Blue, bright blue, light blue, dark blue
Type of Paper: Soft porous paper
Subject: Zachary Taylor
Number issued: 42,000,000
Scott #: 185
Printer: American Bank Note Company
Earliest Documented Use: Jan 16th, 1879
$2 - $4
No postmark with gum (MH)
$100 - $175
Full perfect gum, no postmark
no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH)
$300 - $500
#185 was issued with the following plate #'s
Continental Banknote Co.
American Banknote Co.
325- 336, 379-80
A first day cover of #185, January 16th, 1879
The vignette was based on this c1843-45 daguerreotype
#185 is printed on soft porous 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.
Die proof on India mounted on card
Roosevelt small die proof
Plate proof on card