Surface printing, which is much less expensive than recess printing, had
only been intended for the halfpenny green stamp. However, cost savings
during the First World War combined with the halfpenny war tax led to
unexpected demand for slightly higher values and the decision was made to
surface print the other values in this set.
The grey black surface
printed 1½d stamp replaced the 'local' surface print (1915 King George V Local
issue) which were not engraved with sufficient accuracy. Perkins,
Bacon in London produced new 1½d plates at the same time as the new
2d and 3d plates were produced. The colour of the 1½d stamp was
later changed from grey black to orange brown because light cancellations
did not show up on the original stamp.
surface print stamps have a different design to the recess and local print
stamps. The surface print stamps have horizontal shading on George V's
face and neck, while the recess and local have diagonal shading. The
background on the surface and local prints has a clear diagonal pattern,
while the recess print stamps have a very fine and complex pattern of
alternating arcs with a criss-cross hatching over the top giving the
appearance of almost solid shading. The local print is very coarsely drawn
with rather poorly spaced diagonal shading lines on the face and neck.