Dow's Kings

I bet you haven't slept well over the last few nights, dying to find out which engraver I'd be opting for this coming year! Well, I can relieve you of all your troubles, because the die has been cast and the winner is:

And that means I've got quite a challenge on my hands. Collecting his stamps won't be too hard, there are 'only' some 25 issues, and they're all modern, so they'll be easy to find and they won't break the bank. But will I be able to go beyond these? I've had a quick browse and already realise it's going to be rather hard to find any information on this man. Worse still will be to find any extraordinary items. I don't think Italy is very well known for its die proofs on the philatelic market (although I did manage to snap up some nice old goodies the other day which will be shown here in time). So I may well need your help any time soon. If only to teach me Italian. But anyway, I'll get cracking on the basic issues first and we'll take it from there.

And as you can see, I've been reassured that there's no real need to change my original linking system in these posts, so from now on the names of the engravers will be clickable again, and the links will take you to their entries in the database. And of course, but you knew this already: all illustrations are clickable as well, so you can enjoy them in a larger format.

Right, business of the day done, let's move on to some serious stuff!

A country which doesn't feature often in my collection (yet!) is Portugal. So I was very happy when I found a couple of proofs from that wonderful 1955 Portuguese Kings issue. Printed by Bradbury Wilkinson in England, there were a number of British engravers responsible for the engravings, one of which was Nigel Alan Dow.

He engraved two stamps from the set: the 90c portraying King Sancho II and the 2e portraying King Pedro I.

Unfortunately I don't have proofs for both issues, but the proof of the 2e value is so good that it makes up for that.

First of all it is in a different colour which is always a bonus I think. But the proof shows how the portrait and especially the background has been experimented with. The eventual portrait has many more light or even unengraved areas, which light up quite distinctly on the stamp. Almost too distinctly if I may dare say. But notice how the background shading has been mirrored. The dark background near the face on the proof makes the portrait stand out less well, so that's a very sensible change on the final design. The lettering in the right suffers a bit as a consequence, though. But given that they couldn't really shift it to the left side, it is probably the best solution they could come up with.

Anyway, it's what I find so fascinating about these proofs; to see the work that has been done before the final stamp is produced.



  1. I have to admit I haven't heard of the engraver you chose, Adrian, so I look forward to learning about him with you! The king issue by Dow is fantastic, btw. I love the flow of the beard.



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