In 1839, Perkins Bacon & Petch were approached about creating a die for adhesive stamps. The printers commissioned Charles Heath to engrave the portrait of Queen Victoria. By that time, Charles was wont to delegate most of his work to either his sons or other employed engravers, because of his failing eyesight. For this particular engraving, Charles enlisted the help of his son Frederick Heath.
In 1865, the first requests for essays for a halfpenny stamp were made, but actual work on the eventual die did not start until 1870. It had been decided that the stamp would be in a smaller format, which meant that the existing engraving of the Queen’s head could not be used and a new engraving had to be commissioned. By that time, Charles Heath had passed away, so the job of engraving Victoria’s portrait fell to his eldest son Frederick.
By then, Frederick Heath had already engraved a few more Victorian stamps for Perkins, Bacon & Co., but this time for New South Wales. In 1855, he engraved the profile head of Victoria for the low value definitives of 1d to 3d, which were introduced in 1856.
|Reprinted die proof|
Frederick thought the 1861 5 shilling coin stamp for New South Wales was his best work.