The 1847 10¢ Washington
The Value of the Stamp
George Washington (biography)
10¢ - Black or gray black
Imperf - Thin bluish Paper - Scott #2 - 1847
Scott #3 can be found further down the page
Deduct 40% for pen cancels for three margins, deduct 40% of three margins,
60% for two margins and for no margins deduct 80%
Value (with 4 margins around the design)
No postmark with gum: $9,000-$10,000
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark: Donald Trump territory
Statistics and Facts
Issued: Issued on July 1st, 1847. The earliest recorded copy is July 7th, 1847. Below is one of the twenty recorded examples bearing a July 1847 date stamp.
Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100), Stanley Ashbrook was convinced there was only one plate used.
Printer: Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson Bank Note Co. NYC. (later to become part of the American Bank Note Company)
What you should look for
The value of this stamp is greatly effected by the number of margins it has. Ideally it should have four wide margins. These stamps were scissor cut by the postmaster, hence purchasing a four margin stamp with wide margins (as shown at the top of this page) can be expensive. The value goes down depending on the width of the margins and the number of the margins. Three margin copies will always be of less value than a four margin copy. Two margin copies are considered undesirable.
Because these stamps were scissor cut the design is often cut into, if this is the case it will significantly take away from the value of the stamp, the more the stamp design has been cut into the greater the deduction.
IF UNUSED CHECK TO SEE IF YOU HAVE THE REPRINT
The 10¢ was reprinted in 1875. The differences are subtle. If the stamp has a cancel or pen mark on it then it is an original 1847, numbers 1 or 2. If the stamps are clear and free of cancels or pen marks then they could be the reprints. This is especially true of the 10¢.
To discern the difference look at the cravat, or shirt frill. On the original, on the right, the right edge of the cravat pretty much lands opposite the middle of the letter T in the word CENTS. Now look at the reprint on the left. The right edge of the cravat Graded towards the left branch of the letter T in CENTS. There are other cues but this is usually the easiest.
The majority of cancels are obliterated with the grid cancel, usually in black or red. Town cancels are less common and carry a small premium. Cancels with the word 'Steamboat' or 'Railroad' often demand a 25-50% premium. Other, but less common cancels is the word 'PAID' or the number '10'. Pen cancels are fairly common and a tad less desirable, so where possible avoid the pen cancels. This rule can be applied to almost all the US stamps.
Example of a pen cancel
Above are illustrations of how dangerous removed pen cancels can be. The images on the left ishow how the stamp was sold on ebay. After putting these stamps under a microscope the buyer could see traces of the ink that had been removed. The images on the right depict the stamps before the pen cancel was removed.
Example of a number '10' and a 'PAID' cancel
One thing to be careful of is cancels that obliterate the face, such as the example below, which sold for only one third of the average price for this stamp
Heavy cancels that hide the face detract heavily
Sperati, perhaps the most infamous forger in philatelic history took aim at this stamp. Below can be seen an example of his work, complete with genuine appearing faked cancel. These typicaly sell for $300-$600 each.
Recently an ebay seller from Florida has been producing, off his own plates, some very good reproduuctions. If it was not for the obviously faked cancel these would be dangerous as the quality is good and they have been aged by the seller. An example is shown below
The Inspiration for the Design
Gilbert Stuarts 1796 unfinished portrait of George Washington
It is possible that the original engaver used the Albert G Durand engraving (shown below) which was based on the Stuart portrait shown above. I say this because the engraving on the stamp shows the cravat in the same fashion as Durand's version, whilst the cravat in Gilberts portrait is not defined.
The stamp vignette is on the left, Durand's engraving is on the right. I have flipped Gilberts portrait for th purpose of comparison. The original had Washington facing left.
Varieties to look for
Type B double transfer
'Stick Pin' variety
The stick pin variety (top image)
'Hair Lip' variety
The Essay's and Proofs
The original frames of the 1847 design mockups in black. The frames are on thin card, hand-drawn in
pencil and black ink with a light black India wash.
The frames were drawn by Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson
Large die proof on bond laid paper (2P1a)
Large die proof on white laid paper (2P1c)
Large die proof on white Glazed paper (2P1li)
Light brown trial color proof on india (TC1)
Blue trial color proof on india (TC1)
Violet trial color proof on india (TC1)
Specimen - Scotts #2ps
The 1875 Reprint
10¢ - Black or gray black
Imperf - Thin bluish Paper - Scott #3 - 1875
The envelope that the 1875 reproductions came in
The 1947 Reprint
The stamp was again reprinted in 1947 (Scott #948), easily identifiable by
the different colors, not to be confused with the trial colors. Trial
colors have grid lines.
1847 Issue cover with retaliatory-rate charge.
The largest reported multiples of the 10¢ are :