Yellow orange, pale orange, red orange
WITH SECRET MARK
Subject: Daniel Webster
Number issued: 5,500,000
Printer: Continental Bank Note Co.
Paper: Hard white wove paper
Scott #: 163
Date Issued: July 1st, 1873
$15 - $45
No postmark with gum (MH)
$350 - $1,150
Full perfect gum, no postmark
no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH)
No sales recorded
Experimental J Grill
The vignette design was derived by Shobal Vail Clevenger's marble bust of Daniel Webster
Ribbed paper describes the texture created by paper-making rollers that have fine corrugations cut into them. Ribbed paper can be confused with paper with heavy laid lines as their appearance when held to a light is similar. One way to determine if the paper is ribbed is to run your finger over the surface of the stamp, since ribbing is not a watermark but a texturing of the surface of the stamp.
Unlike laid paper ribbed paper cannot be detected in watermark fluid. The 'ribbing' on ribbed paper are forty lines per inch whilst laid paper is much more widely spaced. It can found vertically and less commonly horizontally. It was only used by the Continental Bank Note Company.
Hold the stamp at a very slight angle to your eye with a downward light source. Looking along the back of the stamp a trained eye can detect the vertical or horizontal lines in the texturing of the paper.
Photographing the ribbing of a paper is next to impossible. However above is an example of ribbed paper
According to Scotts Look for the bottom of the left top triangle. If you see that the triangle has been strengthened at the inside bottom it is the 'secret mark' that shows you have a copy of #163. HOWEVER there are few #163's with this secret mark.
A more reliable but not foolproof method of telling the National and Continental printings is by the color, as shown above. Also the fine lines in the shading are less clear on #163 as the plates were becoming worn. In truth the only way of definitely to say the 15¢ is on ribbed paper, which was exclusively used by the Continental Bank Note company.
#163 was issued with the following plate #
Imprint and plate number
The stamp paid five times the domestic rate of 3¢ or was used in combination with other stamps to pay for foreign destinations. The above example is where it was used to pay six times the domestic rate.
#163 is printed on hard white wove paper
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.
Large die proof on India, die sunk on card
Panama-Pacific plate proof on India
Plate proof on India
Plate proof on card
"Goodall" trial color small die proof