Gibraltar Stamps: Queen Victoria Spanish Currency 1889-1896

November 1889 Issue in Spanish Currency. Printed by Messrs. De La Rue & Co., on white wove paper, Wmk. Crown over CA and Perf. 14. Uniform design for all values. Printed in sheets of 120 in two panes of 60. Plate 1, no Jubilee line. Plate 2, with Jubilee line.

Gibraltar SG 24 20 centimos in full sheet of 120 with plate No. 2, with Jubilee line.
Sold at Grosvenor Auction in 2006 for ?1200 plus buyer's premium

The design is that of the common type used for four of the values of the December, 1886 series, the head-plate of which had a blank tablet for the reception of the value, inserted at a second printing.

All the values were printed in sheets of 120, in two horizontally disposed panes, each of sixty stamps in ten rows of six, with a space of 111/2 mm. between them, and the plate-number, on an uncoloured disc within a circle, appeared above the second and eleventh stamps at the top of the sheet, and below the similar stamps in the bottom rows.

Two plates were used: No. 1, with the margins of the sheets quite plain, and No. 2, with the Jubilee line round each pane, so enabling marginal copies to be allocated to the correct plate.

The paper and the perforation, with its method of application, were similar to those in the provisional series of January, 1886, and already described.

Most of the values of this issue are still common, as might be expected from the large printings, the details of which I have giyen above in a check list.

The new issue in Spanish currency arrived from London in November, 1889, and was at once put on sale, gradually superseding the current provisional issue. The new set included 1 Peseta and 5 Pesetas stamps, values never previously issued in Gibraltar ; they were doubtless primarily intended for parcels-post and telegraphic purposes.

The duration of this issue is a point which has led to much discussion. It appears that all the “centimos” values were current until 1898, but that the 1 Peseta bistre was withdrawn somewhere about 1895, to be replaced by a bi-coloured stamp of the same value; and that the 5 Pesetas was also withdrawn about the same time, a remainder of 6,000 stamps being (so it has been stated) sold on the 12th February, 1896, to a dealer by the then Postmistress. Possibly, the 75 Centimos stamps may also have been withdrawn, as no copy seems to be known from Plate 2.

With regard to the plates, as only No. 2 was in use for the further issue—20 Centimos, 1 Peseta, and 5 Pesetas of 1895—a study of the various printings will shew that the 5, 10, 25, 40 and 50 Centimos must have been printed from Plate 2, as well as from Plate 1; and that the three higher values were probably from Plate 1 only. Some remainders of these three were included in a parcel of obsolete stamps advertised for sale in the Gibraltar Chronicle and Official Gazette of the 8th October, 1898:


The following stamps of obsolete issues, which are unfit for use through the post, but may be of value to collectors, may be obtained on application at the Colonial Treasury, where the stamps can be seen daily during office hours :

194 specimens of 75 centimo stamp

61 specimens of 1 peseta stamp

18 specimens of 5 peseta stamp

Offers for the purchase of any or all of these stamps should be in writing, and should be addressed to the Cashier, Colonial Treasury. Offers will be dealt with strictly in the order in which they are received, and no offer under the face value will be accepted.

By Order of His Excellency the Governor,

H. M. Jackson,

Colonial Secretary,

for Colonial Treasurer.

Colonial Treasury.

8th October, 1898.

These were all from Plate 1, and, as there was not any printing of the three values after December, 1894, it seems fairly certain that for these values only Plate 1 was used.

On February 22nd of the same year, 6,000 of the 5 pesetas had been sold by the Treasury by auction. Hence the discrepancy of the used and unused values of this stamp. In 1896 the receipts of the Gibraltar Post Office increased by no less a sum than 65,000 pesetas owing to sales of high value stamps to dealers when these stamps were about to be withdrawn.

There are 10 Centimos stamps, in a distinctly aniline carmine, the colour showing very markedly on the reverse. 

The stamps of this issue were demonetised as from the 1st October, 1898, but any then remaining on hand were redeemable by the post office during fifteen days.

1895 Supplementary Issue

20c, 1p. and 2p. Same Wmk. and perf. Printed in sheets of 120 in two panes of sixty. Value in second colour. Printed from Plate “ 2” with Jubilee line.

In this year two values were added to the preceding issue, which was still current: a 20 centimos and a 2 pesetas, and the colour of the value 1 peseta was changed from brown to ultramarine. These were all ex-Plate “2” of the preceding issue. The 20c. was first issued in olive green, but at a later date the value was shown in brown. The difference between the two colours is slight, and it is hard to understand why this variety was issued, unless it was due to an error in the printing. In this issue there is a difference in the type in the word “Centimo” as compared with the 1889 issue. The letters are smaller and square, and this is especially noticeable in the case of the two letters “C” and “M”. It is possible that some of these varieties which are also found in the figures of the value may be due to wear of the plate. However, the “1” used for the 1 peseta differs from that used for the 10c., and the “5” in the 5p. has a straight neck, whilst in that of the 25c., the neck is sloping.