These three stamps often are confused, even by knowledgeable folks. Scott 43a is the
newest addition to this list. One day around 1985, Wallace Beardsley and I were sitting
around talking stamps when I told him all of the 1884 canceled stamps of Scott No. 43
seemed to be of a distinct dull red shade and showed him some examples. Suddenly
interested, he said the late 1884 order for the 2¢ Kalakaua stamps directed the ABNCo.
to change the color from dull red to a brighter carmine. It seems the ABNCo. had
supplied a dull red stamp to fulfill the 1883 order and we now had proof of a distinct
color. We notified the Scott publishers of our findings and a new listing was born.
The dull red shade listed as Scott No. 43a is the late 1883 printing of 750,000 stamps
(the same size printing as for Scott No. 38 in 1882). The 1884 and subsequent orders are
in the carmine shades of Scott 43, of which a large quantity was issued. If you still
have trouble seeing the difference, look for Scott 43 stamps canceled in 1884, they will
be the dull red Scott 43a. Multiples of four or more of Scott 38 or 43a are scarce.
Covers of those stamps are uncommon. On the other hand, Scott 43 is common on or off
cover and full sheets are known. Scarce town cancels can jump the price of any of these
stamps by multiples of Scott catalogue prices.