Gray black, greenish black
Subject: Alexander Hamilton
Number issued: 2,050,000
Printer: Continental Bank Note Co.
Paper: Hard white wove paper
Scott #: 165
Date Issued: July 1st, 1873
$25 - $45
No postmark with gum (MH)
$150 - $800
Full perfect gum, no postmark
no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH)
No sales recorded
Experimental J Grill
Approx. value $15,000 - $20,000
The vignette design was derived by Giuseppe Ceracchi's marble bust of Alexander Hamilton
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
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,
#165 was issued with the following plate #
Imprint and plate number
The stamp paid ten times the domestic rate of 3¢ and typically paid expensive foreign-destination letter rates to Peru, Mexico (shown above), and India.
#165 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
Plate proof on India
Plate proof on card
Large die trial color proof on horizontally laid paper