Production of the Keyplate Issues

The lovely Small Canoe Issue served for only five years before being replaced by cheaper-to-produce, surface printed stamps bearing a portrait of King George V. This De La Rue keyplate design was the same used for other colonies, including British Honduras, Grenada, Malta, and St. Lucia. This basic keyplate design went through three issues and served as the definitive release from 1913 until 1939.

The designs were produced by using two plates--the central keyplate containing the King's head and surrounding foliage design, and a duty plate containing the value and the colony name. De La Rue had two keyplates: one with tablets containing the word POSTAGE on both sides below the King's portrait, and a second with the word POSTAGE on the left and the work REVENUE on the right. Both keyplates were used in the issues for the Solomon Islands.

The stamps were printed in sheets of 120 stamps in two horizontal panes of 6 by 10 stamps separated by a central vertical gutter margin. (Gisburn) All of the issues were perforated 14 with a comb machine. The sheets include plate numbers at the top and bottom for the first two issues, and at the bottom only for the third issue.



These two die proofs of the duty plate thanks to "Aore" collection.