 1/2d - 6 January 1923; 3d - 6 January 1923; 4d - 16 January 1923; 5d - 29 December 1923; 6d - 21 December 1922; 9d - 28 December 1922; 10d - 13 January 1923; 1s - 21 December 1922; 2s6d - 21 December 1922; 5s - 28 December 1922; 10s - 28 December 1922.

Numbers issued: Unknown.

Notes: Article 17 of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 6 December 1921 called for the newly formed Provisional Government to frame a constitution, subject to approval by both the Irish and British parliaments, within one year's time. The constitution was drawn up by the Irish Dail on 9 September 1922, and on 6 December, one year to the day after the signing of the treaty, it met with approval in both parliaments: the Irish Free State was thus formally constituted. It had in fact been hoped to commemmorate the occasion with a new, uniquely Irish set of definitive postage stamps, but as of 6 December only one value - a 2d green, depicting a map of Ireland - had been made available to the public. It would be over a year before all the low values of the new set were issued, and no less than fifteen years before the three high values appeared. Because of the tardiness of the new issue, and the obsolescence of the Provisional Government "Rialtas" overprints after 6 December 1923, a new set of overprints became necessary. On 5 December a new, three-line inscription reading "Saorstát Éireann 1922" (Irish Free State 1922) was approved, and Thom had the first of fifteen values - twelve low and three high - ready for use in less than a week. The low value "Saorstát" overprints were available until the corresponding denomination of the new Irish definitives was issued; the overprints were then withdrawn (this happened over the course of 1923). The high value overprints were replaced by another set of overprints in 1925, and so on until 1937.

It is difficult to mistake the 2 1/2d through 1s "Saorstát" overprints (T51-T58) for any other stamps, since these are the only instances of these values with the three-line overprint. The 1/2d through 2d (T47-T50) were issued as coils (set 10T): the major distinction here is the squared foot of the "1" in "1922" in set 9T, as opposed to the rounded foot on the coil overprints. The three high values are more difficult to identify, since a number of later types exist. The "Saorstát" high values printed by Thom (T59-T61) may be best identified by their blue-black ink and "wide" date, the latter measuring 6.25 mm at the bottom of the numerals.

Provenance: Dr. Charles Wolf (all).

Bibliography: Meredith 1927, 11-12, 29-31; EPA 1964, ""Saorstát Issues," 77-80; Feldman 1968, 42-49, 64; Foley 1975, 3-5; Harrow 1987, "Setting Irish Overprints," 14; Dulin 1992, 38-40, Whyte 1994, 7.

Errors and minor varieties

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