1857 3¢ - #26A
3¢ - Dull red, brownish carmine or rose - Type IIa
As in Type 2 but the side frame lines do not extend beyond the design.
Perf. 15½ - Scott 26A - 1857
(with 4 margins around the design)
No postmark with gum (MH): $20-$35
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $550
Issued: June 26, 1857
Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100).
Printer: Toppan, Carpenter & Co., using the flat plate printing process.
Quantity Issued: 33 million
Color: Dull Red
Note: Because of the narrow margins, finding an example with a complete design can be a challenge. FRAME LINES DO NO EXTEND BEYOND DESIGN
#26a on cover
The Inspiration for the Design
The design was based off Jean-Antoine Houdon's bust, for more detail on the bust click here.
How the perforated stamp came to us
When Rowland Hill designed the worlds first postage stamp, the penny black, no provision was made for separating the stamps. in 1847, six years after the introduction of the first stamp, Henry Archer submitted a two seperating machines to the British postmaster general. These machines employed lancet shaped blades, however their effect, was mixed at best. Soon after Mr Archer patented a machine which used perforation as a means of seperation, his first trials with this machine were on the Prince Consort essay, an example is seen above. The Prince Consort was Prince Albert, the design was never approved.
In October 1853 the first perforated stamps were issued in the UK using new perforating machines built by David Napier and Son Ltd, they were revenue stamps The first perforated stamps were revenue stamps issued in October 1853.
Aaron Brown, Postmaster-General 1857-59
In 1857 the new postmaster general was determined to introduce the perforation of postage stamps to the US. Perforating machines, at the cost of $3,000 were acquired by Toppan Carpenter, along with $6,000 in new plates. The machines were from England, but not from Napier, they purchased rouletting machines from William Bemrose & Sons of Derby, converting them to perforating machines. One problem is that these new machines could accommodate a relatively narrow sheet, which explains why the stamps of the 1857 series are spaced so close together. The first stamps to be perforated were the thirty cent, twenty four cent and ninety cent values.