See below for details
30¢ - Black or full black
Type of Paper: Hard white wove paper, thin to medium thick
Subject: Alexander Hamilton
Number issued: 893,000
Scott #: 154
Printer: National Bank Note Company
Earliest Documented Use: July 13, 1870
$10 - $35
No postmark with gum (MH)
$250 - $500
Full perfect gum, no postmark
no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH)
*A note about MNH. There is only one certificated copy in existence. I see supposedly unmounted copies sold on ebay for around $1,000 each. Without a certificate they should be treated as regummed stamps and therefore the value will be close to $100.
Multiples of the 30¢ stamp are uncommon, there being no 60¢ rate. The one above was probably applied to a parcel and is the largest used block known. There is a block of six mint stamps, it is the largest block of mint stamps.
The vignette design was derived by Giuseppe Ceracchi's marble bust of Alexander Hamilton
The plates used for both the National and Continental printings were the same. There was no secret mark on the continental printings. As a result the only method of identifying these stamps is to look at the color. With the exception that if the stamp is on ribbed paper it will be a Continental printing,
#154 is printed on hard white wove paper, thin to medium thick.
Hard paper was used by the National Bank Note Company and the Continental Bank Note Company. Soft paper was used by the American Bank Note Company,
The hard paper of the Bank Note issues is fairly white, perhaps it might better be called grayish white or sometimes a somewhat bluish white, while the soft paper seems slightly yellowish when compared with the hard paper.
Soft paper has a looser weave and more porous paper than hard paper, so it feels softer, displays a mesh or weave when viewed by holding the stamp between your eyes and light so that you are looking “through” the stamp.
Some people can also ID hard paper be “flicking” the edges and thereby “feeling” the stiffness of the paper versus the feel of soft paper if flicked in the same way. There's more of a snap to the hard paper.
On high magnification the perforation tips on soft paper will have more strands of paper sticking out than hard paper.
Soft paper is fairly dead looking under a long wave UV light ( (briefly and from a reasonable distance in a darkened room) while hard paper reflects more light. If reference copies of stamp designs known only on hard paper or soft paper are viewed under UV light, the difference in paper brightness should be apparent.
For a reference stamp obtain the inexpensive 1861 3¢ (#65), it is only available in hard paper.
A simple test is to hold a stamp to a lamp, you will see the hard paper is more translucent.
Identifying #154 is not easy. The biggest difference is the shade. Even then some of the National printings look slightly gray. There is one, even more subtle difference, the shape of the perforations. Looking at the image above you will see the #154 perforations have more circular of cupped perforations than those on #165. No #165 has more perforations with a sloped side.
#154 was issued with the following plate #
Imprint and plate number
There are no recorded plate blocks left today
Die essay, pencil on white card
Die essay on India, die sunk on card
98 x 110mm
Die essay on India
Die proof on white glazed paper
38 x 46mm
Plate proof on India