Danish West Indies
There are 4 printings of the 4 cents.
(Sep 1873) - ultramarine/brown. Perforated 14 x 13 1/2. Inv. frames pos. 18 and 77.
(May 1878) - light blue/yellow brown. Perforated 14 x 13 1/2. Printing 2 is not as common as printings 3 and 4. There are no inverted frames in Printing 2.
The stamps from printing two have a greater catalog value. Printing two stamps are likely stamps the collector had stashed away and put into use to perhaps generate another philatelic variety.
One person, a Mr. A. Duurloo - produced a number of small covers (95 x 54 mm- see photo below) with stamps from printing 2 that were all canceled St.Thomas May 6.
Stamps from Printing 2 are more often used on covers mailed from Christiansted and Frederiksted as compared to St. Thomas.
(Mar 1901) - dull greenish slate blue/light yellow brown - one inverted frame in position 51. Perforated 12 3/4. Color variation appears which makes it difficult to identify Printing 3 from Printing 4.
(Jun 1902) - clear light blue/yellow brown - 11 inverted frames in position 51 and 91-100. Perforated 12 3/4. Color variation appears which makes it difficult to identify Printing 4 from Printing 3.
Printing 4 is the most commonly used bisected 4 cents stamp.
It is not known how many stamps were biseced and used. Estimates have ranged from as few as 2.500 to as many as 53.000 - but there could easily have been more than 10.000 letters.
The inverted frame is defined by the upper left scroll design - but may also be identified in the bottom right corner.
When the frame in the upper left corner is inverted the stamp is defined as having an inverted frame - while the lower right frame on that same stamp is normal. And visa versa.
Relevant 4 cents inverted frames are Printing 3 pos. 51 and Printing 4 pos. 51 and 91-100.
Inverted frames are not present in Printing 2.
The inverted frame was not identified untill 1917 - so its use in philatelic mail was not deliberate.
ONLY A DIAGONALLY CUT 4 CENTS STAMP WAS ALLOWED
The use of bisected 4 cents were only allowed by the staff of the Post Offices of DWI. Only diagonally cut 4 cents from the stock of the Post Offices and applied by the staff was allowed. This to prevent any false use of already cancelled 4 cents. If a stamp had been struck only hidding a small part of the stamp - it could have been removed - bisected and the part not showing any signs of being cancelled - reused.
In reality - many bisected stamps were applied by the sender - especially those being dropped in the letterboxes after opening hours. It is my impression - that the Post Offices on both St. Thomas and St. Croix gradually allowed people to apply bisected 4 cents stamps from their personal stock supplies.
The initial intented use of the bisects was for local covers and postcards (as well as single and double postal cards) sent within 300 nautical miles. Further intended use was for printed matter not exceeding 50 grams sent beyond 1500 nautical miles.
There are 4 common oval flaws of the 4 cents.
1: Oval scrath over TIN in "Vestindien". Appears in pos. 90 (Print. 2), pos. 23 (Print. 3) and pos. 75 (Print 4)
2: Horizontal line of large 4 is defect and appears pointing upward to the right. Pos. 40 (Print. 1), pos. 58 (Print 2), pos. 15 (Print. 3) and pos. 94 (Print 4). Note that the pos. 94 of Printing 4 is an inverted frame.
3: White spot between T and I. Appears in pos. 34 (Print. 1), pos. 8 (Print. 2), pos. 4 (Print. 3) and pos. 93 (Print. 4). Note that the pos. 93 of Printing 4 is an inverted frame.
4: White spot above E in "VEST". Appears in pos. 12 (Print. 3) and pos. 99 (Print. 4). Note that the pos. 99 of Printing 4 is an inverted frame.