Ascension Stamps: 1924-1933 Badge Issue

As is to be expected, the 1922-24 Ascension Provisional Issue had a comparatively short life before the advent of the first true definitive issue of Ascension in 1924. However, again recourse was made to a design of St. Helena, namely the badge of St. Helena issued in 1922 but issued for Ascension in those face values considered at the time to be best suited to the actual postal needs.

Notwithstanding the above, and presumably based on experience of actual requirements, the 4d and 6d values were withdrawn in July 1927 and replaced by a 5d value the following month.

During the comparatively short life of the 4d value it was issued in two distinct background shades of lemon and yellow. The detection of these two shades is best achieved by studying the back of the stamp when the shade difference will be clearly marked.

Other significant colour shade variations occurred in 1932 when the frame shade of the 1d value changed from a deep to a bright blue green, and in 1932 when the 1d value was issued with a dull brown instead of a black vignette. A second printing of the 1d was made in late 1927.

Finally, there were three printings and several colour variations of the 2d value throughout the period of its issue and two printings of the 5d on white and cream paper respectively.

All values were printed by De La Rue & Co., with a Multiple Script CA watermark on chalky paper and perforated 14. It will have been noticed that virtually every stamp of this issue is pinholed, but this is normal and is a peculiarity of the paper used.

Each value of this issue can be found overprinted “SPECIMEN” in black on the 1d, l1/2d, 2d, 3d, 5d, 6d, 8d, 1/- and 2/- values, and in red on the 1/2d, 4d and 3/- values.

Varieties on the Ascension 1924-33 Badge Issue

There are many varieties of this issue of Ascension stamps occurring in both the frame and the vignette.

Each sheet of each value consisted of five rows of twleve stamps per row. The stamps are numbered accordingly with the stamp at the left of each horizontal row, being numbered 1, 13, 25, 37 and 49.

1. Vignette Varieties

1.1 Breaks and Dents in Vignette Frame

Stamp sheet Position Position of the variety Values with variety
8 Top frame 41/2 mm from left 1/2d
14 Bottom frame 1 mm apart above I of ASCENSION 11/2d, 1/-
20 Bottom frame 3 mm from left All values
21 Bottom frame l1/2 mm from right 1/-
24 Bottom frame 3 and 6 mm from right All values
27 Dent in right frame between 10th and 11th lines of shading and break at ship’s waterline All values
30 Right frame between 38th and 39th line of shading 1/2d, 5d
36 Bottom frame 11/2 mm from right 1/2d, 1d, 2/-
39 Right frame opposite ship’s waterline All values
46 Right frame opposite 4th line of shading All values
48 Left frame opposite 26th line of shading All values
52 Right frame opposite 36th line of shading All values except 5d

1.2 Breaks in Vignette Shading

Stamp sheet Position Position of the variety Values with variety
3 Across 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines of shading close to left frame 1/2d, 11/2d, 1/-
4 Across 2nd and 3rd lines of shading 2 mm from right 11/2d, 1/-
8 4th line of shading above and left of foremast 1/-
29 Across 7th, 8th and 9th lines of shading 21/2  mm left of foremast All values
32 11th line of shading, 2 mm right of mizzen mast All values
33 12th line of shading between main and mizzen masts All values
38 Top line of water 1 mm from right 1/-
50 8th line of shading, l1/2  mm right of rock All values

Note: All shading lines are numbered from the top downwards.

1.3 Other Vignette Flaws

Stamp sheet Position Position of the variety Values with variety
9 Torn flag 1/-
13 Break in foot of main mast All values
18 White flaws (2 in no.) near ship’s water-line and 2 mm right of stern All values
28 Broken mizzen mast above royal yard 1/2d, 8d
41 Top white line on stern tilts upward at right to edge of hull (on “repaired flag” printings) 1/2d
42 Torn flag All values except 5d
42 Repaired “Torn Flag” 1/2d (printings after 1927)
49 Cleft Rock (seal’s mouth) All values
Not known Ship’s hull broken through between foremast and mainmast 11/2d
7 Break in mainmast shrouds below lower yard 6d

2. Duty Plate Varieties

Stamp sheet Position Position of the variety Values with variety
3 Black spot on king’s nose 11/2d
4 Retouched scroll by left hand value tablet 11/2d
6 Black spot near the bottom and 3 mm to the right of the medallion 1/2d
6 White line through “C” of ASCENSION 11/2d
11 or 12 Black spot at top left corner of left hand value tablet 3/-
15 Brown spot near the bottom and 2 mm to the right of the medallion 1/-
16 White line from right hand outer reed to, and through outer frame (opposite 30th line of vignette shading) 1/-
24 Break in outer bottom frame and line of shading above, 11/2 mm from right 1/2d
37 Black spot on left hand scroll of name tablet (shamrock flaw) 8d
43 Black spot near the bottom and 4 mm to the right of the medallion 1/2d
55 Olive green spot in shading to left of the medallion and level with tip of king’s beard 5d
56 Break from bottom of the right hand name tablet scroll to, and through outer bottom frame line 5d
59 Break in inner right hand frame opposite 6th and 7th lines of vignette shading 1/2d

It should be noted that the outer or vignette Jubilee line is broken at irregular intervals round the sheet making simple the positive location on the sheet of a marginal stamp.

Die Proofs

The following Proofs of this issue are known to exist:

  • Master Die with blank vignette and value tablets.
  • Die Proof with blank vignette tablet and marked BEFORE HARDENING of the 1/2d, 4d, 1/-, 2/- and 3/- values.
  • Die Proof with blank vignette tablet, marked AFTER STRIKING and dated 28 April 1927 of the 1/- value.
  • Die Proof with blank vignette tablet, crossed through with a black ink line and dated 15 July 1924. This on all values excluding the 5d.
  • Plate Proof with blank vignette tablet of the 4d and 5d values.

Ascension 1924-33 "Badge" Issue Die Proofs Frame master showing uncleared surrounds and with guide marks on all four sides, in black on glazed card (92x60 mm). Sold at Spink Auction in 2010 for ?2100 plus buyer's premium

Ascension 1924-33 "Badge" Issue Die Proofs Vignette, in black on glazed card (92x60mm.) marked "before hardening" and, in pencil, "Die 2" and "25/3/22". Sold at Spink Auction in 2010 for ?1300 plus buyer's premium



  1. Ascension. The stamps and postal history, J.H. Attwood, 1981