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Great Britain 1840 Rainbow Trial Presentation Sheet
Great Britain 1840 Rainbow Trial Presentation Sheet


Great Britain 1840 Rainbow Trial Presentation Sheet

For Sale: £120,000.00

  • Exceptionally rare presentation sheet containing ten stamps from the 1840 Rainbow Trials - the tests that led to the celebrated Penny Black
  • Annotated in top left corner
  • Ex-Colonel Bates Collection

This sheet contains ten stamps, eight shades of red and two of blue, from the Rainbow Trials of 1840. These were the historic tests carried out following the production of the famous Penny Black of the same year, which was the world's first adhesive postage stamp.

A handwritten annotation reading "all in oil" has been inscribed in the top left corner of the sheet.

Specimens 1,2,3,9 and 10 are on medium white wove paper and 4,5,6,7 and 8 are on medium laid. They all have 'Prussiate of Potash' in the ink.

Further examples of this magnificent sheet can be found in the Royal Philatelic Collection and the R.M. Phillips collection.

This sheet is identical to the one in the Royal Philatelic Collection, except that the Royal sheet has a legend on the right-hand side in Joshua Bacon's hand which reads: "different mixtures to produce different shades and in all cases the clearest prints have the strongest oil". Opposite the two One Penny blue stamps is "2 shades of blue both fugitive and printed in oil".

This exceptionally rare piece was once housed in the renowned Colonel Bates Collection.

The Rainbow Trials

The Rainbow Trials, began in 1840 to test the colour, inks and paper of the Penny Black.stamp. Following the stamp being issued in May 1840, it was discovered that the dark colour meant that the cancellation ink could not be seen, allowing the public to reuse an existing stamp many times.

Rowland Hill, the great postal reformer, was horrified at the idea that his stamps could be so easily forged that he quickly set about correcting the problem. The result was to be the 1841 Penny Red, which continued to be the main stamp in the UK until 1879.

Tests were made to check the printing inks, cancellation inks and an assortment of papers. Printed in blocks of twelve, the stamps were made void by the removal of a corner (top right) and no corner letters.

For Sale: £120,000.00

Stock Status:In Stock

Product Code: PT269
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