SAUDI ARABIA 1968-1975, the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina 2 Piastres stamp.
Finding to cataloging some stamps, I realized that sometimes the stamp catalogs dealing with a lot of superficiality the stamps with the same subject, value and colors but issued with different perforation or watermark types. Specifically I speak of the stamps issued by Saudi Arabia. Among them, those stamps issued between 1968 and 1975. It is a stamps series depicting four Holy Sites, an archaeological site, a camel with an oil drawing tower, and finally an Arab stallion (fig 1).
I want to show the type “A”, depicting the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina and specifically the value of 2 Piastres (fig 2).
The only catalog that mentions three types with different features is Stanley Gibbons, but in my opinion with not all clear details. This stamp has been issued in three different times, thus distinguishing three different types, these are the S.G. numbers 840, 925 and 943. For all, the perforation results to be 13 1/2 x14 and the printing made in two steps, in two different colors. One interest the country name inscriptions and the value, and was originated from a chalk-graphic plate but printed in offset, the other, always printed in offset, is originated from the screen-plate made from a photographic image with the written addition of the site. The first print was made in September 1968 with inscriptions printed in chestnut and photographic screen-plate in emerald. It was printed on white paper with watermark recorded by Stanley Gibbons as w70 (fig 3) affecting only one stamp.
In 1972 it was decided to make another print run of this value, but as the other values, even for the 2 Piastres, the usury of inscriptions prompted the postal administration to prepare a redraw of the frames. Before entering the field of differences, I would like to express my opinion, believing that in reality the rare second type of this value was made randoming, since it was carried out on the residuals of the watermark w70 paper sheet stock. So, except for a small amount printed on W70 watermark sheets, the most quantity was printed on sheets with the new watermark w95 (fig 4).
To summarize, there are therefore three types, the first printed on the original frames, on paper with watermarks w70 (SG No. 840), the second with redrawn frames, still printed on paper with watermarks w70 (S.G. No. 925), the third with redrawn frames but printed on paper with the new watermarks w95 (S.G. No. 943).
(a) the first type has the two points on the letter “t” of “al arabia” united, while in the second and third type are disjoint.
(b) in the first type the “P” after the “2” is intact and well defined. The second and third types have constantly in the “P” the top chamfered right and the general appearance bad defined.
(c) the emerald photoengraving network, in the first type is well defined, while in the second and third type is clearer. This is due to the photoengraving network wear, so the small dots are less thick. From this we can deduce that only the chestnut frames were redrawing and not the emerald photoengraving.
(d) the shape of the two numbers “2” is distinctly different, in the first type the horizontal thickness base of “2” is 3/10 of millimeters, in the second and third types is thicker, 5/10 of millimeter about.
So, to differentiate the first type from the other two I think there are no doubts, regarding the difference between the second and third it depends only on the watermarks:
w70 positioned sideways for n. 925, as seen in the strip of five without gum in fig 6.
w95 for the n. 943.