1851 10¢ - #16
10¢ Green, dark green or yellowish green - Type IV
The outer lines have been recut at either the top
or bottom label or both
Imperf - Scott #16 - 1855
Deduct 40% for pen cancels for three margins, deduct 40% of three margins,
60% for two margins and for no margins deduct 80%
(with 4 margins around the design)
Used: $1,400- $3,500
No postmark with gum (MH): $10,000-$21,000
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): Does not exist
Date of Issue:
Earliest Known Date of Use:
July 19th, 1855
Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100). Only one plate was used, plate #1.
Toppan, Carpenter, Casilier & Co. using the die-to-relief-to-plate transfer process.
The Letter Rate for distances greater than 3,000 and under ½ oz was 10¢, the domestic
rate for letters over ½ oz. Because of this the 10¢ stamp was relatively common. Not
only used for foreign mail, it was used for coast to coast mail when the rate for the latter was
raised from 6¢ to 10¢ in 1855.
What you should look for
(a type IV printing)
All the ten cent stamps were printed from just one plate, plate #1.
Click the chart above for a full scale chart of the plate positions
#16 or Type IV stamps occur in only eight positions. Type IV are distinguished by the recutting of the
outer frame line at the top or bottom. After recutting, a B relief stamp was misplaced into an A
relief space, this being position R13, the only Type IV on the right pane. There is also only one
example where the lines have been recut at both the top and bottom, position 64L1. Both of these
aforementioned stamps command higher prices than the other six type IV's.
The stamps come in a whole range of greens, ranging from light green to dark green.
The darker the shade of green, the more desirable.
The 10¢ value was printed with wider spaces between the stamps than the 1¢, 3¢ and 5¢
values, consequently copies with less than four margins are sold at a heavy discount.
Plate I versus Plate II
Before the perforated stamps were printed the transfer plates were trimmed at the sides in order
to have wider margins, thereby assisting the postal clerk in cutting the stamps. As a result the edge
pearls were lost as were the edge of the curls at the sides.
The imprint was centered in the left and right margin of the sheets. There is a price premium
for stamps with a partial portion of the imprint. The plate number of the sheet is under the printers name.
John Casilear joined the firm of Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co. in 1850
two years after its formation. He was a renowned master engraver.
Because this stamp was used mainly for foreign mail expect to see quite a few red
transit cancels. West coast cancels are rare and add a price premium. Grid and circular
date cancels are the most common, with the Boston grid 'PAID' cancel. New York and New
Orleans cancels being the most prevelant of these.
A rare fancy cancel
Fancy cancels are are rare on all imperfs
An example showing a red transit mark
Transit marks add interest but rarely do they add value
#16 is frequently forged, with the re-cut line
being expertly drawn in. Above is a faked
certificate. The giveaway is there is no
imperf type V.
The Inspiration for the Design
George Washington 1743-1826
painted by Gilbert Stuart 1755-1799
Known as the The Athenaeum it was painted in 1796 by Gilbert Stuart
Perhaps the most famous portrait in the US, probably due to the fact that it's presence graces the front
of the $1 bill, this portrait was in fact unfinished at the time of Gilbert's death in 1828. It now hangs
in the Boston Museum of Fine Art (Gilbert was one of Boston's more famous sons).
An excellent website on this portrait can be found here.
Gilbert Stuart Self Portrait
Varieties to look for
Position #64 L1
LEFT STAMP: Position #64 L1 showing recut lines at both top and bottom
RIGHT STAMP: #16 without recut lines
#54L1 also has a smudge in the left X, as noted on the right side of the X.
A multiple showing type II,III and IV
#14, #15 and #16
The Essay's and Proofs
History left us with just three essays of the 10¢, none of which have I seen come up for auction in the last thirty years. I do have an image of a rare trial proof, seen below.