1851 5¢ - #12
5¢ - Red brown or dark red brown
Imperf - Scott #12 - 1856
(only 50 MH copies survive)
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)
No postmark with gum (MH): $6,250-$15,000
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): Does not exist
Earliest Known Date of Use:
March 24th, 1856
heets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100).
Toppan, Carpenter, Casilier & Co. using the die-to-relief-to-plate transfer process.
Not issued until 1856 when the postal rate for a registered ½ oz letter abroad became 5¢. This was the
"ship to shore" rate and was supposed to be paid by cash, however the use of stamp was common. As
a result one wonders why the 5¢ stamp was ever issued, there being no obvious need for it.
A large portion of #12's on cover (of which only 350 exist) were addressed to Europe. Non-European
destinations command a premium. Because most of the stamps were used in New Orleans it can be expected,
due to New Orleans french heritage,that a large portion of the covers are addressed to France, so it
follows that when the cover is addressed to European countries other than France, there is a slight premium.
The stamp was unevenly distributed to post offices, being issued just before the
perforated variety in 1857. The overwhelming majority of the stock being sent to New Orleans, with
a small amount being sent to Boston. Any postmark not showing these cities also commands a premium,
as long as the postmark is legible. Grid postmarks also command a premium. Any domestic use of the 5¢
commands a premium as well. Because multiples of three were commonly used to pay the higher
15¢ foreign destination rate, they do not command as higher premium as one would expect.
A rare strip of three
What you should look for
#12 was printed on one plate only, plate one.
With only 150,000 stamps printed it is scarce and valuable, which makes it an excellent target,
for forgery. It is common for #29 or #30A can have its perforations clipped to look like #12.
#12 has projections on the design
on ALL four sides.
Sometimes a cut-down #30A is presented as a #12. It is easy to distinguish #30A, because #30A has
the characteristics of a type II design. Type II designs have their top or bottom projections
partialy cut away, those on #12 are complete. The forger will completely remove the top an bottom
projections so that this distinguishable difference between the two will not be noticed.
Ergo, do not purchase #12 when the FULL top or bottom projection is not visible. It is OK
to have only one of the top or bottom projections complete, but not both missing.
It is not as easy to distinguish this stamp from the cut down #29. This is because #29
is also a type I and the only difference between #12 and #29 is in the color, #12 was printed in
red-brown and #29 in brown.
The difference between the two colors can be subtle.
If it is a mint #12 I recomment a certificate before selling.
Most used copies of #12 have the New Orleans cancel, occasionaly other cancels
such as Hartford, CN are found. There is a premium for non New Orleans cancels.
The Inspiration for the Design
Thomas Jefferson 1743-1826
painted by Rembrandt Peale 1778-1860
Painted in 1800 when Jefferson was 57
Located at the White House
Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860)
Painted Washington, Calhoun and Thomas Jefferson
Tended towards the dark and stylized characteristics of
15th and 16th century paintings
Varieties to look for
THE WHITE CLOUD
Position 23R1 showing the white cloud in the right of the vignette,
this was due to a defective transfer.
The Essay's and Proofs
Unlike all the 1¢ and 3¢ issues of the 1851-56 series, the 5¢ has few examples of an essay.
Die on India
Black and Red Brown
Die sunk on card
Gavit & Co
The complete set of four colors of the 1851 Essay
Produced in 1847
On glazed card
Trial Color Proofs
Type I Die Proof
Panama Pacific Proof