We're off to the Transvaal today, and I must admit I had a bit of a shock when I opened my catalogue. For there are umpteen varieties on the early types of the Transvaal stamps. And it's mainly paper varieties so not the easiest thing to determine. Seeing that it would never be a favourite of mine I only got a few copies and left it at that.

The design shows a Lion couchant as one of the quarterings of the shield. There are three types, but type III is a one stamp affair (a 6d) and from the lousy images in my catalogue I can't see the difference between type II and III, and since I don't have a 6d stamp, I won't bother.

First up is a type I stamp, the 1d black from 1870.

It is printed on stout paper but with the colour often showing through.

This stamp has a fine roulette of 15.5 to 16. Now I know how to measure perfs but I have no idea how to measure roulettes. Just as well that finding the right type is usually a process of elimination, and if you're lucky, you're left with just the one possibility, as was the case here!

Next comes an imperf variety, the 1d red from 1876, printed on stout, hard-surfaced paper. This, too, is a type I stamp.

And finally we have a type II stamp, the 3d black on rose. The difference is easy to see, just look at the wings of the birdie on top. This stamp is part of a re-issued set from 1883, all perf 12.

Next time, we're back to the more beautiful designs!