1851 US Postage Stamps 10 US 1856 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 11 1856 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 12 1856 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 13 1856 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 14 1856 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 15 1856 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 16 1856 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 17 1856 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 1856 US Postage Stamp Essays

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)
Used: $200-$400
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

Plate Size:
heets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100).

Toppan, Carpenter, Casilier & Co. using the die-to-relief-to-plate transfer process.


Quantity Issued:

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

Identifying #12

#12 was printed on one plate only, plate one.

12 position 100L1 Scotts - US Postage Stamps
Position 100L1

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 - with all four projections - Scotts - US Postage Stamps
#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.

#12 and #29 showing color difference - Scotts - US Postage Stamps

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 Portrait - Scotts - US Postage Stamps

Thomas Jefferson 1743-1826
painted by Rembrandt Peale 1778-1860
Painted in 1800 when Jefferson was 57
Located at the White House

Houdin - George Washington US Postage Stamps
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


White Cloud Defective Transfer - #12 - Scotts - US Postage Stamps

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.

11E3a Scotts - US Postage Stamps
Die on India
Black and Red Brown
Die sunk on card
Gavit & Co

Gavit 5¢ essay for #12  - Scotts - US Postage Stamps

The complete set of four colors of the 1851 Essay
Produced in 1847
On glazed card
12TC1 -Black Trial Color Proof Scotts - US Postage Stamps
12TC1 Trial Color Proof Scotts - US Postage Stamps
Trial Color Proofs

12 Trial Color Proofs - Scotts - US Postage Stamps

12 US Stamp Proof
Type I Die Proof

12 Panama Pacific Proof - Scotts - US Postage Stamps
Panama Pacific Proof

1851 US Postage Stamps 5 US 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 5A 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 6 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 6b 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 7 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 8 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 8A 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 9 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 1851 US Postage Stamp Essays