Stamp collecting book review: THE £5 ORANGE by Dr John Horsey

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imports_CCGB_the5orangebydrjohn_78058.png The £5 orange by Dr John Horsey
The author’s sub-title: ‘Everything you never wanted to know about the £5 Orange – and a whole lot more’ speaks for itself and this magnificent volume encompasses both the Telegraph and Postage issues. ...
THE £5 ORANGE by Dr John Horsey
ISBN 978-0-85259-902-0; rrp £75

The Great Britain Queen Victoria £5 Orange is an iconic stamp, as desirable as a fine Penny Black, but missing from the majority of collections.

Collectors may not realise that the vast majority of the used copies extant were probably used for Telegram or internal Post Office accounting requirements: very few saw postal use on an item in the mail, even those with Registered Threadneedle Street postmarks.

The author’s sub-title: ‘Everything you never wanted to know about the £5 Orange – and a whole lot more’ speaks for itself and this magnificent volume encompasses both the Telegraph and Postage issues.

He commences with the inception of the £5 Telegraph stamp showing the development of the design and the Essays, following through with dated Die Proofs and Colour Trials, then on to the issued stamps, Imprimaturs, and Specimens.

When the use of Telegraph stamps was discontinued, the original plate was amended by deleting the word ‘Telegraph’, and producing a second plate with just the word ‘Postage’ which was used to insert this in the blank space on the printed sheet.

Using material in his own Gold Medal-winning collection; having access to the Langmead Collection in the British Library; being able to make use of the extensive photographic archives of Harmers of London, the Royal Philatelic Society London, and others such as Mike Jackson, Jeremy Dickson and Philip Plummer, John was able to amass detail and images of over 3,500 examples.

This enabled him to undertake extensive scientific analysis of each, and by using the latest computer programmes, produce sensible statistics, comparisons, bar tables and other diagrams for type of use, where and when used, fully integrated with over 350 colour illustrations.

The detailed Table of Contents occupies three pages and the effective planned layout, coupled with John’s accessible style, makes this informative and entertaining reading. The section dealing with forgeries is a must-read.

This is a superb hardcover volume with over 300 pages, including the index and bibliography, and must surely be the book of reference for the foreseeable future.

Read stamp and coin collecting book reviews in every issue of Stamp & Coin Mart magazine.
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