The original Gilbert & Ellice Islands stamps were printed in sheets of 100 stamps, cut into twin panes of 50. Cylinder inscriptions in the lower left corner indicate the pane positions, and the cylinder numbers used (also called plate numbers).
The vertical stamps are laid out in 5 rows of 10 stamps, and consist of 8 different designs: 1c, 6c, 8c, 10c, 15c, 50c, $1 and $2.
The horizontal stamps are laid out in 10 rows of 5 stamps, and consist of 7 different designs: 2c, 3c, 4c, 5c, 20c, 25c and 35c.
- Cylinder Numbers: 1A 1A 1A 1A or 1B 1B 1B 1B
The original GEIC printings used cylinder number 1 for all colours, but a few values had number 2 assigned to some colours on subsequent reprints. Position A is the top pane of all vertical stamps, with position B being the bottom pane. Position A is the left pane and position B is the right pane on all horizontal stamps. more...>
- Printer Inscription: WALSALL SECURITY PRINTERS LTD ● WALSALL ● ENGLAND
Spans 2 stamps on vertical designs, 1 stamp on horizontal designs.
- Cylinder Colour Dots or "Traffic Lights":
1 dot for each colour. Four colours were used for all stamps except the 50c, which has five colours.
- Colour Alignment Guide:
This may also be used as a perforation machine guide. On the vertical design it appears at the top centre of position A sheets, and on the bottom centre of position B sheets, right above the printer name. On the horizontal sheets, the guide appears at the centre left of position A sheets, and the centre right of position B sheets.
- Control Number:
Consecutive numbers applied to each pane after the stamps have been printed. The position varies, but is usually in the top left corner beside stamp 1 or 11 on vertical sheets, and in the upper right corner above stamp 4 or 5 on horizontal sheets. It has also been seen inverted, below stamp 46 or 47 on horizontal sheets.
The numbers 1-50 on the stamps indicate the position, to simplify the location of constant varieties.